When Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., strolls into his Oakland clothes store Dope Period on Broadway, you’ll be able to sense his presence looming earlier than alighting on the popularity that that is certainly the rap legend himself — strolling into his personal clothes retailer — able to get to work.
And when he begins barking orders to his workers, meticulously folding shirts emblazoned with the Dope Period emblem and inspecting the state of issues. It is obvious the store is not some facet hustle. It is certainly his factor!
“To be on Broadway and have a clothes retailer that’s solely your model, typically you simply received to pat your self on the again,” Cox opined on a current day.
The rap world was already lengthy patting Cox on the again, crediting him with serving to to ignite the Bay Space’s Hyphy motion within the early 2000s when, in probably the most humble of brand name launches, he started promoting his personal line of shirts out of the trunk of his automobile, driving his musical avenue cred into varied Oakland’s communities to hawk his self-designed wares.
Every day he’d decide up a rental automobile, load its trunk with shirts and sweatshirts, and hit the pavement.
“I actually didn’t have a imaginative and prescient,” Cox mentioned. “I simply had some concepts and I wished individuals to be keen on the concepts like I used to be.”
Nowadays, his model — with its nods to ’80s cultural references — attracts legions of followers to his brick-and-mortar retailer on Oakland’s Broadway, together with celebrities like Snoop Dogg and the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Inexperienced. Prospects are sometimes shocked to search out out the man folding shirts and ringing them up is Mistah F.A.B. himself.
The clothes is eye-bogglingly colourful — some bearing photos of ’80s icons like Tremendous Mario, a Monopoly board or a Nintendo recreation. Cox mentioned the imagery is a nod to his childhood within the ’80s — solely the cheery colours in his world view reference a troublesome childhood rising up in Oakland’s tough and tumble streets.
“We felt like we knew Mario, like that was our pal. He saved us,” Cox mentioned, noting his dad and mom have been battling drug dependancy throughout his teenage years. “The one factor that was actually a protected haven, or a security code for us was a Nintendo recreation.”
The articles of clothes hanging in Dope Period are flanked by art work in each nook, a lot of it given to Cox by followers. Sprinkled among the many artwork are photos of George Floyd, whose loss of life final Might touched off a nationwide reflection over racial inequality.
For Cox, an outspoken activist, the loss of life of Floyd wasn’t a shape-shifting cataclysmic occasion — it was but one other shape-shifting cataclysmic occasion.
“Rising up in Oakland, we skilled many George Floyds earlier than George Floyd,” he mentioned. “We’ve witnessed police brutality on the highest type of brutalizing the individuals and the general public.”
Cox has not solely spoken out about racial inequality, he is used his movie star to attempt to confront its impacts, sponsoring youth backpack giveaways, toy drives, and quite a few occasions to feed the neighborhood.
“Our first occasion was 50 individuals. We’re servicing hundreds of individuals now,” mentioned Cox’ sister Theresa Anderson. “So, that claims loads to his character and the way a lot he has put in.”
Cox mentioned in his view, his philanthropic ventures are actually extra essential than the clothes and even the music, coming in a detailed second to parenting. It is the achievement of a pledge he made to himself again when he was nonetheless simply Stanley Cox.
“I made a vow to myself and to my household: If I used to be ever ready to assist lighten the load, then I’d do it in all my powers,” Cox mentioned.
As Cox breezes by the store, mentioning a T-shirt that reads “I really like Black designers,” or one other that claims “If it is main, hit me on my pager,” he lands on a shirt that claims “My first band” with an image of a pair bundles of 500 in Monopoly cash — the band being a band of money. Cox mentioned the shirt is a tribute to his grandfather.
“He would say this: ‘In case you may be profitable at Monopoly, you may be profitable at life,'” Cox mentioned.
Cox grinned as he let the thought wash over him — a easy, but deep life lesson embedded in a board recreation.
“What did you do together with your first band?” he requested rhetorically in a rising preacher’s voice. “Did you purchase Park Place or Boardwalk? Acquired to ask your self. First band child.”