A powerful statement can be made with one single word, and this incredible family is sending a profound message with their new t-shirt collection called black.
Karla and Kai Radford—a mother and daughter team based in St. Louis—were inspired to create a t-shirt for the culture while in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the current climate of racial injustice and the subsequent protests happening around the country, they wanted to create a design that represented their cultural pride and support for their community. The goal was to create a t-shirt that exemplifies, in one word, who they are. So, the ladies created a logo using the word “Black” in all lower case letters with a period at the end of it to create a simple yet poignant statement. The end result is a tee that speaks a resounding message to all who see it.
With their t-shirt line, Karla and Kai wish to uplift the community during these perilous times in our country, while also giving back to charitable foundations that are dear to their hearts. A portion of their proceeds will be donated to organizations that do grassroots work in underserved communities, including the National Urban League, which is an historic foundation that led the charge for social justice, civil rights, equality, and economic relief since its founding in 1910.
Hype Hair is excited to partner with Karla and Kai for a t-shirt giveaway contest, where five lucky winners will have a chance to receive a prize. Read on for our interview with Karla to learn more about her new brand, and then head over to @HypeHairMag on Instagram to check out our contest for a chance to win your very own black. T-shirt.
Hype Hair: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
Karla Radford: My name is Karla Radford, and my daughter is Kai Radford. I am from St. Louis, Missouri, but lived most of my adult life in New York City, where my daughter and son, Nigel, was born. We relocated back to St. Louis in 2010. I am one of four sisters and came back to aid in the care of my mother and never left. I worked for VIBE magazine since its inception in 1993 to 2007 and then started my own business, Radford Events, LLC. Kai is a senior attending Washington University, where she is majoring in African and African American studies with a minor in children studies. In the future, she hopes to achieve a master’s degree in social work. My son is a graduate with a degree in mathematics.
HH: What was the inspiration behind the development of your new t-shirt?
KR: With all the tragic circumstances surrounding our culture and being isolated for so long, we thought we should do something to create awareness for the Black community, as well as serving others that have been hard hit through whatever plight they were experiencing during this catastrophic year.
HH: Tell us about the design you have created?
KR: Kai was the mastermind behind the logo. She thought a simplistic design would offer more, and the lower case lettering would be more appealing. The period is just what it is. We are black. Period. Whatever follows behind that – i.e., woman, man, mother, father, activist, athlete, student, whatever – we are Black first, and that’s what’s seen 24/7. We are proud and thankful and want those that see the t-shirt, or purchase one, to feel the same way. We have people of different nationalities purchasing the shirt to show support, just like different demographics wearing Black Lives Matter. It just shows they’re woke and understand or trying to gain an understanding of what these protests and what we’re fighting for have been all about.
HH: What is your main mission for the t-shirt line?
KR: Now, more than ever, is the time to be proud of our heritage, our history, our Blackness. No matter where you are from within the beautiful African diaspora, “Black” unites us. While spreading this poignant and timely message, we also wish to uplift organizations that do targeted and necessary work for the betterment of black peoples and families. A portion of every shirt sold will be donated to a charity or organization. Thank you for your own individual changes to bring about a better future for us all, and thank you for being a part of our own attempt to help and change our own community.