Company/Brand: Racism Sucks
Founder(s): Tasha LaRae Conway, Vocalist for the 2x Grammy Award winning music group, Arrested Development.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Socials: @yepracismsucks Instagram & Twitter
Panama: How did you come up with the name and concept for your clothing line? What was the inspiration for this?
Tasha LaRae: Well, this is the thing…It didn’t even start out to be a clothing line. It’s something that kind of morphed into that. And as a matter of fact, I’m almost positive that the name of the company isn’t going to be Racism Sucks. It’s going to be something else. But yea, it started from a conversation that I was having with a few members of the writing team I am a part of. We were just talking about how back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s with recording artists, the material that they talked about in their music reflected the time. We were talking about how frustrated we were with all the stuff happening with Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and all this other stuff. I’m riding home thinking about this whole conversation and I’m like, “You know what? Racism and this whole situation just really sucks”. I thought, you know, I wanted to write a song called, “Racism Sucks”. I knew it was going to take a little bit of time to get the song done and I also wanted to make a t-shirt to go with the song and I ended up making the t-shirt before the song was finished. So that’s how the whole thing kind of got started. It was just going to be something that I wore on tour while being on stage. I was taking the shirts with me to help spread the word and to create an atmosphere of support and awareness. It’s definitely something that people try to act like it doesn’t exist and then there are some people who act like everything is always about race. Of course there’s definitely some ground in the middle to find.
Panama: What kind of products do offer and how are you approaching the design process with your products?
Tasha LaRae: It’s just t-shirts. I did have bandanas at one time and I’ve had some earrings at one time but the shirts are the perfect way to make that statement. It was the best choice out of all the things I could have put that label on. I’m probably going to do some bumper stickers or just stickers that you can put on some stuff and maybe wristbands like those awareness wristbands. But outside of that, that’s what the collection is right now. Just some shirts.
Panama: What are you hoping for with this brand and it’s evolution? What would you like the end result of this campaign to be?
Tasha LaRae: Well, as far as the campaign goes, I really want to spark more conversation about racism and what could be done to create any kind of solution towards resolving this problem. For example, this gets a group of people who are all sitting at the table at a show and they’re talking about the “Racism Sucks” thing. They’re like, “Oh, well I have this organization” and “Oh, I have this place that I own” or “I have these musicians that I work with” and those people start to collaborate to create some type of program or something that involves their community and starts to help to battle that racism. I want it to matter. I want it to hit home. To be something that actually makes an impact and not just on the surface stuff like, “Oh, we’re going to throw some money to the NAACP” or whatever. I want it to be real things that spark other things within the community to help start to bring more people together to change other people’s perception about other races. It’s definitely starting with black people. There’s that whole thing with black people and the rest of the world. It’s just too deep to even try and talk to on the surface. But, the world is global. There’s so many people that are coming to the states from all over the world and a lot of them, in their own way, are starting to experience racism but they’re also engaging in prejudice based off what they were taught and their perception of America from their land. So yea, I hope that answered your question.
Panama: Yes, definitely. Let’s say that this campaign turns into a movement. Are you ready to lead that movement?
Tasha LaRae: Um, I think that I would definitely cross that bridge when I come to it. It could work that way. I have a team of people that I work with and we talk about stuff like this on a constant basis. It’s a campaign that I stand behind one hundred percent. As things progress with this we’ll see what happens. I really wish I could answer a little bit better with that one lol. Just to see where this goes, I’m definitely willing to make sure that what this is supposed to be is that. I’m just being very careful, patient, and very watchful to make sure that I make the right decisions for this. I don’t think that this came to me for no reason at all and I’m not in this to let it fall by the wayside so it definitely needs to grow into what it’s suppose to be.