Swagger Like Us: Black Millennials and 1990s Urban Brands

  • Courtney Johnson (iowa state university)
  • Kelly L. Reddy Best (Iowa State University)
  • Eulanda A. Sanders (Iowa State University)


In the 1970s in major U.S. cities, the Black community created hip-hop, a significant cultural and artistic phenomenon, which has since spread around the world. Hip-hop culture has a unique and authentic fashion aesthetic, music style, and language, and the relationships between these cultural outlets now have a global appeal. The purpose of this study was to examine Black millennials,’ attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities, knowledge and perceptions of prominent, Black-owned, urban brands that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s during the hip-hop fashion revolution. Based upon analysis of the data, I identified four themes including: (a) awareness of urban brands, (b) ambiguity, (c) 1980s/1990s urban brand influence, and (d) cultural appropriation. These Black voices and exchanges of stories are important because they help to construct the social reality of the significant impact that hip hop and urban fashion has had for Black millennials today.

How to Cite:

Johnson, C. & Reddy Best, K. L. & Sanders, E. A., (2019) “Swagger Like Us: Black Millennials and 1990s Urban Brands”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019