This holiday season, show your relatives you love them by bestowing upon them the gift of activism without even having to say anything.
Splendid Rain Co., created by New Jersey-based student Olatiwa Karade, is a politically charged clothing line that currently includes sweatshirts emblazoned with phrases like “Don’t touch me, don’t touch my hair, don’t touch my culture,” “Africa is not a country” and our personal favorite, “F*ck your racist grandma.”
Karade’s pieces, modeled by her above, have made an unsurprising splash on the internet in recent weeks.
She was inspired to create the line by the 2016 presidential election. Karade told HuffPost it was not just the winner and his “blatantly racist” supporters who provided this inspiration.
“I was heavily supporting Bernie Sanders, and I think a lot of people weren’t talking about the other side of racism and hate we were seeing, a lot of which was coming from a lot of liberal people on the Bernie side,” she said. “Whenever he would come out and talk about Sandra Bland, or talk about anyone who was a victim of police brutality, of racism, of prejudice, his following would really go on their ‘all lives matter’ tirade. I just felt extremely excluded and felt like I didn’t have a voice when it came to race relations.”
That feeling of being isolated ― along with a romantic relationship in which she says she faced racism and prejudice from her then-partner’s family ― left Karade looking for a way to channel her anger into something productive.
“I had to realize that it’s human to be upset about something that was upsetting, and I had a right to feel anger,” she said. “If I’m stopping myself because I’m angry, I need to figure out how to make that into something else and recreate it into something productive that helps me cope with my anger as opposed to just sitting in it. ”
Considering Karade’s artistic background (she designer her own prom dress and has created her own Afropunk looks), the sweatshirts seemed like an obvious choice. She made the first ― “Columbus was a murderer” ― to wear herself on Columbus Day. “I wore it around school and posted a photo on Facebook,” she said, “and people were like, ‘We love this so much, when will you make them?’”
When she finally got around to offering more on Thanksgiving, the response was immediate and intense. She made a few samples and before the morning was over, she was sold out.