Tuesday, February 9, 2010

State of the Sneaker Address

Greetings My Fellow Sneaker Lovers,

To borrow the phrase and make it relative to sneaker culture, "These are the best of times, and the worst of times". Much has gone on which represents the good, and the bad which makes up this "culture" we walk with everyday.

On the good side so many people are finding new ways to express their love of sneakers, drawing more attention to something we were once called all kinds of names for being into, and making friends in parts of the world that we don't frequent, or flat out have never been to. Sneakers have become a gateway to a world of things many people would have NO MEANS of being exposed to. We have comprehensive books, there are design competitions created to nuture the next generation of footwear designers, there are college courses being taught in distinguished and well recognized universities and colleges around the United States....about sneakers! There's even a weekly talk show that airs every Wednesday for the last 2.5 years that allows folks to express their opinions. All of these things can be considered nothing but good as the trend continues!

The bad comes to us in the form of a gripping world-wide recession which has caused for good shoes to sit on retailer shelves along side bad ones, discounts and sales more frequent than before showing the desperation that retailers and boutiques so passionately didn't want you to see. Bad in the form of folks using sneakers as a way to get one up on other folks in the culture, and by people using sneakers to show what their real intentions are (which is exploit others love of sneakers for profit). Sneakers have unfortunately become the "exstacy drug" for those with low self esteem, and those who have been cast out as generally poor quality people with no real reason to be out in public. Sneakers have given these people the pardon they sought to come outside and play again, walk amongst our children, and stand next to us with a smile. It's detrimental to the greater good of sneaker culture and those fantastic people who are a part of it. Bad also comes to us in the form of folks who say "It's not a culture!" yet, they seek the social acceptance and titles from the masses that can give the illusion of leadership that in reality they are NOWHERE NEAR qualified for. The effort put forth to validate these folks must stop IMMEDIATELY. We are contributing to the problem. Those representing the best in sneaker culture will eliminate these bad elements. Sooner rather than later.

My good friend Chris Vidal always says "sneakers are a reflection of a time in our lives". Those times helped us become who we are today. They are a starting point for folks to get together and learn more about what makes us good people. About what makes us get up in the morning leave the house to provide for our families, accomplish higher goals, contribute to society, and sometimes...to this culture. When my Sole Brother Dee Wells created OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder) and asked for me to join him in bringing it to the world, he did not ask me how many pairs I have? He did not ask me if I have any "connects" at the swoosh? It did not concern him how many Tier Zero shoes I can get? He didn't ask me what I do for a living to afford all my sneakers? He shared his vision with me because he saw who I was as a person. He believed in me enough to help express our common love for sneakers with NO COMPROMISES. There are so many people who this holds true for...I ask those people to STAND UP! Step in front of those with no real love!

For those of you who go to sneaker events seeking the validation of being seen, yearning that seal of approval that places you at the top of the social ladder, for those resellers and shop owners who pay people to camp out for sneakers that someone else wants to wear, for those retailers who sell the sneakers to friends and family while you look out the window and see a line down the block for the sneakers, BE DAMNED! For those of you who put yourselves in financial situations that YOU KNOW are bad for your family or your business, just to have a rare find, your sickness has nothing to do with sneakers. Don't blame kicks! I have no problem with re-sellers, but to those of you who are immoral resellers and so-called "collectors" at the same time, Biggie said it best in 10 Crack Commandments "Never get high on your own supply". That's basically what you are doing. If your love of sneakers can only manifest itself based in how many shoes you can sell first (at insane prices), you're sick and you need help... and don't blame sneakers! To those of you who are trying to buy your way into privilege, those of you who are asking shop owners to disregard the rules that make an ethical retailer because you want to be "that dude", please get into something else. It will be the one time that reselling would be "globally" accepted by all (as long as your prices are right-LOL).

Lastly- to quote my homie Pete of Premium Laces NY "I'm into good people". I ask everyone who has that same mentality to take your place in our culture and allow the good aspects of sneaker culture to return to the spotlight. Sometimes silence is taken as a co-sign for the injustice. But actions speak louder than words. It's our actions towards the injustice that have to change more so than saying something..but BOTH are effective. Stop entertaining the outlandish requests, turn down the meetings with folks you know are full of crap, tell them what they are planning is a "bad idea". On the flip-side, seek to introduce someone new to what we love, seek to be charitable to those groups that represent humanity on it's basic level, look for ways to educate and learn more about sneaker culture simultaneously. All of these things and more will maintain the more genuine traits of sneaker culture. WE WILL WIN!

Sean "Paper Chasr" Williams
OSD: Appreciate, Educate, Elevate (Sneaker Culture)
www.o-s-d.tv (OSD)
www.wosd.tv (OSD2)

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