Culture

Nike Stole Panamanian Indigenous Artwork And Tried To Pass It Off As Puerto Rican Until Latinos Canceled The Whole Thing

After Nike teased its imminent release of an Air Force 1 shoe design meant to celebrate Puerto Rico, it was immediately met with backlash. The design features a coquí, the frog that can be heard chirping all over the island, and Puerto Rico’s national animal. That’s cool.

What’s not cool is the colorful design bordering the coquí, which is a blatant copy of a traditional Panamanian mola design. The company has since postponed the release of the show. They even apologized for “the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 ‘Puerto Rico’ 2019 edition.”

The Puerto Rico Nike Air Force 1s were expected to be released on June 6 at $100 a pair.

@IsaacLarrier / Twitter

“@Nike, Guys, these are cool sneakers, and I get the reference to the Coquí frog, but this pattern and design are NOT from Puerto Rico,” @IsaacLarrier tweeted. “It’s a design called MOLA, made by the Guna people in Panama and parts of Colombia. It is a HUGE failure of your research department.”

The mola design belongs to the Guna indigenous peoples of Panama and Colombia and is very specific.

@IsaacLarrier / Twitter

Most of the Guna people live in Guna Yala, islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Belisario López, the leader of the Guna community told U.S. News and World Report that the design represents “Mother Earth because the design is based on everything that is nature.”

The Guna knew that their design was protected by intellectual property laws in Panama and fought back.

@luscifers_ / Twitter

Their lawyer, a Guna woman, released a statement that stated that Nike never asked for permission and that they “pirated” the design for company profit. Too often, companies steal from generations of indigenous art with no recourse. This time, the Guna people won.

The Guna Yala community isn’t opposed to commercializing the design.

@AFP / Twitter

“We are not against our ‘mola’ being commercialized,” Belisario López, Leader of the Guna Yala Community told US News and World Report. “What we oppose is it being done without consulting us first.”

Another major problem is that Nike tried to reappropriate Guna culture as Puerto Rican.

@friendlyskyz / Twitter

That a U.S. company would internationally distribute Panamanian artwork as representative of Puerto Rico left many Panamanians pretty angry. Rightly so.

The fact is that the mola is more than a design. It’s identity.

@amoreroxie / Twitter

Monica Martinez, a professor of social anthropology at Barcelona University who has been studying the Guna for twenty years, said, “The mola is like a flag for the Guna. There is really a cultural identity that is articulated around the mola. It is a very strong element of identity.”

Some Panamanians are pointing out that Panama has frogs, too.

@bluishyoongs / Twitter

As well known as the coquí is to Puerto Rico, the Golden Frog is also widely known as endemic to Panama. It’s Panama’s national animal.

Some Latinos are angry that Nike didn’t look closer into Puerto Rico’s own rich history of art.

@yayalove86 / Twitter

You don’t have to look too far to find an established Puerto Rican graphic designer or artist to consult with. Where are the art historians on the Nike team?

The creator of La Borinqueña already tweeted a mockup to Nike.

@MrEdgardoNYC / Twitter

“.@Nike, when you make a tribute sneaker for Puerto Rico, note that ‘mola’ art is from the Indigenous people of Gunayala in Panama,” @MrEdgardoNYC tweeted. “So, here’s my quick #LaBorinqueña mockup and we can donate proceeds to our grants program in PR and the Mola shoe can benefit Panama! Hit me up!”

The tribe is now seeking damages for profiting off “part of the spirituality of the Guna people.”

@tongai / Twitter

Guna lawyer Aresio Valiente told AFP, “The company has to compensate us because it was an illegal copy of our designs.” This is part of a larger effort to reclaim justice for what feels like identity theft.

Valiente knows that Guna’s case against Nike is “not the only one in the world. Thousands of designs and the ancestral knowledge of indigenous people are being pirated by multinational companies.”

READ: 21 Times the Fashion Industry Appropriated Latino Culture

The Swoosh Gets The Latino Treatment: Nike Launches Limited-Edition ‘Día De Muertos’ Collection Complete With Calaveras And Papel Picado Designs

Fierce

The Swoosh Gets The Latino Treatment: Nike Launches Limited-Edition ‘Día De Muertos’ Collection Complete With Calaveras And Papel Picado Designs

Forget Halloween. Each year more and more brands are tapping into the Mexican celebration of the dead, Día de Los Muertos, to target Latinos with their calavera-inspired designs. The Mexican holiday surrounds death, but it’s a time to celebrate life with loved ones, and each year it’s gaining more and more traction in the U.S. 

