These color-blocked sneakers have Rev. Jesse Jackson’s shoelaces in a wad. Adidas has pulled the JS Roundhouse Mids, created by pop fashion designer Jeremy Scott, after Internet uproar accused the shoe company of racism. Says Jackson: “The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation … [is] appalling and insensitive.” But it seems Jackson is the one being short-sided. Slavery has existed long before Africans were cruelly forced into American servitude. More so, fashion is about taking iconic, sometimes painful images and changing their visual meaning, like Alexander McQueen’s pivotal Highland Rape collection. Are these ostentatious sneakers evocative of slavery? Yes. But being Jeremy Scott, it’s more suggestive of S&M sex slaves than actual servitude. Jeremy, I like your shackled-up kicks.
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