The never-ending ques to be cool has cost many their lives.
This holds true in the inner cities of America where across the last 20 years, the love for material goods has brought an increase in crime unlike no other.
The love for the goods below have caused many to go as far as to kill another person all in the quest to be cool.
With its flashy flip-screen and full keyboard, the T-Mobile sidekick was perhaps young Black America’s introduction to the smart phone craze.
Since its release in 2002, the hood’s allure with the phone has driven Sidekick-related crime.
In 2008, Boston police reported more than 300 stolen Sidekicks, accounting for 14 percent of all robberies in the city. New York City saw a 59 percent surge in subway robberies in December compared with the previous year, driven largely by thieves targeting high-end cell phones, especially the Sidekick.
Manufactured by leather impressario Michael Hoban and his North Beach Leather brand, these jackets were made popular by the legendary R&B/Hip-Hop group, Salt and Pepa, who rocked their 8 Ball Jackets in their “Push It” video.
Soon thereafter, 8 Ball Jackets became associated with gang violence and the early 90s crack trade that dominated many cities. In 2009, the NYPD traveled to Goergia to arrest a 38-year-old Bronx native for the 1991 murder of a teenager killed for his 8 Ball jacket.
In the early 1990s, Starter jackets were not only a way to sport your allegiance to your favorite team but, they were also a source of social currency that said: “I’m a member of the in-crowd.”
Fueled by Hip-Hop culture’s love of the jackets, gangster rappers, and actual gangsters could be found rocking a Starter. Unfortunately, Starter Jackets found their way to the nightly news, as people were regularly shot and killed for their jackets.
Incidents from the era read like this: Police say the gunman is a Black male in his late teens, wearing blue jeans and a blue Starter Jacket (Little Rock Democrat-Gazette, 25 September 1997). His accomplice was described as 25-30 years old, 6 feet and 200 pounds. He was wearing a ball cap and a University of Miami Starter Jacket (Columbus Dispatch, 21 June 1999).
In 2001, Apple cemented a shift in the way the world consumed music when it launched the first iPod. Like the boombox, Walkman and portable CD player before it, the iPod quickly became the must have item in America’s music fueled culture.
But unlike its predecessors, the iPod player put 1,000 songs in your pocket (Apple’s original tagline for the products). But like all Apple products, the iPod’s high price tag ($400 for the first 5GB model) made it easier to steal than to buy for many. And many did.
In 2007, The Urban Institute, a research organization based in Washington, released a report that correlated the iPods popularity to the nationwide rise in violent crime in 2005 and 2006.
When Nike debuted the Air Jordan in 1985, the shoe’s design was so provocative the NBA banned it from being worn in the league. Jordan, however, continued to wear the sneakers and was fined $5,000 a game for violating the regulation. Jordan’s defiance ultimately prevailed and the shoe gained cult appeal, quickly becoming one of the most highly coveted items on the street.
In 1990, Sports Illustrated’s cover story “Your Sneakers or Your Life,” chronicled the violent demand for Air Jordan’s, zooming in on the various instances of Black youth robbing and killing each other for Air Jordan’s. As these sneakers have become less exclusive their desirability has waned, as have violent incidents to procure them.