Can you guess what “trap yoga” and “(straight) flower boys” have in common?
Trends in our society today masquerade as change, as revolution, but meanwhile the same toxic norms are still enforced. Everything nowadays is “trap this, trap that,” reducing the life and the truths of hood culture to a mere aesthetic, all while whole communities that are considered “the hood” face imminent extinction from gentrification.
Straight cis-men bend their masculine presentation for likes, clicks, and retweets while simultaneously lording over queer and trans folx as the sole gatekeepers to masculinity. Femininity is still a water fountain with “cis-woman-only” in bold letters on a sign above it that also, is guarded jealously by the cis-het contingent.
It is for this exact reason that HOODFEM is more crucial than ever.
Meet Unique Williams, a creative from Brooklyn, NY with a passion for fashion and a story to tell. His understanding of the policing of Black femininity and the intersection of urban Black culture with Black queer politics has inspired him to create a concept that will restore confidence and self-love to Black femmes everywhere.
SOULE: Can you tell us a little about what inspired “Hoodfem”? What’s the back story?
UNIQUE: Last year around this time, I was having one of those “moments,” the ones where you are trying to find out “who you are.” I thought about everything I’ve gone through, how I’ve been raised, where I was raised (in the hood), being gay, coming out, and realizing that I was comfortable accepting my femininity and my sexuality at a young age. Then, something clicked: I’m a hood fem. It just made sense.
This brand is a badge of honor: this is who we are. We are hood. We are fem. Nobody can EVER take that from us.
As I’ve gotten older, the desire to inspire others has grown. When I came out, back in high school, I realized that there are a lot of Black queer and trans kids in New York City living on the streets, being persecuted for who they are. They don’t have representation. They don’t have a lifeline. They don’t have many role models that look like them or know their struggle. That’s when I was like “Hold on, I need to do something.” I wanted to become that voice that they needed — that I needed— and I became determined in that mission.
How do you think your brand reflects your personal energy?
It’s really just the beginning. Take the font for example: a little aggressive, a little gritty but still making a clear statement; its me. The colors I chose for the initial product line: fresh, vibrant, fun, but most important— fem; it’s me. It all comes together.
What is your message to your target audience?
My target audience is Black LGBTQ+ people and Black women/femmes. I want this brand to become the unity of both spaces. One thing that Black gay men have in common with Black women is that our femininity is aggressively policed. Black gay men are forced into a box by toxic masculine influences in the Black community. Black women are consistently called angry and forceful for just expressing themselves. This brand is a badge of honor: this is who we are. We are hood. We are fem. Nobody can EVER take that from us.
So, how can people cop exclusive HOODFEM merchandise?
The website will go live Fall 2018, but as of right now, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Hoodfemnyc to get hooked up with the merchandise and for updates on new items/release dates.
We encourage you to follow @Hoodfemnyc for the updates on the Fall/Winter 18 HOODFEM release. Supporting others in the community is key to bringing about the cultural revolution we are craving to see.