If there’s one thing that college students are always short on, it’s money. But one designer is trying to help Black students succeed on his campus.
Eneale Pickett is the creator of a clothing line called InsertApparel and a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With a mission of melding his artistic skills with his activism, he’s using his talents to make a difference to help incoming Black freshmen.
The Chicago native told CASSIUS the idea came about as he was telling his friend Ashley Smith, a Black Ph.D. student at UW-Madison, about his vision to make denim jackets with important Black figures on them.
“She said, ‘Why don’t you use the money you make from them to start a scholarship and give back to the people you’re trying to celebrate—Black women?’” he recalled. “I said, ‘You know what, that would be dope.’”
“The reason why I chose Amara is because when we talk about Blackness, we’re not always inclusive of the diaspora,” he said. “She’s open and says, ‘I am Black and I am Latina.’ That’s something I really wanted to highlight.”
He said that he designed Tupac’s image very intentionally, as he sought to show a softer side of him. “In the image I created, Tupac is wearing roses in his bandana, and that’s supposed to represent vulnerability and love,” he said. “Too often, we see Tupac in this very rough state, like he’s so hard. But I wanted to shed a different light on him.”
Pickett plans to have a selection board for each of the two $5,000 scholarships, which will be awarded independently from the university. He will have Black women and men who are scholars at the university and community leaders in Madison on the board for each scholarship.
“It means a lot to me to not overstep any boundaries in the Black Girl Magic scholarship, because who am I to say, ‘You do not personify Black Girl Magic?” he explained. “That’s not my place.”
Pickett is hoping to raise all of the money for each scholarship by this summer. He’s currently creating more jackets with images of SZA, Fannie Lou Hamer, Korryn Gaines and Assata Shakur.
The pieces are up for auction right now on InsertApparel’s website. The starting bid for each is $190.