Is wearing your pants down around your ass a sign that you like it in the a (no black people relocating en masse to Atlanta, Georgia), and if so, is that a good reason to encourage today’s youth to stop sagging?
Over the years, I’ve heard my share of theories on how black kids began wearing sagging pants. For example, I believe Michael Eric Dyson states in his book Know What I Mean: Reflections on Hip-Hop (I read it and even reviewed it, but fortunately I’ve been able to forget almost all of it) that sagging pants originated in prison culture, because you weren’t allowed to wear a belt.
But I remember hearing back during the Kris Kross era – which was either when sagging pants became the fad that it is today, or when it first came across my radar – that sagging pants was something that only fags did in prison. Your ass crack hanging all out the top of your pants was a sign the you took it up the coat.
According to jimi izrael, who’s a bit older than I am, sagging was actually begun back in the ’80s by cracka-ass crackas who used to sport preppy-style Nautica jeans and Levi 501s. Black folks at the time used to rock Jim Jones-style extra-medium designer jeans. Sagging pants were introduced to the hip-hop crowd with the advent of rappers with cracka-ass cracka-ish – not to mention teh ghey – tendencies like Kwame the Boy Genius, Special Ed, Groove B Chill, and Kid N Play.
Whatever the case, sagging pants have been back in the news a lot lately. Some city down in Louisiana managed to ban kids from wearing pants down around their asses, and it’s kick started a trend all over.
From what I understand, local governments have been trying to ban all sorts of hip-hop and/or gang-related clothing for years, but ACLU types have been able to have the laws struck down, citing free speech concerns. But finally one of these anti-hip-hop types got the bright idea to ban sagging pants on the grounds that showing off your ass and your underwear to people constitutes indecent exposure.
A cursory check of Google News under the search string sagging pants reveals that similar measures are under consideration in cities all over the country, as well as in several schools. Even the City of Pine Lawn, the awful ghetto where my little brother teaches elementary school, is considering such a law. “It’s indecent exposure,” says the Mayor of Pine Lawn, Sylvester Caldwell, who hopes to introduce a bill to the state legislature that would make the ban statewide here in Missouri.
Down in the
gay great state of Texas, this religious rapper named Dooney da Priest managed to seize on all of this sagging pants-related hoopla by recording a song called “Pull Your Pants Up.” He was invited on NPR to discuss the song and the sagging pants issue, but then it became a whole ‘nother issue, when the teh ghey community decided the song was homophobic because it seeks to convince kids to stop sagging pants by letting them know that shit is for fags. (One line in the song goes, “You walk the streets with your pants way down low. I don’t know, looks to me like you’re on the down low!”)
So of course then they had to invite the guy back on NPR to issue an apology, of sorts, to the teh ghey community. According to Dooney, he’s still against guys fucking other guys in the ass, but that’s not even what the song was about. If guys want to fuck other guys in the ass, that’s their problem. The purpose of his song is to inform today’s youth, that may not be aware of what sagging your pants really means.
Like I said, I’m not even sure how the trend of sagging pants began or if it’s really a signal that you like it in the a. Even if it isn’t, it’s obviously developed that connotation over the years. Assuming that it is, is it really homophobic to let kids know the real origin of this trend; and if so, is that a good-enough reason not to let kids know the real significance of wearing your pants like that? Or should the way kids wear their pants even be an issue in the first place? What do you down-low brothers think?