gentrification

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Rethink Shinola

By Rebekah Modrak

RETHINK SHINOLA is a multi-part, Internet-based artwork analyzing and critiquing the branding messages publicized by the company Shinola, founded in 2011. Shinola’s name is “a nod” to the former Shinola, a shoe polish company that promoted its products using racist caricatures of African Americans. The “new” Shinola company planted itself in Detroit and leverages and profiteers from the extreme conditions and image of the city as a site of grit and resilience. The brand creates representations of patriarchal whiteness to enforce perceptions of their “leadership” and circulates images of African American employees being grateful for this so-called governance. In Shinola’s narratives, the “wild” Detroit environment needs a civilized savior who can first identify with and then tame and civilize the savage.

Whole Foods, Black Wall Street, and My 13-inch Flat Screen TV

By Andre Patterson

It was “Groundhog’s Day” at Stateville Prison; that is to say, another redundant night. I sat on the top bunk in my small concrete box, head scraping the low paint-chipped ceiling, cursing my two-hundred dollar 13-inch flat screen television. It was defiantly cutting off every few minutes, despite my chastising finger mashing the power button and my verbal assault on its character: “piece of crap!” I’d only had it for a year. The joint had sold me a lemon.

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