Manifest Justice: The Gear, the Histrionics, & Thoughts from Chris Gibbs

Editorials, Politics & Religion

An open letter to the UNION Massive:

This series of tee's is from the collection that we are calling "THE RETURN" It's called that because when I first started working at Union back in early 90's, we made our

nut off of selling political and thought provoking tee's. It was all about consciousness and fighting the power. This coincided with my music tastes at the time...Native

Tongues, Public Enemy, Brand Nubian, etc. Anyways...those times seem like a far distant memory and I thought it might be cool to harken back to those days with a t-shirt

collaboration release through Union with some of those old brands. I contacted PNB to do a couple of the old styles, "TooBlackGuys" as well as new comer GRQ$.

It's not a coincidence that this "return" to consciousness, so to speak has been invigorated by what has been happening in and continues to happen in America in regards

to race relations. In fact the idea spawned from the events around Ferguson MO but it took so long to launch that I thought we had missed the opportunity.

I don't need to tell you...that opportunity keeps on reviving it's self, seemingly on a weekly basis. Sad to say... As it so happens, Union is collaborating with a huge art

show here in LA this weekend all promoting social and political conciseness. So it seemed to me to be the perfect time to

release this collection both here at UNION and at the "Manifest Justice" art show this weekend. Please know that all proceeds from the sales of these tee's are going to

charity. I urge you to support these tee's and I thank all the brands that have contributed to this. I also urge you to please visit the Manifest Justice show this weekend.


Chris Gibbs


A face of the enemy: Former LA Police Chief Daryl Gates MANIFEST

Don’t Shoot GRQ$ X UNION LA

After the Rodney King verdict came down and LA went up in flames; most of the blame was placed on Police Chief Daryl Gates for the now iconic riots. Gates was a known racists

that let several heinous acts by white officers transpire under his watch. The infuriated black community lashed out in several ways. One of my favorites was a poster mocked up to

look like a shooting range target with an image of Chief Gates at the center. I remember seeing them sold on street corners and even in a scene of the infamous and classic film

Menace II Society. For whatever reason I could never get my hands on one. This coveted poster was our initial inspiration for our t-shirt. I was never able to find an image of the Chief

Gates poster but ran into some great images of vintage shooting targets. My partner and head designer Jamie

Benson used these vintage targets as inspiration to create our “Don’t Shoot” graphic. We then were curious as to how many wrongful deaths of Black Americans had been caused by

police officers in recent years. To say the least the numbers were beyond staggering, very sad and painful. We then decided to memorialize as many of the deceased by listing

their names on the back of our t-shirt.



When this tee was conceived, over twenty years ago, Midnight Marauders

was on rotation, LA was rebuilding after the riots, and 80% of the NBA

was made up of black players which was at an all-time high. Conversely

the white player count was at its lowest number. Despite this new era

in pro ball the logo then, and to this day, features the silhouette of

Hall of Famer Jerry West, subconsciously reminding us of an older, whiter league.

Inspired by this irony, as well as the spirit of the culture and

times, PNB Nation chose to "update" the logo. By simply appropriating

the logo silhouette with a Dr J style Afro and changing the colors

from Old Glory to the Black Liberation flag, PNB began building and as

a final touch added the bold black on black Proud Nubian Brothers to

this iconic tee.



History repeats itself.

Just before the close of 2014, tens of thousands of people

rose up to peacefully express outrage against injustices, much like

PNB Nation did almost 25 years ago with this T-shirt. Graphically armed

with the classic Hello-My-Name-is sticker and tagging the 3 Names over it, PNB

looked to bomb the public consciousness in memory of 3 Black

lives that mattered. The mission was simple. To get people asking who

do the 3 Names belong to and why are they connected? Eleanor Bumpurs (age 66) killed by

shotgun blast in a botched eviction, Michael Stewart (age 25) a

graffiti artist choked and beaten at a subway station leading to his

death and Phillip Pannell (age 16) shot in the back while, witnesses

attest, he had his hands up. Today the 3 Names could be

Anthony Baez, Oscar Grant, and Trayvon Martin. They could be Michael Brown,

Akai Gurley, and Eric Garner, or countless other victims of racism and


If We Must Die 1


The "If We Must Die" tee was originally released in 2008 as part of our Jim Crow Couture Collection. We wanted to recognize the sacrifices that the youth were willing to make to

improve their communities. The image was a perfect representation of their frustration and anger at the injustice that they faced daily and it shows that police have been using the Eric

Garner chokehold from time.


"If we must die" as Claude McKay's poem says, "Let it not be like hogs"