SHOP THE LOOK:
Girl wears rapper band tee. Fascinating.
OK, look. Momentarily, I debated whether to risk the chance of being stereotyped as trying too hard by keyboard warriors and IRL onlookers, but I swiftly continued living my life and swiped that plastic baby through Topshop's EFTPOS machine. Imagine if I had missed out on this gem? What else could I have paired with my faux shearling H&M jacket??? I'd have nobody but myself to blame.
As I mentioned in my L.A travel diary a few months back, I started listening to Tupac at a young age. I'll be honest, by no means did I venture out and buy or play his records myself (I was only 4 when he died in 1996, so sue me) but having brothers who are 10+ years older than me, I was exposed to it constantly (among some type of German house music my brother tries to convince me is good, and of course, traditional Balkan music (which is actually good)).
Posters adorned their teen bedroom walls, and the conversations he sparked and findings he expounded influenced their lives greatly. What music did I buy through my teenage years? I happily listened to Hilary Duff and the Jonas Brothers (who's dusty CDs I rediscovered in the garage and have been shamelessly playing all this week). But when I think about the many people that genuinely interest me, and spark me to further my intellect and understanding of the world, I'd be doing a disservice to pretend he's not one of them purely because of an irrelevant "fear."
I know who I am and who I want to be. What I listen to. What I want to wear. Who and what inspires me. Who I feel is authentic and resonates with whatever mess of thoughts I have which I don't know how to articulate myself just yet. I can back myself up. So to base my style choice on someone else's opinion cannot be in my nature (sorry but not sorry to my brother's girlfriend who pretends my array of grunge boots do not exist). I aggressively espouse living, dressing and talking for yourself - and pushing that advice to anyone who happens to believe I'm in a position to give it - so why wouldn't I listen to it myself?
Coincidentally, it was, what would have been, Tupac's 45th birthday on Thursday. A teaser of his biopic was released that day as well. A few months ago I was in a local mainstream music store and asked an employee if they had any of his albums lying around, when I saw a guy chirp up next to me. Arms full of said albums, he turned and excitedly started showing me all of the titles he held, sans one he was desperately trying to find. What an incredible legacy to leave behind. To still be a profoundly relevant and influential force in the world, continue to create communities around music, and spark a group of people to creatively conceive projects in his honour, 20 years after his death. We need more of these people.
I guess what I learned in writing this post is, I know it can sometimes take me a while to convince myself I'm making the right choices on style, career, what I want to do on a Saturday night (should I stay home and write this post or drive to my parent's house an hour away to watch movies and eat snacks??? was my dilemma between 6pm and 7pm tonight. I stayed home FYI). But I can eliminate my self doubt and second guessing. Just give me a minute. In the meantime, I'll continue to hashtag ####thuglyf, wear my shirt on a daily basis and obnoxiously rap every word to Tupac songs.*
(Only alone, at home or in the car, just above a whisper..)