Celebrated in the U.S. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the holiday tradition calls for the creation of altars to deceased loved ones, decorated with photos, meaningful objects, and their favorite foods said to attract their souls. Petals of bright yellow-orange cempasúchil flowers are used to guide them from the cemetery, according to tradition. This year Nike took up the opportunity to celebrate, with a brand new collection dropping later this month, inspired by “traditional Mexican skeleton graphics.” This isn’t the first time the brand celebrates the Mexican holiday though, a few years back the Swoosh brand released another pair of Cortez’s to pay tribute to the dead on Día de Muertos. 

This latest ‘Día de Muertos’ collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.

credit Twitter @Solecollector

This latest assortment will include the Air Force 1 Low, the Cortez, and the Air Max 95 which are all getting dressed up for the occasion. Each pair will reference the holiday ever-so-slightly with traditional Mexican skeleton graphics featured throughout the design on the upper parts of the shoe as well as on the insoles.  

The Cortez turns black and orange for Day of The Dead 

Credit Twitter @sneaker_arian

The Cortez, is a Nike style Mexican-Americans love to wear, and the sports company picked the iconic design to be part of the Day of the Dead collection. It’s not the first time the Swoosh gets the Mexican-inspired treatment though. As we mentioned earlier, back in 2015 a ‘Day of The Dead’ Nike Cortez was released in honor of the holiday, and the design was a lot more thematic than this year’s minimalist iteration.

Featuring a ‘papel picado’-inspired design on the inside, the stitching of the iconic Swoosh on the upper side of the shoe as well as on the soles, turns bright orange, reminiscent of cempasúchil and candle-lit ofrendas. The shoe is dressed in a nylon and suede floral print and has distinct embroidery on the heel.

The Day of The Dead Air Force 1s Glow in The Dark With Papel Picado-Inspired designs.

credit Twitter @unrtd

The iconic performance shoes were re-imagined to celebrate the Mexican holiday in the most subtle way. The classic silhouette has an all-white upper body, contrasted by piping in yellow, green, blue, pink and black, and also sports a black heel tab and stitching across the midsole. The best part though is that once the shoe’s in the dark, it reveals a glow-in-the-dark skull papel picado-inspired pattern that is fully reflective throughout the entire upper. It’s to die for!

The Nike Air Max 95 was reimagined for the occasion in muted colors and subtle touches of huichol-style graphics.

credit Twitter @RyoRyo719

Joining the AF1s and the Cortez, the Nike Air Max 95 will also be a part of the 2019 Day of The Dead Collection. The festive colorway of the Air Max 95 takes on a white mesh upper with the signature layered side panels taking on a textured/crackled leather appearance. The leather side panels are emblazoned with muted ‘Huichol’ or papel picado-inspired graphics to go along with the Mexican theme. The limited-edition shoe also features black leather mudguards, black Swoosh branding, speckled laces, and a black midsole that adds to the look, along with teal detailing on the skull graphic insoles, papel picado-style tongue branding, and translucent outsole.

There are 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. only, and they represent 18% of the country’s spending power— no wonder brands like Nike want to tap into Latino traditions.

credit Twitter @thesolesupplier

Over the past few years, companies and retailers have made it easier to get into the spirit of the holiday, offering themed apparel, home decor and containers in which to tote goodies. With 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. alone, this demographic represents almost 18 percent of the country’s population and significant spending power, according to Nielsen. In fact, the data analytics company expects its buying power to grow from $1.4 trillion in 2016 to $1.8 trillion by 2021. And that dollar strength isn’t lost on retailers.

‘Dia De Los Muertos’ celebrations run from  November 1st through November 2, and the Nike Air Force 1 will drop at retailers like Sneakersnstuff and nike.com on October 15. Priced at $100 USD, the festive sneakers are the ultimate day-to-day shoe to add to your rotation. The rest of this latest Nike Día de Muertos collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.

