Upper Deck/Lower Deck by Adrian Franks

Check out this great T-shirt and poster series by talented designer/artist Adrian Franks. He creates inspiring designs with an eye towards historical reference.

Adrian Franks

Havard Business Review: Urban Culture Transcends

via HBR by Marlene Morris Towns
Anti-American sentiment poses a challenge to companies seeking to export to some regions of the world, most notably parts of Asia and the Middle East. At the same time, segments within those regions keenly identify with U.S. urban youth culture—the world of hip-hop and rap. Research I conducted among Chinese undergraduates suggests that this identification may mitigate hostility toward the United States and increase people’s willingness to buy American brands—good news for companies interested in extending their global reach.

To lay the groundwork for an overseas study, I developed a questionnaire to measure “urban ID” and tested it on 256 undergraduates in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The students rated themselves on 30 characteristics that are representative of the urban subculture, including individualism, familiarity with hip-hop slang and fashion, trendiness, resourcefulness, adventurousness, and “attitude.” Next they were asked to indicate the degree to which they considered themselves part of that subculture. A high correlation between their answers to the two parts of the exercise confirmed that the questionnaire is an accurate tool for classifying subjects as either “urban identifiers” or “non–urban identifiers.”

The students also answered questions about their consumer habits. Not surprisingly, urban identifiers reported a much greater likelihood than others to get product information from, and have purchase decisions influenced by, informal and nontraditional sources, such as movies, TV shows, music and music videos, and athletes and other celebrities.

To determine whether the dimensions and effects of urban ID carry over to other countries, I administered the questionnaire and the single-item self-assessment to 110 Chinese university students in Hong Kong and asked them about sources of consumer information and influence. Their scores showed that the characteristics of urban ID in Hong Kong track those in the United States quite closely. And like their U.S. counterparts, the Chinese urban identifiers were likelier than the other students to be influenced by nontraditional sources of product information: movies (11% likelier), music and music videos (10%), TV shows (9%), athletes and other celebrities (8%).

I also asked the Chinese students questions about anti-American sentiment and openness to U.S. brands. The urban identifiers were far less likely to report animosity, and, presumably because of this softening effect, urban ID scores turned out to be a significant predictor of willingness to buy U.S. products: The respondents with the highest scores reported 11% less unwillingness than did those with the lowest.

The marketing power of urban subculture associations has been amply demonstrated in the United States: Sprite, Mountain Dew, and other soft drink companies have made numerous commercials featuring rap artists, for example, and the rapper Busta Rhymes’s 2002 hit “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II” caused a double-digit spike in sales of the cognac in the following months. My findings suggest that companies can capitalize on that power in other countries as well, by learning how to pinpoint receptive urban subcultures and then using certain nontraditional marketing vehicles to reach them.

Marlene Morris Towns is a professor of marketing at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and the academic director of the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research.


Words is a re-introduction, and aural celebration of hip-hop’s most influential MC. Inspired by the vinyls that birthed the art form, the film is a portrait of two sides of an artist (A & B) and the streets and city he inspired. Two of his verses have been remixed … the words will never change.

directed by: matt bieler
produced by: ben feigin, matthew kemp, rakim allah, matt bieler
music by: chris newlin
additional programming by: dane leon
edited by: matt bieler, aidan haley
photographed by: matt bieler, scott forte
music mixed by: danny cocke
final mix by: tom paolantonio
color timing by: santiago padilla
titles by: mike moss
smoke by: david hernandez
words by: rakim
production company: serial pictures / anonymous content


There’s something very special about huge, colorful, long, and kinky hair that has the power to turn heads, especially when modeled by someone who owns its power, and even more so when its natural! There’s been a sort of hair renaissance celebrated around the world by Afro men and women alike- proudly embracing their natural wisdom in the form of hair, maintained to show the world.
By Tip Jordan, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Not only has this hair renaissance become evident in our daily lives but its influence is the mirror for many Artists artwork today. Painter, Tim Okamura’s masterpieces have gained great notoriety and approval by many. Besides the fact that Tim’s work is evidence of his appreciation for natural hair, what’s even more wondrous is that his depictions are of the everyday Afro men and women- the simply dressed woman you may see heading to work, or a man who looks like the guy you attend school with, and possibly a girl who you might see walking to a bodega down the street from your house. There’s nothing flashy about his depictions yet, you can’t help but admire the radiant skin complexions, and of course the glorious crowns of curls reaching for the stars, leaving the sweet scent of African Pride in the air!

Moon Dust by Sara Golish

'Moon Dust' mini series of drawings as my ode to Afrofuturism and natural hair. Sara Golish Charcoal, conté & silver ink on toned paper. 12.5" x 19.5" $500