“By Any Means Necesssary” Malcolm X’s Daughters Combine Activism With Apparel During Harlem Fashion Week

February 10, 2018  |  

malcolm x legacy opens harlem fashion week

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Harlem Fashion Week included an always welcome lesson on black history, thanks to Malcolm X’s daughters. Last Sunday, Attallah, Qubilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah, Malikah, and Malaak Shabazz opened the show with Malcolm X Legacy, a clothing collection that taps into “this new era of global social activism.” And for guests who weren’t quite woke already, models took to the runaway in the Museum of the City of New York to X’s “Bamboozled” speech, which he gave in Harlem in 1963 which declared, “Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled!”

Young people keeping the legacy alive

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We reported on the launch of Malcolm X Legacy late last year, and last Sunday night the line of hats and graphic tees made their was down the runaway emblazoned with popular sayings by the activist like “By Any Means Necessary” and “A Man Who Stands For Nothing Will Fall For Anything”. The items are available on the line’s official website and are all modestly priced under $50. Yvonne Jewnell, the designer who helped bring the Shabazz sisters’ vision to life, revealed to New Yorker Magazine that fashion is a great way to educate youth who may not be familiar with X’s legacy:

“Besides it being Black History Month (and the premiere of Black Panther in theaters), Malcolm X’s legacy needs to be resurfaced for the new generation.”

“There are so many millennials who have no idea about Malcolm X besides what’s in our textbooks, and even then, it’s limited to one or two pages.”

“[It’s] something so relevant in our political climate.”

“It’s paying homage to and respecting his legacy, and using it to be a vehicle for change.”

Qubilah Shabazz, 57, the second eldest daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, and the only sister in attendance at the show says in the future the sisters hope to expand the line into “more fashionable items”. Sunday’s show did however feature some additions like reworked skirts and tops, a reversible anorak in kente print, and duffels. But more than filling any fashion magazine’s pages, Shabazz says the intention of Malcolm X Legacy is to continue the fight their father played such an instrumental part in:

“It was one of the ventures my sisters and I decided to embark on to further my father’s legacy especially during this time of Black Lives Matter — to focus on the principles that he formulated when he started the OAAU [Organization of Afro-American Unity].”

“The collections is based on those principles: the principles of restoration, re-orientation, education, self defense, unity, and determining our future for ourselves rather than have them determined for us.”

Lastly, Shabazz states that although millennials todays might not be the most familiar with the civil rights movement and the work of Malcolm X, his work isn’t over and the line hopes to instill “power and confidence” into leaders of tomorrow:

“It’s not so much taking back the legacy. It’s propagating the legacy… to instill confidence amongst the people that are oppressed. Hoping that they don’t feel the need to take the dictates from others in society on how to live their lives.”

You can shop “Malcolm X Legacy” here.

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