Earlier this week, the T-shirt brand Rap Shirts For White People generated much buzz online due to the content on the shirt. The brand is pretty much self-explanatory, with tees that feature altered rap lyrics for White people. Even though some of the shirts may be considered racially offensive, creator Tim Blount thought it would be fun to make these rap shirts to represent the experience White people have when they listen to hip-hop. Yeah, the shirts may be lame, but you can’t deny the concept is funny, and the best thing of it all is that the proceeds of these shirts will be donated to various charities linked to each hip-hop artist.
We caught up with designer Tim Blount to find out how the idea came about, the feedback he’s received since the shirts hit the web and more.
How did the idea of “Rap Shirts For White People” come about?
I was listening to Juicy and it occurred to me that I have never even seen a real copy of Word Up! Magazine. I made the HIGHLIGHTS shirt first. I remembered reading an article about Forever 21 getting in trouble for showing White models in N.W.A T-shirts, so I thought it would be fun to make some rap shirts that would more accurately represent the White experience. I realize that pointing out the irony of upper/middle class White people loving rap is nothing new, but I think I just hit on a new way to express it.
How long did the process to create the shirts take?
The shirts are printed on demand, so it only took me a few days to set up shop.
Out of all the shirts, which one is your favorite?
Do you feel like your shirts are a form of covert racism?
I’ve learned that when you deal in racial humor, some people are bound to interpret it as racism. It makes me sick to my stomach to think people are honestly seeing these as promoting a type of racial superiority. As an act of good faith (and because White people love charity), I’ve committed to donating 100 percent of all my profits from these shirts to various charities tied to each artist. Here’s the list:
The Wu-Charitable Foundation
The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation
The New York Women’s Foundation
The American Civil Liberties Union
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
The Apollo Theater Foundation
The T.R.U. Foundation
Dixon Hall, Toronto
The Snoop Youth Football League
The Centennial High School Music Department
The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation
There may still be people who think this Tumblr shouldn’t exist, but I’ve gotten so much overwhelming support and positive feedback from most people I think it would be a shame to take it down on account of a few dissenters. (Also when I said White people love charity, please note that I did not imply that they love it any more than any other race of people.)
Have you ever created a T-shirt line before this?
I was in the game about 10 years ago but haven’t really done anything since college.
Can we expect you to make more “Rap Shirts For White People” after this release?
I plan to keep it going as long as people are interested. I’ve been posting new lines on Twitter.
What do you have to say to those people who say your shirts are lame and offensive?
First off, they’re lame by design, because… White people. And I can’t keep people from having their opinions, so I hope giving up the money makes people less likely to get pissed and more likely to laugh, which is what most people do when they see these.
Has any big celebrity reached out to you about your shirts?
I just FedEx’d a FUND THA POLICE shirt to Rihanna, since it’s clearly a cause she believes in. I really hope she wears it.