FORT WAYNE — Jaws dropped and gasps could be heard from some of the more than 100 children and teens in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne gymnasium when they learned about the history of sagging, or wearing pants so low that undergarments show.
The history lesson was given by Foundation One – a barber at Unity Barbershop and mentor in the community – during an event Friday at the Boys & Girls Clubs, 2609 Fairfield Ave. He told children and teens that sagging originated in prisons: Men wore their pants low to indicate they were spoken for.
The event was conducted to teach kids a message about first impressions and respect and to encourage young people to dress in a way that respects themselves and their families, particularly by not sagging their pants.
“Whether you like it or not, people judge you based on how you look,” said Joe Jordan, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. The clubs serve kids ages 6 to 18.
The event featured community speakers, a proclamation from the mayor’s office and a visit from members of the IPFW men’s basketball team.
Motivational speaker Ethan Birch, also known as Six8, said the practice made popular by rappers, singers and other celebrities doesn’t make anyone look cool, especially when they’re looking for a job.
Steve Forbes, a junior at IPFW and member of the men’s basketball team, told those present about his upbringing by a single mother and how she always told him that he could never take back a first impression. He said he must present himself appropriately to best represent his family, team, coaches and the university.
Jordan said the event’s goal was to help youth understand the importance of image and perception and to be fully informed about the choice to sag.
“This event gives our youth a chance to understand the history of sagging pants and how it impacts others’ perception of them,” he said.