Ellen is known for her "Oh my god, you didn't" moments on her show. Of course, this has sparked memes galore. "Oh my god you didn't" memes have been circulating around social media lately, and honestly they are relatable.
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First, I would like to thank my dad for being an avid sneaker-head and teaching me the importance of a good shoe.
It is safe to say, I got my first pair of Jordans before I could even walk. I distinctly remember my grandmother trying to buy my siblings and I Sketchers, and my dad would always laugh. To understand why communities cherish this culture, you have to understand how they built it.
Early on, the bridge between Hip-Hop and basketball was always that they were both seen as a means to rise above poverty. Naturally, these are the people who become our idols. We respect the hustle and admire those who make a name for themselves when all the odds were stacked against them. With admiration, comes the want to emulate these artists and players. The communities they came from paid close attention to their style because that is what success looked like. Success looks like someone from your hood, with the same skin color as you wearing a fresh pair of shoes.
In the late 1970s, the popularity of Adidas' skyrocketed with the majority of NBA players sporting their shell-top shoes (Superstars). It was then that the marketing for sneaker companies took off and the power of a good sneaker was born. That being said, I would argue that sneaker culture was truly born with the release of Nike's Air Force 1s in 1982. Soon after came the first Michael Jordan signature sneaker in 1985. This sparked the boom of sneaker-head culture. Air Force 1s grew in popularity, especially on the East Coast more specifically in good ol' New York. Famous rapper Nelly wrote, "I said give me two pairs (cause) I need two pairs so I can get to stompin' in my Air Force Ones" and that will forever be an anthem, an ode to the sneakers that started a movement.
Today, sneaker culture has certainly changed a bit. There are tons of competing brands, higher prices and new styles are dropped frequently. The sneak-head movement hasn't let up, but it definitely is farther spread, reaching other communities outside of where it originated. In an article written for Complex, Angel Diaz writes, "White girls run the streets with battered and dingy white Air Force 1s and Adidas Superstars, laces all dirty, out here looking like a mechanic straight disrespecting the game. Whatever happened to having your joints looking clean? The gentrification of the shoe game is a clear indication that proves, where people of color go, pop culture follows. This is an undeniable fact.
Those who don't understand might think, "its just shoes, who cares?" but it is a form of self-expression, a representation of the culture that can't be taken away like many other things are. In the same article, Diaz quotes, "The idea that a white/unworn/clean sneaker is better than one that has been worn/used played in is all Black culture and the art of presentation."Whether they're Jordans or Adidas, you can guarantee they'll be kept in the box and clean because it is a movement that's being cared for not just a shoe. Black people are at the forefront of the sneaker-head frenzy and share it with other marginalized communities whether they be of color or just underprivileged. But like the gentrification of neighborhoods, the majority has moved in on this culture and claimed it for themselves.
As Diaz said, the classic sneakers we cherish are being thrown around treated as just a shoe instead of a representation of culture. But, no matter what, my all white G-Fazos will remain crisp and uncreased. The ritual of sneaker cleaning will never waver just like the culture.
By this point, I am sure that all of us have seen the sobering images of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral being engulfed by flames. It is not clear as of now what exactly started the inferno, but the damage has been done. Hundreds of millions of dollars went up in literal smoke over the course over a few hours. Many paintings, artifacts, and other items of historic value will never be seen again.
As a kid, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was a movie that stuck out to me from the Disney catalog. Quasimodo ringing the bells and climbing around the rafters like a superhero made me want to travel to France so that I could go to the rooftops of the cathedral and talk to the friendly gargoyles guarding the church. Looking back at those thoughts, I realize they are pretty irrational and I laugh at how I saw things as a kid.
The outcry has been massive. Many organizations and big names have shown their support in monetary donations toward the rebuilding. The total cost of the rebuild will cost an upwards of over $800 million, and the bulk of the money has already been pledged to bring the French landmark back to its former glory.
My question, which I am sure many other people have, is are these donations really necessary?
The Catholic Church is easily the most powerful organization of the last 1,000 years. Billions of dollars have been given to the church consistently over the centuries.
The Catholic Church could easily afford the repair costs required to rebuild, so why are they accepting donations from people?
I get it, people from all over the world have marveled at the beauty of the handcrafted architecture that Notre Dame is known for. However, what are the true motives of the big-name donors who have given millions to an organization that has no need for their money? Stroking their egos? Having their names in the headlines and being praised by the media? Are politicians using this as a springboard for re-election?
Maybe I am being too cynical. There is a strong possibility that these donors really do care about the landmark returning to its former glory.
The Yellow Vest movement, a wealth inequality protest group, shows no signs of stopping after donations have reached over one billion dollars. Members of the movement are angry with how quickly the money was raised for a building instead of actual people. President Marcon needs all of the positive press he can find, and this seems like just the break from negative press that he needs.