Shirts emblazoned with the phrase “All white people are racist” raised questions last semester. This is what Eneale Pickett wanted with his clothing line, and he is starting conversations again with a new line of apparel.
In the spring of his freshman year, when a friend of his was told people of color do not belong at UW-Madison, Pickett, now a sophomore, developed the first garments for his line, Insert Apparel. Along with “All white people are racist,” the shirts and sweatshirts wore phrases like “Black Girl Magic” and “If I encounter another cop with a God complex, I’m going to have to show the world that they are human.”
Pickett said the phrases in this line were meant to counteract stereotypes that people would assign to students of color. His new line, though, is an evolution of the original clothing that is aimed at facilitating discussions about the intersectionalities of race, class, gender and more.
With help from designer Jenaé Hu, Pickett created a line of shirts called “Resistance: Gold Edition.” The new apparel feature phrases outlined in gold that say “Stay Woke or Get Killed in Your Sleep,” “Black Boy Brilliance” and “Fuck White Supremacy.”
“The reason why I printed the shirts in gold is because gold represents the black joy of fighting resistance,” Pickett said. “A lot of people think you’re supposed to be a fighter all the time, and that’s when you wear yourself out and don’t really take care of yourself. With this line I’m taking care of myself and promoting self-care through the words and visuals on the shirts.”
Following the release of the first clothing items, Pickett received negative comments and death threats. He said the messages drained him because he did not know to take care of his mental health and balance his life between his line and school. He said he is taking care of himself mentally with these new clothes.
Pickett said he also heard positive messages from individuals who noticed his clothing. Many people told him they began to educate themselves about race and recognize the privilege they may have—he wants people to feel uncomfortable.
“My number one goal is to have people critically think about these topics like they never did before,” Pickett said. “There are conversations being had about this, and people are now thinking about this, like connecting all the dots and understanding why these things were created … and how people are fighting those things.”
The shirts will be released on his Insert Apparel website sometime between Feb. 1 and Feb. 4; his way of recognizing Black History Month.