We have people of mixed race parentage, Asians, Caribbeans, Africans, Arabs, Scots, born Muslims, converts to Islam, people with Christian family members, friends from other faiths, or no faith... the list goes on. As you can imagine we all don't agree on everything. What we do have though is a healthy love of debate; a strong sense of 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'; Brother and Sisterhood; respect for difference of opinion; a feeling of responsibility towards all communities and a desire for seeking knowledge, self improvement, fairness, truth and justice.
What we are trying to do is create Art - not for arts sake, but with a worthy purpose.
One of the benefits about being online is that we have the opportunity to give you a backdrop behind what we are trying to achieve. We have made efforts to show that worthy knowledge exists within many spheres - sacred texts, academics, philosophers, musicians, actors, sportsmen - role models. Everybody has the opportunity to speak with wisdom and make a change.
It's no surprise to see that certain media camps are already voicing their concern towards what are, lets face it just, a couple of humble t-shirts. This they claim is the first step towards brainwashing - or is it an indication of the first step towards people opting out of the system, asking for dialogue and working towards building an economically independent, free thinking community?
The suggestion that a t-shirt may lead someone astray is like saying that if someone drinks alcohol; then they'll eventually steal from their mother’s purse; move onto crack, then heroin; beat their wife; hold up grocery stores and finally commit suicide. It's possible, but by enlarge unlikely, if presented responsibly - and is more an indication of the individual's own state, or their environment. Does this in itself become a cause to penalise everybody else? ...or on a different tangent; is a black belt in kung-fu, or for example Bob Marley's song called 'War' (lyrics in our Thinkers' Corner section) cause to think that these individuals would be violent dangerous people? Time has also changed they eyes through which people view Ernesto Che Guevara for example. He is now seen as a cool, iconic revolutionary - plastered over t-shirts, posters, art galleries.
People should strive towards being compassionate, balanced individuals. We are more concerned by those who abuse women and children; push drugs; oppress; glamorise things such as over-emphasis on materialism or gangster rap, like Tupac and 50Cent.
Education is the key. Part of this is studying history, from all sides and learning from it. We are taught about wars, yet Historians are not feared violent people. It is worth also noting that history is generally written from the perspective of the victor; or the scholar who is sponsored by those in power. There are many figures in history who are heroes to some, but villainous cads to others. If a piece of art can guide people to pick up a book and learn more, then we would feel honoured to be part of that process.
One of the problems at the moment is that there is a mistrust of Muslims. We are in a world where there are countries of all denominations, which are far from perfect. There are pressures felt by all to polarise views and this has lead to a vast majority of people of all backgrounds who feel misrepresented, lost and out of place. The media and increase in accessibility to knowledge is such that it potentially can have the opposite effect to which it was designed for. They have the power to increase suspicion, paranoia, depression and helplessness in the majority and amongst few become the tool of control and dominance.
For example the guy who says that he's going to the gym after work is health conscious and sociable - unless that is he's a Muslim; then there is the fear that he is training for physical jihad. Or the guy with a Scarface t-shirt on is a cool guy who likes cool films - unless that is he's a Muslim; then he's a violent threat to society. The other day one of us went to a clothes shop in Covent Garden, London. We asked the guy in the shop what his biggest selling t-shirt was - he said hands down it was this one that had Uma on it using the 'Kill Bill' film poster; except it said 'Kill Bush'. There is no way that we'd have that design, especially because if a Muslim did that they'd probably end up in Guantanamo! Our point is that some thing isn't right here - we don't want the right to produce designs like this; just the right to be treated right. This is also why we've tried to show through our 'Thinkers' Corner' that this isn't a Muslim thing - it's people thing. There are artists everywhere, all trying to do their thing. That is the beauty of humanity. The important thing is that we don't bury our heads in the sand and that we do something in the appropriate way.
We don't have all the answers, we don't have any power, we aren't a group and we aren't politicians - we are just a few people who feel that certain aspects of society demand expression.
We may not suffer at the hands of oppression - but that does not mean that it doesn't exist: statistics, reports and testimonies bear witness to this. As those who have more, we are duty bound to do more. Living in denial is no excuse once truth has come knocking at your door.
For example, how does a burger taste if you find out that the company who made it had to destroy 55acres of rainforest for every pound of beef that you ate?
In the past few years Coca Cola has had to pay $300 million for polluting waters in Panama and $156 million to black managers - whom it paid $26k less than the whites that they managed.
McDonalds pays rappers money if they mention 'Big-Mac' in their songs, as do many other companies.
The Matrix and Terminator films were from a script stolen from an Afro American woman who wanted to get people to question what their purpose in life was and think about God - finally this has been acknowledge and AOL/Time Warner will have to pay out (see Thinkers' Corner section for more info)
People of colour and faith ain't good for anything other than to be victims of police brutality, clean toilets, drive cabs, cook food, sign up for the front line, spend money, tick a box, run around a pitch, dance on a stage and get a mouldy sack of corn once in a while.
But we're told that this is a step forward - as long as we don't question, ask for apologies, ask for refunds, ask for equal helpings, or maintain our identities - because if you do, then don't expect to get your job offer of mental and physical slave labour. Skin colour don't make you a racist - just as simply having a dark face in a company ain't a sign of social progress.
We need control of our own media, our own brands and our own economies - not have a nanny state that rocks us to sleep.
If you haven't already, we'd recommend reading Alex Haley's 'Autobiography of Malcolm-X'. He was someone who changed his life around, learned from his mistakes, wasn't afraid to admit when he was wrong and fought for the freedom and justice of all humanity - with dialogue.
Thanks for dropping by, with time and funds God willing, we hope to bring out loads more designs - which touch upon other areas.
Be careful of the system, that looks to divide and rule. Punk-Rock lives on!
We hope this goes some way to giving an insight into what we are trying to do and where we’re coming from.
Much love, peace out!