Humanize My Hoodie — a movement aimed at raising awareness of the implicit bias in how American society views people of color — is coming to Cedar Rapids on Thursday.
The latest project for co-founders Jason Sole and Andre Wright is a 30-minute documentary focusing on their lives and work, culminating in their journey to last year’s New York Fashion Week. The documentary will be screened twice at Kirkwood Community College on Feb. 27.
Humanize My Hoodie was started in 2017 by Sole, a criminal justice professor at Hamline University, and Wright, a University of Iowa alumnus and CEO of the Iowa City-based fashion label Born Leaders United. The movement focuses on the intersection of fashion, prejudice and violence.
Their mission statement reads, in part:
We need your help in de-stigmatizing clothing trends associated with Black and Indigenous People of Color. The senseless killings of Black people at the hands of police officers have spurred conversations about society’s perception of the hoodie. Simply put: If you are Black and sporting a hoodie, YOU ARE CONSIDERED A THREAT. We seek to create a world in which our fashion isn’t probable cause to be slain in the streets!
“What started out as a project turned into a movement really quickly when people started seeing those three words, ‘humanize my hoodie,’ they fell in love with it, and people started checking their biases,” Sole told Little Village in a video interview last year. “It’s a movement that’s just really getting started. … We’re just scratching the surface, so Humanize My Hoodie is a movement that’s going to be around for quite some time.
In addition to sharing their work at NYFW last year and selling their hoodies online, Wright and Sole created a traveling art exhibit last year. Sole also received a shout out from John Legend for his work.
“We’re just two human beings that love what we do and because of that we’re able to chase our passions, and we’re able to give back to the world,” Wright said during last year’s interview.
“It’s art. It’s training,” Sole added. “And [it’s] people telling us their stories of what happened when they had the hoodie on.”
The first screening is at 3 p.m. and the second at 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A with Sole and Wright. Tickets can be purchased online for $20.