It's Important For Brands To Stand Up In Times Like These
During these times of civil unrest, support from allies is an important aspect as to whether the struggle will “succeed.” Those that stand on the sideline silent are culpable in the actions that further quell the voices of marginalized groups. Therefore, it is important to see various brands and companies take a stand in support for those pushing for change. Within the martial arts industry it seems as that vocal support has been far and few between. But there are groups that are taking a stand where needed and they deserve to be recognized for their work.
Schools, grappling promotions, and some of the largest personalities in the sport have sat silent for far too long. Even worse, some continue to push counter narratives such as #BlueLivesMatter or even worse rhetoric against the outcries for equality. Amid all of this Hyperfly shines as an example of a brand that has not only shown support for those pushing for change, but has found ways to help educate those unfamiliar with what’s going on in the communities of those that they train with every day.
For example, the George Floyd shirt sold via the organization’s store. This shirt popped up back in June and according to Hyperfly all proceeds of the shirt are donated to the Gianna Floyd Fund, set up for his daughter. Finding ways to raise money is not the only way this company has helped. Taking such steps as providing resources and ways to stay involved are additional examples of a brand putting their money and platform where their mouths are. Have they received push back from some voices in the martial arts community? Yes, they have. Do they care to stop? Absolutely not.
Allyship by those in prominent positions is important because it shows the marginalized that you hear them. Those gym leaders and competitors that hare remained silent should face a mass exodus by the students of color within their academies. If they are unable to use their voice to push back against racism and oppression, what is the real value of what they teach you about being on the mat? Aren’t you all brothers and sisters in training? If so, why do they choose to not stand beside those that look like you, fighting for the equal treatment that has escaped black and brown people for so long. Those are the questions that should be asked of those that remain silent during times like these.
Ben & Jerry's is a popular ice cream brand that has received a lot of praise for their anti-racism work, which has been especially highlighted during these times. Hyperfly is the best example of a brand within martial arts taking the same steps to push for change in the United States. Be sure to pay attention to those that are using their platform to support the needs of marginalized groups in the country. Reward them with your time and patronage. And those that are being silent, make sure they hear you loud and clear when you disassociate from those groups.