Re: virus: This is also memetics

Sat, 20 Mar 1999 20:10:11 -0800

The Nusouth website can be found at:

Wade T. Smith wrote:
> Pair redo Stars, Bars in hues of liberation
> Confederate flag becomes 'threads that connect us'
> By Curtis Wilkie, Globe Staff, 03/20/99
> CHARLESTON, S.C. - It's not yet in the same league as Nike's swoosh, but
> a jazzed-up version of the Confederate battle flag is creating a buzz as
> the logo for a new clothing line created by a pair of minority
> entrepreneurs in the city where the Civil War began.
> By overlaying the Stars and Bars with the red, black, and green
> associated with the Black Liberation Movement, Sherman Evans and Angel
> Quintero believe they have found the perfect trademark to represent the
> business they call NuSouth.
> ''We're not trying to change history; we're making it,'' said Quintero, a
> native of Cuba.
> Added Evans, a black man born in Columbus, Ohio: ''It's not about being
> in your face, it's about coming together.''
> He points out that NuSouth added vertical lines, like prison bars, to the
> edges of the flag ''for closure'' to the old conflict between North and
> South, black and white.
> The NuSouth gimmick ''does not bother me,'' said Republican state Senator
> Glenn McConnell of Charleston, a leading figure in the campaign to
> preserve Confederate honor. ''The true meaning of that emblem is in the
> battlefields, the graveyards, and the hearts of South Carolinians.
> ''The flag is used by different people for different purposes,''
> McConnell said. ''If this helps get us closer to its real meaning, then
> that's good.''
> The Confederate battle flag is a controversial symbol in South Carolina,
> the first state to secede from the Union. The banner still flies atop the
> state capitol in Columbia, and various attempts to remove it in recent
> years have failed, despite a clamor by a growing number of blacks in the
> Legislature.
> David Beasley, a Republican governor, was defeated last year after he
> became identified with the flag fight. First, he antagonized his
> conservative constituency by proposing to move the Confederate banner;
> when he failed to persuade the Legislature to support his proposal, it
> was regarded as a sign of weakness.
> Evans says NuSouth is not interested in the ''political rhetoric''
> swirling around the battle flag. ''We're not concerned about what's
> flying on top of the capitol as much as what's going on inside the
> capitol,'' he said.
> In their pleasantly funky NuSouth shop in a fashionable corridor of
> historic Charleston, Evans and Quintero talked about their initiative the
> other day. Both men are 35 and wound up in Charleston via separate routes
> a dozen years ago. Yet, as Evans says, ''Everyone has Southern heritage.''
> Early in the 1990s, they became partners in a local record company and
> came up with the flag idea for an album cover featuring a rap band named
> Da Phlayva.
> ''It was in the middle of the rap wars between the East Coast and the
> West Coast, and our record label was getting no recognition,'' Quintero
> recalled. ''So we took the flag, which was the biggest symbol for the
> South, and said, `Why don't we change the colors?'''
> Experimenting on a computer, they superimposed red, black, and green on
> the flag. ''It was like a light coming on,'' said Evans.
> The flag dominated the rap group's jacket cover. The words on the front
> were, ''The future is Da Phlayva.'' The back side said, ''The past is the
> past.''
> No breakthrough resulted for Da Phlayva, but promotional T-shirts bearing
> the retooled flag caused a stir in 1994 when a black 10th-grader was
> suspended by her white principal for wearing the shirt to school in Goose
> Creek, S.C.
> Interest in the symbol was further encouraged, Evans and Quintero say,
> when several people wore the shirts to the Million Man March, a massive
> African-American demonstration in Washington in 1995. ''People saw it
> there and liked it,'' Evans said. ''Everybody got the message and wanted
> one.''
> Two years ago, when the pair began their NuSouth clothing line on a few
> hundred dollars, they had the flag embroidered on their first caps and
> T-shirts. The two men won't disclose revenue figures, but they say sales
> took off, and now they're marketing sweaters, jackets, and pullovers
> nationwide, with a catalog going out this spring to a mailing list of
> 100,000.
> The slashing NuSouth logo is so startling that it nearly springs off the
> page in ads in recent issues of GQ and Rolling Stone. The ad's copy plays
> on words from Martin Luther King Jr.'s ''I Have a Dream'' speech: ''For
> the sons and daughters of former slaves. For the sons and daughters of
> former slave owners. Threads that connect us. Words that free us.''
> Evans says that 70 percent of NuSouth's sales are to white customers.
> The line is already popular at House of Culture, a boutique in Boston's
> Back Bay.
> ''We've had some of their pieces, and they've done good,'' said Patrick
> Petty, the store owner. ''It's teased people and whetted their appetite.
> We're expecting the full line this spring, and we're already getting
> calls from people who want to know when it comes in.''
> NuSouth is opening its second store in downtown Atlanta in June. Evans
> says he and his partner would also like to develop an apparel line in a
> joint venture with the Atlanta Braves, because ''they are the team of the
> New South.''
> Ted Turner, the Braves' owner, has not returned NuSouth's calls, but that
> has not discouraged the enterprising duo from Charleston.
> ''We're targeting where you don't expect us,'' said Evans. ''We're
> looking at the Republican national convention next year. ... We intend to
> take on Tommy Hilfiger and all those guys, so they can't say we're just
> whistling Dixie.''
> This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 03/20/99. Copyright
> 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.