Show your Mind, Not Your Behind Memphis Billboard drawing national attention

It’s a simple message, but is it a flawed message? The billboard shows us a graduate and a young man with saggy pants showing his underwear, but aren’t there students currently pursing degrees that also favor this look? The answer is yes. This is a fashion statement however ill conceived. Fred Davis a local Memphis businessman takes credit for the billboard and his motives seem to be admirable, but saggy pants are not the only enemy of the community. Yes, there does need to be a change of mind not only in the immediate community but in the broader community. Every kid wearing saggy pants is not a thug and every young man with a belt on his waist is not a scholar. Don’t get it twisted I am no proponent of the saggy pants, but I do know that this should not be the only factor that we view when assessing the value of our youth. The conversation needs to include more understanding than judgement. It is admirable that Davis has decided to stay within his troubled community, but one wonders will this facilitate more discussion or just be a source of short lived attention? Share your thoughts.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  • Bill  On September 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I mean no disrespect but it is just this type of convoluted reasoning that you’re displaying here that causes so many young people be confused and to have their aspirations frustrated and often thwarted when they choose to defy social mores. Virtually every culture known to man has had what is has been regarded as acceptable norms in respect to appearance.

    In the real world of career pursuits, rarely is anyone interested in the understanding why a young man chooses to model the image of the thug that you accurately speak of, considering that the very genesis of this image emanates from the prisons in this country. Whether one admits it or not, we all look for what can be called short cuts when attempting to formulate impressions of individuals who are unknown to us. Be it style of dress, hairstyle, grammar, schools that they have attended or whether they choose to wear their pants sagging below their butts, these do factor in formulation of impressions.

    The young man who does wear his pants on his waist with a belt indeed may not be a scholar but he does not possibly create a negative impression because of that as does the young man who wears his pants sagging even though he might not be a thug and perhaps might even be a scholar. As I admonished my sons during their teen years, it’s not to their advantage to create a perceptual obstacle that they would have to work to overcome. I taught them that they could choose to live their lives the easier way or the hard way; deal with the world as it is or fight their way through it because they didn’t think they should be “judged” by their appearance.

    • Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209  On September 15, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Well said, Bill.

      I believe that when two equally qualified applicants for one opening , applicant¯1 with belt and properly fitted trousers , applicant¯2 with the belt line far below the waist , exposing either underwear or skin ; then applicant¯1 will be accepted „ applicant¯2 will be rejected .

      In above scenario , skin color is irrelevant .

      • Voice of Truth  On September 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

        Actually if you apply to numerous colleges with the exact same details and grades twice, one as white and one as black you will have a far more acceptance rate for the black application.

    • LPM  On September 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

      I agree with you, Bill. As the mother of daughters, I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be if the sponsor swapped out “saggy pants boy” with a “video vixen.” With two teenaged daughters in the house, I know PLENTY of girls who dress that way, but are straight “A” or “honors” students. You don’t necessarily see that when you look at them. No, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the fact is, yes, we do. As the old adage goes, “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

  • walknrun1  On September 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    The billboard is a conversation starter and if single young person begins to wear his pants where they should be to “show his mind (as a leader) and not his behind (as a follower) then the message was received. No harm,no foul. And, no sagging isn’t the worst of the community problems, but I am tired of season the Calvins. I’m with Docile Jim Brady on the real world hiring example stated

  • Demetria  On September 17, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Bill you took the words right out of my mouth. I don’t understand why our community continues to condone negative behavior. I do not want to see anyone’s rear end out in public, it is offensive. Parents have abdicated their responsiblity and do not try to impose any rules on their children. I don’t blame the youth but the neglectful adults who want to be friends with their kids. I commend Mr. Davis for trying. He still has hope. As Tupac told us years ago, if there ain’t no hope for the youth, then there ain’t no hope for the future.” As a former resident of Memphis, it looks pretty bleak from where I sit. The “anti-education” mentality is destroying our society. What was the point of Brown v. Board and other civil rights gains, if our children squander their education. The drop out rate among males in Memphis, D.C., Detroit & Chicago is 50% or higher in h.s. for blacks. Sad, but true statistics. I hope we wake up before all the young men are incarcerated. The issues are much deeper than saggy pants, it’s just a symptom of the disease of despair among these young boys who don’t have much hope for their lives.

  • Kristin  On September 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    All very brilliant responses. I completely agree. These kids are choosing to emulate the look of inmates. Whether they are scholars or not, what kind of good judgement is that? It wouldn’t matter if an applicant is a Harvard graduate. If he chooses to wear clothes that portray a thug or gangster lifestyle (or in one comment, a video vixen), he will more than likely not be considered for the position. It’s not just about judging a book by it’s cover. There are deeper meanings to everything we do and choosing to dress in such a way portrays lack of care, respect or even common sense. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but these kids are trying to imitate prison inmates? Trying to imitate drug dealers? You have to teach your children who they are as individuals, but you also have to give them the self esteem and self respect to know they are better and have more potential than that.

  • lou  On September 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Wearing saggy pants is called saggin , spell it backwards….the entire look is ignorant and stupid!

%d bloggers like this: