Ever heard the famous James Brown song, “I’m Black and I’m Proud” ? Well go ahead and start singing that song now, as we bring to you a phenomenal clothing company that screams that they are Black and proud LOUDLY!! Introducing Black Republic and Company…
Representing Clarendon, Jamaica, West Indies, Stokely Stennett is the Founder and CEO of Black Republic and Company. Black Republic and Company is a collective social conscious brand that provides a platform which discusses a variety of topics pertinent to the forward movement of the black culture, as it stands in America today and global effects. Through a weekly podcast comprised of diverse male characters, monikered, The Black Manist Podcast, where they debate different perspectives for their audience to both identify with and to be inspired to continue the discussion and revolutionize towards change. Additionally, they have a dope clothing brand which reiterates the movement of the republic for which they stand, including clothing and wares that speak life to black global mobilization and organization.
Black Republic and Company has 35 products available, and offers Winter and Summer gear. There products includes custom men and women’s apparel, with the trending logo of the elephant. They also include Unisex, Men and Women’s Tees, Hoodies, Socks, and Tanks!
So how did Stokely get into deigning clothes? When younger, Stokely was inspired by FUBU!
“The For Us By US was for me, the Ralph Lauren for Black Folks. I mean sure we had Marithe Francios Girbaud and Cross Colors, but they were flagrant and not exactly by us. This brand was us and it was for the people.”
Initially, Stokely started playing around with Canva and just testing out designs. From there, he graduated to Illustrator and other advanced design platforms, which took a lot of tedious focus and determination, and Stokely tells us was quite intimidating to say the least, esp. if you’ve never been to school for it or had any prior exposure. Stokely tells us that’s very simple for him and he enjoys every moment of it; what it means to him and his contribution to the collective.
“My line is for black folks everywhere. One thing that binds every black person together is that we are all encompassed. It doesn’t matter if you’re light, dark, atheist, Christian, gay, straight, or anything else we are all still BLACK at the end of the day. There is no discrimination in our melanin as it is etched into our flesh we are exclusively black and by that virtue of nature included. I make gear to remind us of this honor and distinction.”
In the beginning stages of his business, Stokely faced various challenges that didn’t stop his grind,
“Like with any endeavor there is always a healthy amount of criticism. Add to that a dose of fear, lack of experience, skepticism and the attempt to balance all of these. I started with no blueprint, no support, and no real base line. I only had the passion and desire to pour myself into something I believed in, and it was scary; as a man that isn’t easy to say. We are bred to not express fear, we are leaders and we are strong. So I had to allow myself the permission to accept the fear, understand that I could not go it alone and that I would need help. I have strengths as a leader and certainly the foundation to take on the challenge and to pursuit, but I would need a collective that possessed the talents that I did not to make this come to fruition.”
“I made decisions that have afforded us advancement and solidified a footprint that continues to expose the entity, reach the black population across the states, and is laying the foundation for the vision to manifest in totality. As a young business I don’t think I could ask for much more than upward mobility, unless of course we’re talking donations to seed the mission and of course I’m not turning those down.”
Stokely tells us that his most popular product is the “I’m Black What’s Your Superpower” shirt. The shirt is a simple monochrome design – black print on a variant colored background, white on the black background. Stokely says that the statement however is power.
“It incites anger in some, sparks a conversation for others, and absolutely empowers the body of the wearer. From young people to old people everyone is eager to not only rock it, but to tell us the experience of wearing it and oh the stories we could tell. I am still humbled and empowered by the social impact one simple statement seems to have and the fact that even in the face of adversity our people still rock the new age sentiment of saying it loud they are black and proud.”
So what’s the inspiration behind Stokely’s most popular product? Stokely tells us the following,
“I love being black, I love black people period! The one thing I know about us is that we are RESILIENT, no matter what we go through we come out on the other side. The mere fact that we seem to be feared by the white community or the “majority” says something. We always seem to have this” it” factor and can do more with less and again we SURVIVE. Growing up with comics and being a man now, just thinking about the sheer fact that we possess these amazing traits alone and add to that the fact that our melanin doesn’t burn in the sun I started to think that we MUST have some type of superpower. While flipping through Google I saw a shirt that said I’m a nurse what’s your superpower and thought to myself hell I’m black and that’s powerful! So, in my message I simply wanted to reiterate that as a collective we are power and if empowered with the resources of the majority we’d be greater than even we realize. I repeat, I’m black, what’s your superpower? I’ll wait.”
If you’re interested in purchasing Black Republic and Company products, visit: www.blackrepublicandcompany.com. Stay up to date with Black Republic and Company, as their products may be coming to a store near you!! Stokely tells us that the company is exploring small independent boutiques, with hopes of expanding to larger department and chain industries. (BOOM!)
Make sure you keep up Black Republic and Company, as March 17th marks their 1 year official anniversary!! Be sure to check out their website, for more details about their celebratory event at: www.blackrepublicandcompany.com. You can also catch Black Republic and Company at OnyxCon Atlanta, on August 24th – August 26th. You can get details about this event at: www.onyxcon.com
If you’re interested in your own business of creating/designing products, Stokely has he following advice,
“Just get started. Too many have a failure to launch causing them to never soar anywhere beyond their imagination.”
Be sure to follow Stokely and Black Republic and Company on social media at:
“Tune into our weekly podcast The Black Manist Podcast via Google and Itunes, FB, or Instagram”
Stokely has these final words for our readers:
“If I do nothing else I aspire to leave a mark on this earth of distinction via my legacy. A legacy that will not only feed my heir, but will leave what I like to call crumbs that the black community can pick up unfettered, leading to political, economic, and social power. I am the spirit of black and I will transcend earth with an imprint of black inspiration and liberation without fail”.