Following the tragic passing of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, who lost his life while jogging, and George Floyd most recently, brands and personalities stand in solidarity. Against racism and police brutality. In support of black communities and the core of human equality, sneaker brands and designers offer major contributions in demand for proper justice. Although no cost or materialistic contribution can ease the trauma of the victims’ families and communities, supporters are hoping to help make a difference. In any way they are capable, no matter how small. Despite the fact that their stores are being looted in protest, sneaker brands support initiatives are going global.
New Balance has proved its worth among the top sports brands in 2020. Mainly as a result of its relentless production and COVID-19 support. In celebration of the Global Running Day, which took place on June 3, NB donated 10,000 pairs of running shoes to Black community programs. In the name of Ahmaud Arbery. Following George Floyd’s passing, the brand explicitly promotes “peaceful action” linked to justice petitions on its social media pages.
In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Vans announced that it will be donating a total of $200K in solidarity with the Black community. $100K to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and an equal amount of $50K to Color of Change and GSANetwork. Vans are also explicit about their support and strive for unity on social media.
View this post on Instagram
There is no place for hatred or bigotry in our family. We stand in solidarity with the Black community. Black Lives Matter.⠀ ⠀ We all have a duty to dismantle racism, create change, and help carry this weight. We know we have a lot to learn and we must continue to look inside and out for ways to support every member of the Black community. To help fight racial hatred and discrimination, Vans is donating $100,000 to the @NAACP, $50,000 to @colorofchange, and $50,000 to the @GSANetwork.⠀ ⠀ You are our family. Together we will be part of the positive change.
In response to the tragic events that took place against Black lives and rights, Nike first launched the following wake-up call “Just Don’t Do It” video. In which it goes against its brand slogan in pursuit of social justice and change. However, with its 8.2M Twitter followers, it got backlash. Adidas, on the other hand, retweeted Nike’s post under “together is how we move forward.” To which Nike replied with a red heart emoji.
On June 5, a week after the “Just Don’t Do It” video, a $40M pledge shared among Nike, Converse, and Jordan was dedicated to supporting Black communities over the next 4 years.
— Nike (@Nike) May 29, 2020
In addition to the $40M pledge the Jordan brand is in on with Nike and Converse, $100M are donated by Michael Jordan and the Jordan brand to Black communities over the next ten years. Jordan’s financial contribution is by far the largest among other sneaker/sports brands.
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/lWkZOf1Tmr
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 31, 2020
Similarly to Nike, Reebok’s empathetic intentions also faced backlash on social media. Users reacting to these brands support statements are not interested in support expressed through words, but rather through actions.
To the black community:
We see you.
We stand in solidarity with you.
This can no longer be the status quo. pic.twitter.com/LpE7HHp3qU
— Reebok (@Reebok) May 30, 2020
Although not technically a sneaker brand, Kanye West stands for his Yeezy brand in the sneaker industry. Regardless of the fact that he contributes mainly under his name. Does it matter though, as long he’s showing support to those who need it? Kanye personally attended the Chicago protest against the $33M contract the Chicago Police has with Chicago Public Schools. He also made a $2M donation to the families of Taylor, Arbery, and Floyd. Plus started a college fund for George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter.
— ginger maddox (@gingermaddoxtv) June 5, 2020
Fear of God
Fear of God designer Jerry Lorenzo’s emotional post conveys his role as a devoted father and brother. But it’s not “all words”, as some social media users chose to refer to other brand supports. FoG might just be the most soulful contributor among sneaker brands. He contacted several brands, 9 of which blessed this contribution. To create a T-shirt for the Gianna Floyd Memorial Fund. The names listed on the back of the T-shirt are the following: Fear of God, Union LA, NOAH, Off-White, Awake NY, Just Don, Denim Tears, Pyer Moss, and Melody Ehsani.
White and black T-shirt colorways are expected to release on June 6 at 9AM PST on Fear of God’s Instagram page. The retail cost is $100. With full proceeds going to the GF Memorial Fund.
View this post on Instagram
our FG is a GF now… on may 25, 2020 when i learned of George Floyd’s death i was visiting my parents in northern california. after being locked up and quarantined for nearly 3 months, i wanted nothing more than to see my mother and father as a new perspective on life and the value of, was taking place in my heart… a random fact also, as we pulled into sacramento late saturday night at a gas station near my parents, a middle aged white woman said to me at the counter, “every time you guys walk in here w/ masks on, i think we’re about to get robbed.”… quickly reminded of my blackness, i was eerily comfortable back in the woods of northern california. where i’m no longer “jerry lorenzo” but just another black man… the same guy i’ve been my whole life… dealing w/ the same consistent themes… fast forward to the day we drove back home, we watched Mr. George Floyd get murdered in broad daylight… with a knot in my throat and hole in my soul, i hugged my father tightly… being a father, my first thought was i pray this man doesn’t have any kids… i’ve been able to build what we have with @fearofgod because i had a father lay the example of husband hood, father hood, and of living with integrity and character… i immediately thought, this man’s children have lost their covering, their example, their teacher… all that we do for @fearofgod is fueled by a generational love. a love to be an example to my children of what’s possible, a love to create an independent business that my children have the choice to one day carry on… George’s daughter Gianna will not have this choice… we can never become for her what was lost, but we can help fill a small hole in her life by providing one thing she may not have to worry about. as we did for my brother nipsey when he passed, we mourned for him and stood strong in support of the generation after him. standing with my friends, minority and small business owners, tmrw at 9am pst on @fearofgod ‘s instagram channel, we’ll be releasing limited GF tees, with all money raised going the Gianna Floyd Fund. George, you “changed the world” and your life is an example your daughter will forever look up to and be changed by.
Face Tragedy Without Becoming One
With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down industries and locking up populations in quarantine, this tragedy has crushed social-distancing boundaries. The world unites in protest against racism and injustice. Black lives matter because lives matter, regardless of race, gender, religion, or any birth or self-given label. For this reason, we’ve attached these insightful steps to help you stand up for what you believe in without harming yourself and others.
View this post on Instagram
Social media has been a bit overwhelming since I first put up this post so it has taken some time for me to post this. On Friday, I shared this content on Twitter after I felt the conversations online were like screaming into an echo chamber. I wanted to provide those who wanted to support and be an ally with practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. I am still somewhat surprised and overwhelmed by the reception so please take patience with me at this time. — For a note on who I am to those who have followed me from Twitter, my name is Mireille. I'm an assistant editor and I do freelance writing, PR and sensitivity reading and other bits on the side. I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, and everything I have shared is not new knowledge to me. From as far back as I can remember I've been campaigning, fighting for equality and supporting and working with black owned organisations. I have worked in the diversity and inclusion space for around four years and I have been equipped with knowledge, skills etc through that work as well as through wider, intensive reading and being raised by a Jamaican mother who has a degree in Women's Studies. I felt as a mixed race person who was emotionally capable despite the current situation that I could use my learned experience, skills and compassion to offer this advice to allies and anyone else who was seeking advice but didn't know where to turn. This is now on my stories as a highlight so please feel free to share from there or here. — A small reminder that this took emotional labour and POC, especially black people are not here to teach you everything. When I said ask how you can support, I meant on a personal level as a friend etc. I hope this toolkit provides you with the starter info you need but there are genuinely people more experienced than me who warrant your listening to – please go and follow @nowhitesaviors, @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @ckyourprivilege, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @renieddolodge, @ibramxk + a few more: @akalamusic, @katycatalyst + @roiannenedd who all have books or resources from many more years of experience. _