Authenticity. This five-syllable word is of vital importance to Black people, as "Keepin' it real" is an integral part of what it means to be Black in America. Acting White is a sin in the Black community and potentially the highest offense that can be made against genuine Blackness and violates the mandate of authenticity that holds together the volatile world of Black Run America.
More so than any other community in America, Black people find clothing to be the mark of a gentleman's distinction, standing and worth in the community. It has been said that you "should dress for the job you want" and this piece of advice is taken quite literally in the Black community, for the era of hip-hop dominance has permeated throughout the whole of Black fashion and created an army of gangstas.
The lack of belts in the Black community would be baffling were it not for the overwhelming zeal that the Black elite shun the wearing of such an unnecessary accoutrement.
Todd Boyd, a tremendously gifted Black author who wrote Young, Black, Rich and Famous: The Rise of NBA, The Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture, has an interesting take fashion tastes of his fellow Black people:
...Boyd believes that there is a strong link between the Black Power Movement and hip-hop culture; he clarifies this point by saying, "In the same way that civil rights spoke to the conditions back in the day, hip hop artists now speak to a populace often disillusioned by those considered overtly political in a traditional sense."Boyd, an authority on Black culture, understands the restlessness of youth and the trials and tribulations that Black people face today. He realizes the ying and the yang of Black people, for that trenchant analysis of Hip Hop culture shows the great disconnect that exists between the generational gap in Black Run America (BRA).
The Civil Rights generation worked overtime to dress in white manners and practice white mores to be accepted by white people. The progeny of this generation who have created the Hip Hop culture never felt the sting of Jim Crow nor State-sponsored segregation.
All they know is the spoils of the entitlement culture the Civil Rights generation helped create and spawn.
Aaron McGruder, the creator of The Boondocks comic strip (and television show) lampoons Hip Hop culture constantly, but never excoriates Black people too much lest he be considered the dreaded Uncle Tom.
Thus, current Black fashion includes the curious practice of leaving stickers upon freshly purchased merchandise and most commonly this is found on ball caps.
Hats are a vital amenity of the Black wardrobe, for we already know that their own hair is a source of constant resentment toward the class of people that once oppressed them.
The hat is a source of strength for Black people as they can proudly proclaim the city from whence they were raised and reared by association with professional sports team (New Era baseball caps are hugely popular among Black people).
Black people don't want to take the sticker off of the hat they have just purchased, because it helps lend authenticity to the fact that they purchased the hat. Strangely, Black people don't want to ruin the crispness of the hat either as they leave the bill in pristine condition.
Keeping the authenticity of the hat in the same condition it came in from the manufacturer means that Black people can get back at The Man by refusing to bow to the fashion conditions created by white standards for wearing the ball cap.
First, it was wear the hat backwards. White people co-opted this maneuver, forcing Black people to scramble for an original style in wearing the cap. Kangol Hats are a staple of the Black head cover, but white people never jumped over this trend so it lost a lot of the attraction for Black people (secretly Black people like it when white people emulate them).
The uncreased bill look is exploding in the white community, which explains the steps taken to differentiate the looks by Black people. Leaving the sticker on is a defiant middle-finger to the fashion police, who will undoubtedly change the rules to appease Black people and endorse the sticker-on-the-hat look.
Taking the sticker off of a hat would mean that Black people accept the societal norms and conditions to be accepted and regrettably would be considered Acting White. If Black people accept the fashion conditions set by white people, they capitulate their style and one of the few acceptable forms of protesting the oppressive fashion dictated by white people.
Paradoxically, once white people accept the Black fashion then the Rubicon has been crossed and a new fashion must be concocted to ensure authentically Black fashion governs the threads that are to be generally accepted by Black people.
Stuff Black People Don't Like includes taking the sticker off of hats, for this is one of the last remaining vestiges of authentic Black protest left that can be practiced in BRA. The Civil Rights movement guaranteed equality before the law and equal opportunity for all people. The Hip-Hop movement is but an extension of these gallant crusaders fighting oppression in one of the few remnants of white oppression left - the way a hat is properly worn.
Leaving the sticker on is just like refusing to give up a seat on the bus. In the 21st century, it's the last place Black people can voice their disapproval with the system that exists primarily for their benefit.