Sagging Pants: Fashion Emergency Or Criminal Act?
The Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts has produced a new PSA, one that targets young men. The issue? Sagging pants.
This isn’t anything new — campaigns against the fashion trend have been going on for some time across the country. But this campaign is different — in the video, an actor playing a policeman claims that you “can be fined up to $300, be placed in a state prison for up to three years or be placed in a county jail for up to two years.”
This isn’t the first time saggy pants have been targeted by community groups. But it is the first time an anti-sag PSA has claimed that wearing your pants too low is against the law.
We should say right here — it is not. Suffolk County prosecutors say the Black Mental Health Alliance is basing their claim on a very loose interpretation of state lewdness laws, and that they would never press charges on anyone wearing saggy pants.
Community advocates and observers say threatening young people with criminal action isn’t the right direction but defenders of the PSA say they hope the video sparks a discussion and hopefully — a change.
- Tricia Rose, Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University; author of “The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop–and Why It Matters”
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