Reebok Piece ‘Yard Love’ Collection Inspired by HBCU D9

In conjunction with the collection, Reebok Piece is pledging to donate $25,000 to the United Negro College Fund BOSTON, Mass. — January 6th, 2023: Reebok Piece announces the launch of a new hoodie and t-shirt apparel capsule, ‘Yard Love’, honoring historically Black Greek organizations in the United States. Offered in colorways used by various Black Greek organizations, the collection was built to shine a light on the important work of these organizations and to pay homage to those who fought against racial isolation and racial barriers on predominately white college campuses through the founding of these groups at the start of the 20th century. Yard Love is the latest initiative in support of Reebok’s United Against Racism commitments, an action plan built to stand up against racism and strengthen the brand’s diversity and inclusion efforts both internally and externally.

Source: Reebok Piece Launches ‘Yard Love’ Apparel Collection Inspired by Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities

One of the slight regrets I have in attending a PWI is during my time at San Diego State University the Black Fraternities did some things which caused them to be banned from recruitment and pledging. The white frats also did some things that caused them to lose privileges (they sold drugs for cartels… but this isn’t a post to talk about the problems with frats at SDSU, lol). To pledge to any of the Black fraternities I would have had to travel to Cal State Dominguez and that wasn’t going to happen. What I saw in the fraternities was a method of building alliances. I saw that opportunity as an extension of my time in the Navy and the brotherhood I created during my enlistment. I would gain another opportunity to join one of the fraternities because of my tenure track time as a professor at an HBCU, but I left the college due to financial issues there. There has always been a bit of a “what if” and missing out as a Black man with three degrees who isn’t in a Black Greek organization, but I do have my Navy brotherhood which is definitely comparable, but it’s always cool to see the various colors associated with the organizations on cars and during events like the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis. It’s akin to the knowing nod of Veterans wearing the Navy blue and gold. We share in a brotherhood that few will ever understand. There is a more serious sacrifice in being a Veteran, but I have to believe Black fraternities and sororities provide a similar emotion of pride especially when a look through American history reveals the rich legacy of men and women who created parts of the important stories of Black folks.

Reebok Piece has delivered a celebration of Black Greek organizations. Understanding the licensing issues with placing the letters on clothing, the brand decided to drop the classic Reebok Piece vector in colors for the D9. The result is a bit underwhelming, especially when Nike recently delivered a collection of sneakers and apparel for HBCUs which has become some of the most coveted footwear and apparel in sportswear marketplace. One of my mentees is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha organization, Fred Griffin, founder of Swish and a Memphis 30 under 30 selection, and when I showed the pics to him, he nodded and said, “I wish they would have reached out to me.” He sat in the office and developed an entire campaign for the tees and hoodies with a video concept. It was good practice for the newly minted 30 under 30 awardee, but ultimately it evolved into just a discussion. While I like that Reebok Piece tried it and that they will donate to UNCF, this collection feels like it’s just a discussion sans soul. There are prominent sneaker YouTubers, @SneakerPhetish, who are in fraternities and locally famous people like Fred who could have amplified this small collection. They could have styled it and made it pop in a unique, hyperlocal strategic opportunity for Reebok, but as it stands this pack could easily be a throwback to when Reebok Piece made NFL jerseys and these tees and hoodies could have been team colors as well. Look below… if I hadn’t said this was HBCU it could have been the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, the collection deserves a bit more.

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reebok Piece flexagon fit FSCRB