Snoop Dog Just Called The U.S. Men’s Soccer Team ‘Sorry’ And Is Demanding Equal Pay For The Women’s Team

Entertainment

Snoop Dog Just Called The U.S. Men’s Soccer Team ‘Sorry’ And Is Demanding Equal Pay For The Women’s Team

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team deserve every ounce of praise and glory. Yesterday’s incredible 2-0 win against the Netherlands, made them World Cup champions once again and brought the women a tremendous amount of support both as fantastic players and as passionate activists for women’s rights. The U.S. Women’s team has taken on a legal battle, complaining to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, against their employer the United States Soccer Federation for gender discrimination, and they’re demanding equal pay. So what will it take? They certainly have support from their fans. If you missed yesterday’s game, here’s a short recap: after the women scored their winning goal and everyone was celebrating on the field, the crowd at the stadium in Lyon, France began to chant “equal pay” — so there’s no hiding the appalling disparity now.

There’s even more support for the women’s team as major sponsorships is putting these female athletes on a massive center stage.  

Fresh off the heels of a great championship game, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team is now the star of a new Nike ad that is resonating with feminists everywhere. 

Nike Youtube.com

The commercial is dramatically cool with its black-and-white aesthetic and features star players including Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Tobin Heath, and of course, Megan Rapinoe. A woman’s voice in the ad says, “I believe that we will be four-time champions and keep winning until we not only become the best female soccer team but the best soccer team in the world. And that a whole generation of girls and boys will go out and play and say things like, ‘I want to be like Megan Rapinoe when I grow up,’ and that they’ll be inspired to talk and win and stand up for themselves.”

The empowering commercial also touches on the women’s team’s demand for equal pay.

Nike Youtube.com

The team has made it no secret that they’re suing the U.S. soccer for gender discrimination. According to Glamour, “the women’s team made $20 million more in revenue than the men’s team did last year—while making four times less.” The U.S. Men’s team has never won a World Cup. And this fight for equal pay isn’t new. 

“I think that we’ve proven our worth over the years,” Carli Lloyd, the 2015 FIFA women’s player of the year, said in an interview on NBC’s Today show back in 2016. “Just coming off of a World Cup win, the pay disparity between the men and women is just too large.” Four years later, nothing has changed. Perhaps this second-consecutive World Cup win and the new Nike commercial will help improve things for good.

The ad is aimed to inspire young girls and boys alike, as well as soccer fans new and old.

Nike Youtube.com

“I believe that we will make our voices heard, and TV shows will be talking about us every single day and not just once every four years,” the ad continues. “And that women will conquer more than just the soccer field by breaking every single glass ceiling and having their faces carved on Mount Rushmore; and that we’ll be fighting not just to make history, but to change it—forever.”

If naysayers need another reason to argue that the women’s soccer team doesn’t bring in as much money as the men’s (which is not true), here’s another indicator that they’re wrong:

The women’s Nike jersey is outselling the men’s.

Nike Youtube.com

“The USA women’s home jersey is now the number one soccer jersey — men’s or women’s — ever sold on Nike.com in one season,” Nike CEO Mark Parker said in the company’s earnings call, according to the Women In The World News

Fans on social media are praising Nike for their latest ad.

Perfect timing, right?

Even Snoop Dog called out the equal pay injustice the women’s team has long endured.

In a post to his Instagram page, the rapper broke down why he thought it was unfair for the women’s team to be paid less than the men’s saying “Food for thought. Shout out to the USA Women’s Soccer Team for their fourth World Cup, but what I want to talk about is that they only get $90,000 per player, but the men, if they win, they get $500,000 per player.”

It’s almost as if Nike knew the U.S. women’s team was going to win. But didn’t we all?

Perfect words for a perfect team that deserves a raise. 

If you didn’t get emotional watching that… you have no heart!

This team has done so much for the sport. 

What is there left to say but “Equal pay! Equal pay!”

The women’s team is still under litigation, but we will definitely be ready for that final ruling that says these women must get equal pay — or more, especially as returning World Cup champions. 

Nike strikes again with another powerful commercial.

Oh, it was us too. We couldn’t stop with tears. We were cheering and crying at the same time!

Here’s the entire commercial below.

Let us know what you think of the ad.