Living Life with the Words of a T-Shirt
Hip-Hop culture has embraced the gangster mentality that has be shown through movies like the beloved “Scarface” and television shows like the “Sopranos”, where snitching is taught to be forbidden.
This idea which became synonymous with urban/hip-hop culture was the inspiration behind some new T-shirts that are causing havoc in America’s inner cities.
“Stop Snitchin'” was printed in the middle of a stop sign logo and emblazoned on T-shirts.
The shirts created by Antonio Ennis, owner of Antonio Ansaldi clothing in Dorchester, Massachusetts, have taken off in major cities like Baltimore, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.
Problems with the shirts soon came after their popularity rose. City officials such as Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston believe that the T-shirts promote witness intimidation.
This was seen in Pittsburgh and reported in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that a witness came in to the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court wearing the “Stop Snitchin” T-shirt and was ejected from the court unable to give the testimony and prosecutors were forced to drop the charges against three men accused of crime.
Mayor Menino went as far as sending Inspectional Service Division officials to seize the “Stop Snicthin'” T-shirts, said reports from the Boston Herald in December.
The legal director of Civil Liberties Union off Massachusetts, John Reinstein, told the Herald, that Menino would violate at least three amendments to the U.S. Constitution by removing the shirts.
Now Ennis is in the process of making an encouraging trend in fashion, by designing new shirts.
Ennis revealed this month, new t-shirts that say “Start Peace” The Boston Globe reported that the shirts will be sold for $20 and half of the proceeds will go to the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s Survivors of Homicide fund.
“The choice is now to start peace and get rid of the senseless violence that’s going on.” Ennis told the Globe.
“I don’t see a problem with ‘stop snitchin’ T-shirts,” said Biology major Jessica Roberts senior at Howard University. “It is a freedom of expression.”
Saheed Fawhinmi, a junior majoring in electronic studio art major at Howard University said the “stop snitchin” shirts should not be banned. “It’s not going to affect me mentally, it’s for commercial use.”
“I feel he’s [Antonio Ennis] a hustler,” said Nigia ‘Dawk’ins, a junior at South Carolina State with a concentration in music. “He is just trying to get money and to come up with [both logos] on a shirt was a great idea because its catchy and someone everywhere in America is going through some type of scenario similar to it.”