If you’ve ever felt disgust (and perhaps a bit of confusion) looking at young men’s underwear as they walk around with their pants sagging, you’re not alone.
Two years ago, Fred Davis of Memphis, Tennessee, paid $6,000 for a billboard that read, “Show your mind. Not your behind.”
A former civil rights activist, Davis is back in the news.
“My purpose was to address African Americans who were striving for upward mobility and needed to present an image of dignity,” he told the Christian Science Monitor. He added that the message was “primarily directed to this community. That billboard was my mic to make a contrast that you really do have a choice.”
The history of sagging pants is negative, as Chicago talk radio show host Perri Small noted. “It does go back to prison culture [where belts are confiscated to prevent suicide]. The question is, ‘How do you respect yourself when you’re showing your backside and your boxers.'”
Additional questions: Even if sagging pants are now a fashion statement disconnected from prison culture, why would people want to show their underwear? And why do they think others want to see it?
Davis said the billboard’s purpose was to uplift the community. He believes he’s paid his dues, going to jail during the 1960s civil rights demonstrations, and has “earned the right to say anything I damn please about the uplift of the black community. Now, anybody who has a problem with that, the only thing I can say is, ‘Put up your billboard.'”