This line has been stuck in my head since I first heard it. It comes from the rapper Nas on the track ‘Nas Album Done’ from DJ Khaled’s Major Key album (released on 29th July 2016). It may be so unforgettable because of the highly recognisable sample of The Fugees track ‘Fu-Gee-La’ or the fact that I initially misheard ‘bevel’ for ‘devil’, which added very sinister touch to the lyric. Anyways, it turns out that Nas is a brand ambassador for Bevel. Bevel is a shaving range fromWalker & Company– a company created by Queens-born Tristan Walker to make beauty products for people of colour. It’s worth watching the introduction video on the Walker and Company website to see what the business is all about.
I was privileged enough to see the man himself performing his legendary hip-hop album Illmatic at the Manchester-based Parklife festival in 2015. He was incredible.
The This Girl Can ad campaign by Sport England aims to show that all types of women can participate in sports, and is a celebration of active females all across the UK. Interestingly, this example of empowerment in sport features a glimpse of a netball match in which a small minority of players are wearing netball skirts. The debate about women in sports is ongoing, but what part does dress code have to play?
Female athletes on the world stage such as Venus and Serena Williams have been seen wearing some fabulous (and very out there) outfits on court over the years, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that they are extremely talented tennis players. Although there is no overarching rule in tennis regarding skirts, a lot of players choose to wear skirts or dresses—and get plenty of endorsements for doing so. However, when female boxing was finally declared an Olympic sport in 2009, it was proposed that female boxers wear skirts to allow the spectators to distinguish them from men. Although this campaign gained a lot of support, after receiving criticism from boxers and the wider public it was scrapped. There are many other ways to distinguish a boxer than by a skirt—their face, their team colours, or simply by looking at the names of the players competing.
Years ago, women had to wear corsets whilst playing tennis; this was later abandoned because of the obvious restriction on physical activity. I personally believe that if the outfit allows you to be comfortable then go for it, but when it is unnecessarily forced then it becomes a tad ridiculous. Aimée Grant Cumberbatch reminisces about P.E. in secondary school, lamenting the stupidity of dress code rules, saying: “We used to be made to wear netball skirts over our tracksuit bottoms.” Seem a bit pointless to you?
This was an article written by me for The Mancunion student newspaper in February 2015.