What is “Urban”?
Giving the Wikipedia answer the word “urban” derives from Latin meaning “city”. But it’s much more than that…
Nowadays it stands for a couple of reasons some of them ambiguous, euphemistic or to portray contemporary dance culture.
History & Culture of “Urban”
Dating back to the beginning of the 20th century the word was widely used to label minorities.
Officially the word “urban” was connected with African-Americans and the National Urban League (originally named the “Committee on Urban Conditions Among Negroes”). It was initially founded in 1910 by a white woman and an African- American to face issues regarding black people migrating from southern to northern cities. By the 1960s the word “urban” was imposed on the African-American community even more after the civil rights movement.
The term was scaled so heavily that it entered the music industry in the 1970s with African-American DJ Frankie Crocker describing his style of music (electronic) as “urban contemporary” during his time in the New York radio station WBLS.
In the decade after "urban culture" it leaped into the hip hop and rap scene and progressed into other cultural areas. Events and publishing entities are also included in that matter such as “Urban Music Awards” and “Urban Music Blog”.
Transpiring into literature and the usage of “urban” in a literary genre has been set in as far as the 1980s. Usually shown in a city setting with a dark tone highlighting profanity, sex, violence, and other explicit details to convey an eerie reality.
While the building blocks were laid throughout the last century, transition was set as well. A positive outlook on the word was setting in and the social stigma was starting to fade.
Now you can see the use of “urban” in a whole different light, somewhat changed and refreshed.
Looking into different segments of the contemporary culture, we can see two outstanding niches where this term has laid roots.
Straying away from classic hip hop battles and freestyle dancing, urban dancing distinguishes itself with choreographed pieces. Dancing in groups and crews has risen in the 21st century and has made it to spotlight a lot more of these days than its old-school counterpart.
Choreographing dances departures from stereotypical circles in clubs and battles between rivaling crews which have been more praised on stage, leaving one man or teamed freestyle and battle dancing in the underground.
Marked as the style of the inner-city black kids and young adults. In recent years it has ventured out into the suburban areas, the word “urban” started to shift focus to more socially acceptable views and the clothes linked to it are considered more and more casual wear. After the golden years of brands like Ecko, Sean Jean, and Timberland at the beginning of the 2000s, brands have become bolder with their collections and experimenting much more with colors and foreign styles. Streetwear and “urban” wear caught up with every community, not just inner-city dwellers.
Growth and evolution are key for a business to succeed and so is for humanity. However… you present fashion, music, or dance after time it evolves enough so people could follow. The word “urban” started as a racial expression and while still being viewed as such there are plenty of people helping the word “urban” develop as a style of dancing, way of dressing, and music to listen to.
For us, it stands as a platform to create and spread ideas, fashion, and positivity.
A product dedicated to helping the continuous cultural evolvement, to affect the new generation leading to a brighter future and to unite all talents around the globe regardless of their race, faith, or something else that strives to divide communities in the present day.