Humanize my hoodie. A simple phrase, with a complex meaning. A meaning that Iowa City designer Andre Wright wants to share.
Stand up: “The Humanize My Hoodie campaign is a bold way to start the conversation about police brutality. And I’m going to get in on it today, too.
Wright: “When black men wear hoodies, there is a stigma of threat perception, that the police officers, or the officers carry.
This perceived threat, which may not be an actual threat to a police officer’s safety, has caused multiple killings of unarmed black men in America. From protests, to the NFL, people are speaking out.
Wright and his partner surveyed over 100 police officers, and discovered that appearance does matter.
Wright: “We got like this data that really just showed that there is so much like, there are so many biases that’s included within a garment”
So, they launched a national campaign – selling hoodies, and attracting attention from celebrities, and even some performance artists, like the hip-hop duo Re-Fl3x. Re-Fl3x member Curtis Bell says he too has felt targeted while wearing a hoodie.
Bell: “They look at me like I’m up to something.”
He says that the campaign is important for continuing the conversation of respect.
Bell: “And instead of saying, alright ya’ll we need to stop wearing as many hoodies, or we need to stop doing this, because of this, he’s saying no – humanize my hoodie. The people who are at fault need to change.
And by continuing this conversation, Wright hopes that the result will be lasting change.
For now, there is still a message to send.
Reporting from Iowa City, this is Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw with DITV.