The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 70 — Complex, WYD?

Accountability is the word of the day

Good morning, folks! Welcome back to the Kicks You Wear. Thank you so much for spending a bit of time with me on this Monday morning. Let’s have a fantastic week!

We’re going to start off with a shoutout to y’all today! Thanks for getting your boy to a stack. The raffle is coming today! Don’t forget.

Let’s jump right in.

Be better, Complex

(Photo by Benjamin Finley on Unsplash)

Love them or hate them, there’s no debating that Complex is one of the most visible mediums on the internet when it comes to covering Black culture. Sneakers, fashion, sports — you name it, they have it. They’re seen as a leader.

That’s why it’s so disappointing to hear about their negligence when it comes caring for Black employees who come from the very culture they profit off of.

Tiffany Wines, a former Complex employee and a Black woman, opened up about that negligence and abuse she faced while at the company via an open letter to Complex posted on Twitter.

She describes a toxic workplace with nepotism issues, rape culture, and an absurd instance of brushing aside of essential company policies. It’s jarring.

You should read the whole thing but here’s a snippet from the beginning.

Complex Networks issued a statement of solidarity with the Black community in the wake of protests calling for justice for victims of police brutality….This is contradictory to the day-to-day reality of working at the company as a Black woman or woman of color…Complex Networks would not and could not exist without Black art, Black consumers, and Black labor, but the company itself is not a safe space for its most vulnerable population: Black women.

Complex later responded, saying they “disagree with some of the assertions made” by Wines based on investigations they’ve conducted but would continue to investigate any claim that doesn’t reflect company values.

Wines wasn’t alone in her story, though.

  • After she came out with her story, a number of folks in the replies to the tweet came out with horror stories of their own.

  • The experiences read similarly and there were a number of people who came out in support and solidarity with Wines.

As Wines said, this is a company that profits off of Black culture and Black people. Treating Black women and women of color in this way is unacceptable. If things are as Wines alleges, all credibility is lost.

Sadly, though, this is the norm.

  • Just look at the Adidas protests from a few weeks back. Things start to read similarly when you read the memo written by Julia Bond.

  • And these are both companies that are fueled by black culture. There are so many more entities like this with employees who just aren’t comfortable speaking up.

Black culture fuels everything these entities produce. But they don’t treat the folks who come from that culture with care — especially Black women, who are held to ridiculous standards. On top of that, they don’t hire Black.

Like Bond, Wines is holding Complex accountable. This is a check. She’s making sure that what they preach in public they do behind closed doors. This will be a situation to keep our eyes on moving forward.

That’s exactly what we need in this moment. Shoutout to these women for leading the way.



(Photo by Brianna Santellan on Unsplash)

We asked for more and Beyonce heard us. Ivy Park is coming back later this fall with some new kicks added to the collection.

  • She’s coming back with four more sneakers — a matte black version of the Super Sleek 72, a high and low version of the Adidas Forum and a highlighter version of the Ultra Boost.

  • There’s no official apparel confirmed to come with the shoes yet, but it’s hard to imagine Adidas and Beyonce doing this without some gear to go along with it.

You can expect this next season of Ivy Park gear to sell out in seconds just like the initial run did. It felt like a Yeezy SZN launch circa 2016. The craze hasn’t died down since. It was so hyped that Popeyes even copied it.

The initial Ivy Park launch was a moment. It still holds up as one of the biggest sneaker moments in 2020. It’s clear that Beyonce carries that kind of weight, just in case anyone thought otherwise for whatever reason.

That’s why she needs a signature shoe. It’s the perfect way to capitalize on that moment.

  • Maybe some would consider the Super Sleek to be that, but it’s not. It’s based on Adidas Sleek models that already exist.

  • So, yes, it’s hers. But it’s not a Beyonce shoe just like the NMD isn’t a Pharrell shoe. But even Pharrell has his own designs. Kanye West obviously does. And she ranks above both of them as entertainers.

As I’ve said before, it would be a big deal for a woman to have a leading signature model for the number 2 sneaker company in the world. Those are still heights unreached — barriers unbroken.

Time will tell how this plays out. Ivy Park x Adidas has the potential to turn into something massive, and it just doesn’t feel like they’re tapping into it enough just yet. Hopefully, they tap into it soon.

The Pride collections are rolling in

(Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

With everything going on in the world, it’s super easy to forget the moment in time that we’re living in. But it’s Pride month and that’s something definitely worth celebrating.

It’s important to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ folks — especially during this time when we’re fighting to protect Black life. The fight to protect queer life is the same, unfortunately. But that’s exactly why we need to celebrate.

In commemoration of Pride month, it feels like every single sneaker brand out there has dropped a Pride collection filled with gear and sneakers.

These are good! They’re pretty cool. But I feel the same way about these as I do the Black History Month collections that drop every year.

They’re nice to have and it’s important to recognize these moments each and every year, but we should get more out of this than kicks and clothes. Remember that accountability word.

These companies need to make sure they’re holding queer folks up and treating them fairly — not just selling them clothes. That’s what really matters here.

An amazing look at the Grateful Dead dunks

Y’all were looking for the next Chunky Dunky, right? Well, look no further than the Grateful Dead dunks coming this fall.

We just got our first detailed look at these joints last week and MY WORD are they amazing.

Grateful Dead x Nike SB Dunk Low Yellow Bear On Foot Look 👀
June 13, 2020

Sooooo good, fam. I’d appreciate it if y’all hated on these as hard as y’all hated on the 7-Eleven Dunks because then maybe I’d have a damn shot at grabbing these up. I mean, come on. Y’all have to hate something about them. That fur. It’s terrible. AMIRITE OR AMIRITE!?

Not working? Ok. Fine. Just remember when you get your heart broken again this fall that I tried to save you. I truly did.


What’s droppin’, bruh

That’s a wrap for Monday, y’all! Thank you so much for rocking with your boy today. Remember, we’ve got our drawing in a few hours so look sharp!

Have a fantastic week, y’all. We’ll be right back here on Friday.

As always, family, peace and love. Be easy. Be well. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