Seriously, it was not my intent to provide commentary pertaining to Don Lemon’s logic and critique regarding societal ills afflicting the African-American community – honestly it wasn’t. However, the Internet meme that is Don Lemon Logic is compelling me to share a few thoughts. Specifically, I want to speak about the sartorial statement of sagging one’s trousers. So, let’s address this bit of business first: Don Lemon’s logic is flawed. Pulling one’s pants up to an acceptable, respectable height will not fund financially strapped schools in the inner city, lower the homicide and incarceration rate of young African-American males, or create meaningful employment in urban areas. Nevertheless, you know what other logic is flawed? It is the logic that passively defends the art of exposing one’s underwear in public.
With all due respect to Russell Simmons and his open letter to Mr. Lemon, some of his assertions are just as flawed as Lemon’s viewpoint. Being the adults in the room, can we please exercise some honesty, some truth? A man who sags his pants is not making a profound political statement; they are not demonstrating civil disobedience by way of their attire. It is not an expression of frustration with the status quo. It is a style born out of an evolution of jail culture that transcended into the world of hip hop. It is an emulation of our black musical celebrities. It’s not complex; it’s actually quite simple. Simmons does actually list some serious issues that Lemon did not address, and they are indeed valid. However, since Mr. Simmons is up on that soapbox, he might as well address a music industry that markets and traffics black despair and misery for profit in the suburban community, but I digress.
Do you know the kind of individuals that have the luxury of defending and endorsing the saggy pants look – they’re the kind of individuals that have the luxury of defending and endorsing the saggy pants look. Meaning, they are in a position with absolutely nothing to lose. Mr. Simmons can dress any way he desires – oh wait, he does – because his success affords that luxury. This does not apply to the gentleman going to an interview, perhaps a second interview, and eventually into the workplace. No…the saggy diaper, droopy crotch look will not – I repeat, not – work in your favor.
Seriously, we are providing our young men with a disservice by tacitly approving of their sagging pants. Young, single parent households have deprived young men of a much-needed male role model. And substituted in their place – athletes and entertainers. As they go, our youth goes. What has occurred is some young men are unable to disassociate how one may dress around the house from how you would dress in the professional world. And I don’t care if you work at McDonald’s or you work in a corner office at Microsoft; a gentleman should dress with respect, dignity, and tact. Our young men need that positive guidance. And to reiterate, yes, there are a myriad of serious problems that are hurting the African-American community. And yes, Don Lemon did a poor job with his commentary. Nonetheless, we still have to do better.
But really, I am confounded by some people who continuously, fervently uphold excessively baggy pants. Stop providing excuses because you are effectively robbing our young men of responsibility. You can rebel against the superficiality of how one dresses, but image matters. Are sagging pants evil? Of course not. But there is a time and place for everything. And as older gentlemen of color, we have to educate our younger brothers better than we have, but definitely with love. Admittedly, the system is not tilted in their favor, but it is incumbent upon us older gents to show them how to navigate and maneuver through it. And with that, I have to say, “Young brother, please pull your pants up.”