André 3000 Discusses His New Protest T-Shirt Line and His 'Hope' for Anti-Racism Marches in Rare Interview

Illustration for article titled André 3000 Discusses His New Protest T-Shirt Line and His Hope for Anti-Racism Marches in Rare Interview
Photo: Theo Wargo (Getty Images)

André 3000 has become an enigmatic figure in hip-hop, rarely giving interviews or discussing what’s next for his music career. (But if you ask me, he’s earned a break away from the game.) However, he has been a bit more vocal than usual given the recent events unfolding around the country regarding anti-racist protests stemming from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

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In a new phone conversation with the newsletter Blackbird Spyplane—who describe themselves as “[your] no. 1 source across all media for recon on under-the-radar joints”—Three Stacks discusses his recent protest T-shirt line, how he’s holding up during the quarantine and more. Blackbird Spyplane wrote that the Outkast emcee called them, which...what luck!

André announced on Wednesday that he’s created a line of shirts inspired by the jumpsuits he wore during the 2014 Outkast reunion tour. The new line was created at L.A.’s Everybody World, a women-owned, women-run company, and 100 percent of the net proceeds will go to the Movement For Black Lives “to aid in their fight to end police brutality & racial injustice against Black people.”

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He notes that the concerts where the jumpsuits were worn occurred during the same time as the Ferguson protests, and considering the way things are right now, the shirts and their slogans “ring even Truer.” Some of the slogans include “the hardest time of our lives,” “which type of stereo are you?” and “across cultures, darker people suffer most. why?”

“[At the time], I wanted to find something to keep myself excited each night, because I didn’t have new verses and new songs, and it felt weird to play old songs from 1993, so I said, ‘Let me put these thoughts on my suits,’” he says of the ideation of the original slogans. “Some were serious, some were silly. Just random thoughts, like me admitting to loving fruit snacks! But also this was summer 2014...So it was fun and serious and sad and everything. But they still make sense now.”

In terms of how he feels about the nationwide protests, he explains that he “knew” something like this would eventually happen, but he’s also uneasy about the “damage and destruction when it comes to people’s businesses and livelihoods.” However, he’s hopeful that these protests signal the start of something new for America.

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“Honestly, I lost hope in marches—until now,” he says. “I saw it working again and I said, ‘Whoa.’ The thing is that, for it to work, people have to turn out, and now it’s kind of the perfect storm because corona had everyone at home, and we had nothing to do but react—and people wanted to be outside. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse: If everyone was at work right now, going about their business, the protest turnout wouldn’t be anywhere near as high. But it’s been a long time coming and it came to a head right now.”

Read his full interview here.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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