Black Girl Embrace Sneaker Culture?

If you are reading this, then you might identify as a sneakerhead. There is also a chance that you’re not one but just curious like me. Either way, this was the perfect event to talk about Sneaker culture and it's effect on society.

The eCLEctic Soles on View at MOCA looked at the perspective of the collector, the artist, the designer, the buyer and the seller. It was a two-part panel discussion with a surprise element of a silent auction for some really dope sneakers created by local artists here in Cleveland.

What I loved most about this discussion was that it was so relevant and connected with an audience of all races and ages. I even learned a few unfamiliar terms, such as a "hype beast" and the difference between a sneakerhead and a sneaker enthusiast.

I was having a discussion with Archie Green, moderator and creator of this event, when two young men came up and told him how much they loved his shoes. I had no idea what he was wearing but they were nice. As an avid sneaker enthusiast, it’s no surprise that he was in his element and knew how to pull together such a major event.

The Panels

The Art of the Hunt

This first panel featured moderator Saxx Booker (107.9 web series host 6 Kicks), DJ K-Nyce (107.9 DJ), Kelton Crenshaw (licensing facilitator and branding influencer), and Kevin Kramer (Cleveland’s Got Sole).

During this panel discussion they talked about which shoes started the journey into becoming sneakerheads. They all mentioned a certain pair of Jordan’s, by the way. They all reflected on how much has changed with the internet being so accessible to buying shoes now and but it’s also kills the fun because of how quickly they sell out.

I remember the days where you would wait for the East Bay magazine and pick the shoes you wanted. Those times were much simpler and waiting wasn’t a problem. Now, you have to feel rushed to make a purchase because it will sell out.

They reminisced on how rap lyrics would make you want to by certain shoes and how the culture encompassed around that. Camping out to get the next latest shoe gave a sense of camaraderie to those who felt surrounded by likeminded individuals.

The Art of Shoe-Making

This second panel featured moderator Archie Green rapper, mental health advocate, MOCA’s Community Engagement and Programs Manager , Jacob Ferrato (creator of JBF Customs), Van Monroe, a painter whose designed for President Obama, Spike Lee, and many others, and Dion Walcott,Canadian creator of MARKT’D, a program that invites students to compete in sneaker design competitions.

 This eclectic group of entrepreneurs discussed the importance of technology, brand partnerships and creations centered around sneakers. It was interesting to hear the conceptual creations and ideas that each of these artists followed as a means to created a life for themselves revolving around their passion for sneakers. This is what I call taking sneakerhead culture to the next level.

Finally, the event featured local artists Isaiah Williams, Jared Mitchell, and September Shy, who all created an amazing pair of shoes that showcased Cleveland in their own way. The shoes were put on display and bid on for the silent auction. Each artist had an organization that some of the proceeds would go to.

I had a wonderful time at this event and loved learning about the culture and passion surrounded by sneakers. It's important for us a society to stay engage with our community and learn something new. There is literally something for everyone. And while I have no plans to jump into the shoe game, I have a new appreciation for those who love sneakers and why.


Peace and Love,