#JustDoIt; Nike’s stance on social justice

In my opinion, Nike has been on a roll.

Following the French Open banning Tennis GOAT Serena Williams from wearing her Wakanda inspired Catsuit, Nike posted the following to their socials:

Around the same time, Nike released their Serena Williams inspired collaboration with Off White and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh called The Queen Collection. Serena shared this collection when she herself debuted the collection during the recent US Open.

And their latest announcement follows suit. In celebration of their 30th Anniversary of their Just Do It slogan, Nike shared this across their socials:

That is right.

Their 30th Anniversary campaign is featuring none other than Colon Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been under contract with the Nike since his original deal in 2011 even though his face has been rarely used following the rise in popularity of his protests.

Well, Nike, whether through branding genious or to be on the right side of history, has chosen Kaepernick, a man who has been a football free agent since 2016 after chosing to bring light to the police brutality that has been plaguing Black and Brown communities.

And people are not being shy about sharing how they feel about it:

Other’s are not so excited:

I feel a few different ways about it; While I am never completely comfortable with the idea of a brand being so close to a person who is a leading voice in different struggles, I do very much appreciate that Nike did not stray away from Kaepernick. After all, the idea that a celebrity belonging to a currently oppressed community boldly taking a public and respectful stance against that oppression is apparently a controversial and unpatriotic act. It’s not something the first colonists or of this land did by leaving the distant shores of Europe or abolitionists did by hiding and hurrying trafficked people to freedom or women did by standing up for the right to vote or anything like that, right?

Sarcasm aside, while fool-hearty and misinformed individuals are choosing to cut the swooshes from their socks and burn their Nike’s in protest, how many more pairs will be sold because of Nike’s clear and unabashed alignment? How many new Jordans or Lebrons or Queen or Off White or plain ol’ trainers might be bought in direct support of the peaceful movement Kaeperick himself has come to embody?

Quite frankly, I am hesitantly happy about the deal. I don’t want a big brand pulling the strings of the movement, however, if they want align with the string holder to or even support the movement by all means #JustDoIt.

This post was originally shared on The Reclaimed Blog.

Whitney Alese is a writer, podcaster and cultural commentator. Featured in WIRED Magazine (September 2020). She is based in Philadelphia.

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