by Justin Olivier Salhani, founder of Guerrilla FC
A few months ago, one of the day one Guerrilla FC members, Faceless Magee, hit me up. We were in the planning stages for our residency at Homme and we hoped that this two-week-pop-up-slash-exhibit would do a few things:
1. Give a platform to marginalized voices in the football community
2. Show the culture, personality, and some of the work of members of our community.
Magee had an idea for the residency for a kit that would connect some of his passions with a few of the connections he'd made over the years. He'd been brainstorming with an old friend and DJ-partner from college days named Jason (the co-founder of the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival) on a hip hop focused, politically minded concept kit.
Building out of the decades of work and relationships established through Nomadic Wax, a record label (founded by Ben Herson) that focuses primarily on political hip-hop from the African continent, the aim for the kit was to shed light and raise funds and awareness around community-based organizations on the continent doing remarkable in the face of major resource challenges.
For this particular kit, we reached out to Emile YX? - one of South Africa's hip hop pioneers, who is now also an author, academic, and teacher. Many years ago, Emile founded Heal the Hood - a South African organization working to empower local youth in Cape Town's Cape Flats neighborhood. There, they teach youth about civil engagement and democracy, largely through the art of breakdance and hip hop culture.
Stay Calm's Renaud Lioult, a French designer based in Senegal jumped in as well to build the design.
Half of my job at Guerrilla FC is to lead the creative process. I art direct, conceptualize, and work with our designers to create our apparel and content. But with this collab, I took a backseat.
The Heal the Hood crew, including Emile, his brother Tanswell, and Shaquile, and Renaud ran riot on the conceptualization phase. The references ran deep. The designs were intricate yet expressive. And it all culminated in the piece you see here.
The other part of my job, is to make sure Guerrilla FC stays alive and thrives. In this world and this economic system, that means a lot of this relates to finances.
Guerrilla FC was happy to fund this collaborative process. One of our most entrenched values is to be a platform for collaboration and contribution to the culture. But what's even better is what happens next.
Profits from sales go to Heal the Hood to continue their important work in the Cape Flats. Guerrilla FC is not profiting from this collaboration.
Part of this revolution we started on three years ago, is reinventing this segment of society. We want the world to be a reflection of ourselves - multinational, diverse, positive, and with a set of ethics that isn't solely driven by a bottom line.