Written by: D’Shonda Brown 

The #ShopBlack Interview Series is a new installation that shines light upon budding and booming Black-owned businesses ran by millennials and Gen-Z’ers who are heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. Meet Leticia Hunt, an extraordinary designer who recognizes the impact of Black soldiers and Black music in her revolutionary line, FOREH. Enjoy the in-depth interview between D’Shonda Brown and Letiticia converse about the impact of the American Revolution, as well as the definition of fashion through hip-hop and Black culture .

 Hey, Leticia! So glad we were able to connect on such a creative platform. Who is Leticia Hunt, what is FOREH, and what does it mean?

Leticia Hunt, is an unapologetic black girl magic connoisseur. She is a rose that grew from concrete, a proud HBCU grad, military veteran, and the perfect combination of culture and character.   FOREH is an adornment line, mostly comprised of berets. FOREH is an interchangeable acronym meaning;

  1. For Our Robert Earl Hunt – a dedication to my grandfather and my namesake’s legacy.
  2. For Our Revolution, Evolution, & Healing – an ode to my experience as a black woman in this world.

 

Obviously. everyone has heard of the stories of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Gardner and even film and television is shining light on injustice and police brutality in movies like See You Yesterday and The Hate U Give. What is the significance behind your resistance vests?

I was very adamant about creating pieces that spark conversation, yield purpose, and that support the revolution I truly believe is on the way. The treatment of black people in the country, hell this world is and has been no secret yet somehow, our transgressions are often overlooked. There are still statues standing with racist figures, stateside highways displaying the confederate flag, and white nationalist who proudly rock their paraphernalia. Why can’t we do the same? We are tired of our mishaps going viral and that being the only light shed on our experiences. The resistance vest is a call to action to honor our fallen brothers and sisters and remind our oppressors we aren’t subscribing to anything they are selling.

 

This timeline spans the history of black Soldiers from the American Revolution to present day operations. How do your pieces help tell and elevate the stories of Blacks in the war as well as us civilians fighting against poverty, health issues and a system overall that just wasn’t built for us?

There is an African proverb about the sankofa bird that stuck with me when I was created FOREH, “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” While our history has not been the most pleasant, it is ours and it is important that WE tell our stories. My line started out as strictly berets in the beginning— berets are and have always been a symbol of revolution. My grandfather was in the army and I am an Air Force veteran so that militant vibe came to me with ease. However, not only did soldiers adorn berets but political groups such as the Black Panther Party, and the Brown Berets did as well. When you see soldiers on the field or revolutionist in the communities dawning berets you see uniformity, resistance, and a dedication. We still live in a society where we are denied basic human rights and fighting to be apart of a system designed for us to fail, there is no better time to be resistant, uniformed, and dedicated.

Clearly iconic events in Black history such as the Black Panther Party, have heavily influenced your work as seen in your berets and patches. Why were you so inspired to make a line that pays homage to this movement?

My stepfather, Carl Earhart was in the Black Panther Party and I grew up in the Bay Area, where they were founded. I’ve heard many stories about their works, read many books about their origins, and visited the places that they gathered in. All of these things inspired me. You think revolution— you think Black Panthers. You think Black Panther Party and you see those Berets and the Power Fist as a symbol of change and progression. My line encompasses all of those things and hopefully I can insight the same feelings and call to action. I also love that the BPP’s presence made the oppressor extremely uncomfortable; when I walk around in a beret that reads “hella black” or “resist.” I feel the same reaction. We’ve been uncomfortable for so long in a nation WE built. You can squirm when you see me walk in a room silently demanding respect for myself and those who look like me.

One of the most notable members of the Black Panther Party is political and social activist Afeni Shakur, who is the mother of Tupac Shakur. What do you feel is the direct correlation between hip-hop, Black movements and fashion?

Hip Hop and Black culture define fashion. Period. We are the tastemakers, the trend setters, and the approvers of fashion. In my opinion, everything we do has a meaning and is intentional. Kris Kross wore backwards clothing to show uniqueness. Queen Latifah wore head pieces as an ode to our royal African roots and to remind a misogynist industry she was to be respected. I can go on and on. We did things to express ourselves and somehow pop culture catches wind, emulates, and waters it down.

 

What do you hope people will experience when purchasing your product? What do you want it to say about you, and what do you want it to say about Black culture?

I want people to experience pride knowing that what they are wearing was created by someone who looks like them and shares their same story. I want people to understand the history behind it and to have difficult conversations with people who may not know our history and bridge that gap. I want my brand to be a direct reflection of my boldness as a black woman and an ode to my culture. I hope FOREH screams black is beautiful, black is worthy, and Black is here to say and anyone who opposes can get the f*%# out the way.

Letitia can be found on Instagram, @Letetecia and, you can also shop her apparel FOREH now available for purchase online on Instagram @FOREH_ .