(Blogger’s Note: This is Part 1 in a three-part blog series I am doing on Nation 19 Clothing Line.)
On a particular day I was scrolling through Facebook and an image caught my eye immediately. It was a colorful design of a headshot of a man, the number 19 on the lapel of his suit and some interesting words at the bottom. Sure, at first glance, one would say it mirrors the “Hope” t-shirt that was so popular during the 2008 campaign for President Barack Obama, but it was something very different about this tee.
The man on the shirt is the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and instead of the word being “Hope”, it says “ALIVE.” I wanted one immediately and found out it was the product of Nation 19, a new clothing line launched by Hakeem Khaaliq, his wife Queen Muhammad Ali, and her sister Masaniai Ali.
“Last year, we didn't have thoughts of turning this into a line until we saw the demand of the picture we put out there in October during the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's birthday. I told Hakeem let's do something like Obama, because the elections were something that was going on too around that time. So he created the image and we put it out there. Within a few minutes it became so viral, everyone started changing their profile picture and from there people were asking, "Is this a shirt? Where can I get this shirt?” said Sister Queen, who is also the CEO of their company Mobile Regime, LLC.
Mobile Regime has been producing, designing and developing mobile, web and multi-media production solutions for high-profile celebrities and professional enterprises as well as non-profit grass roots organizations for over 15 years. Now they have added a clothing line to the repertoire.
Brother Hakeem, the behind the scenes photographer and epic graphic designer, said “We didn't go and get a loan. We just started. There are a lot of lines out there that are street lines all over the country and they have changed over the last two years. These lines mostly have skulls, crosses and bones and all these symbols of death. When we did this it was about being “ALIVE”, which is totally opposite. When the design went viral, we were thinking, since we put the 19 button on the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's lapel, let's just extend that out because we have been traveling to different countries with Mother Tynnetta and of course tying it to the Teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Every single shirt has an actual meaning to it. Everything ties into the Teachings but at the same time keeping it real street.”
Sister Masaniai, Social Media Manager for Mobile Regime, emphasized that by using words like “Alive” it alters the thinking of those who rock the gear as well as those who catch a glimpse of it.
“It is about being mentally alive. Since we have this open to everyone around the world, just saying "Alive" and seeing that word, it opens you up to many different aspects of what you can think and do,” said Sis. Masaniai, who is also a model and musician.
With the “ALIVE” t-shirt as the foundation, their impressive online Fall/Winter catalog is themed “The Fall of America”, the same title of the timeless book published by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad in 1973. Their collection includes limited scarves, hats and various shirts with the number 19 in different plaid colors.
They also shocked everyone by using and branding the popular Muslim text message, “APDTA”, which stands for “All Praise Is Due To Allah.” The cover to the catalog shows Pres. Obama and The First Lady heading to a White House helicopter with an image hovering above that some would call an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO).
They have presented special gift sets to Minister Farrakhan, Brother Jabril Muhammad and Mother Tynnetta. To date, the clothing line is being worn by new Roc Nation artist Jay Electronica, Da Lench Mob, Proverb (South Africa), Rhyme Fest, Jasiri X, West Coast Kam, and a host of supporters who have posted their photos on the official Facebook page.
Traveling with the wife of the Wise Man
When discussing their global travels and experiences with Mother Tynnetta, wife of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, all three credit her much with teaching them about the significance of the number 19 while opening their eyes to the world outside the United States.
“Learning from Mother Tynnetta about what the number 19 means is one of the main focuses of what we are trying to do. She said that it's the alpha and the omega,” said Sis. Queen.
“I've been working with Mother Tynnetta since 2002 and I've learned so much from her. It's not really her but it is the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. She's just a reflection of her husband and I think that is something that a lot of times we forget,” Bro. Hakeem said.
“The number 19 is an actual algorithm that was placed in the Qur’an that's also placed in our Lessons from Master Fard Muhammad. That's the core essence of what we are trying to do. We want to have a fashion line but at the same time do it with a new thinking--not just do a shirt because it looks good,” he said.
“One thing that Mother Tynnetta has taught us is to really focus on the youth. Nation 19 allows the youth to get their ideas out and not feel ignored. That is where the gap is between the elders and the youth,” said Sis. Masaniai.
They recently launched their 2011 Spring Equinox/Summer Solstice Collection with the Ice Cream of the Planet Earth, Yo! 19 TV, iTune N, and “CHIEF” t-shirts.
What’s the science behind their new designs? What community projects have they done and what’s ahead? You can read about this and more in Part 2 of this series on Nation 19.
Until then, I’m about to go broke shopping on their website. As their tagline says “Don’t be a sellout, buy something.”
(Visit the official Nation 19 website @ http://www.nation19.com. Become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/unveiling19)