3rd Eye Open "Branded"

Posted Mar 30 2006

“Branded” is multi-layered piece by the Detroit-based spoken-word group Third Eye Open that examines capitalism, exploitation, and cooption via fashion. Essentially, the story talks about how corporate clothing lines entered the urban fashion market and how smaller, independent companies respond to this attempted takeover. Yet the underlying theme is mental and psychological colonialism of Africans by Europeans in the past and asks the listeners to examine their own actions and motivations. Below are the lyrics, while the second page is a worksheet that was handed out before students listened to the song. After the song played, they were divided into groups (they just counted off) and given the second sheet to work on in their smaller groups, which can be found on page three.

3rd Eye Open logoNew millennium explorers set sail to the old world in search of n****s
They had heard so many stories about n****s that they wanted to meet them personally
So they figured
They travel many nautical knots to get to the spot that they called Rockport,
The livest city on the island of Pelé Pele, Mecca – the Old World
Once they docked, they were shocked by the warm reception they received by island gurus sporting
Wu-Wear, Roca Wear, and FUBU respectively.
Collectively they had a lot of flava.
And they treated their new neighbors with the utmost respect
In retrospect, things appeared to be going perfect
They hooped, they rapped, they played polo and even shot craps with chaps they once revered as n****s
To no surprise, Tommy Hilfiger became dissatisfied and frowned at how things were going down.
He had bigger plans brewing in his twisted mind
His ultimate goal was to take sole control of the island
Now he was smiling and discussed his intention with Kenneth Cole, his right hand man, as they plotted strategically throughout the night
Until they came up with a master plan
They both agreed the secret weapon was Donna Karen,
Who was a thick White chick who thought she was all that because her body was stacked
In other words, baby was phat
Her mission was to go fishin’ for a fool, to use as a tool
You know, make him break all the rules

First on her list was Willie Esco
He didn’t giver the time of day because he was in love with J-Lo and Fendi ????
So she tried to step to Marithé and Francois Girbaud, who dogged her out and treated her like a little ho
So, Donna became p****d because she was getting dissed all the time
And was about to lose her mind until she ran into the don by the name of the name Sean John
Now he was a true play from the Himalayas
Smooth and as cool as an iceberg
You know he stepped to her
He spit a little game and sparked a flame
Cuz his desire was to set her soul on fire
Through conversation
Gave her an invitation to sip on some of nature’s libation
But then temptation set in
And he had his mind on physical penetration
So he asked, and she obliged
And without hesitation she proceeded to ride on his ****
Making him *** real quick
Getting him ***** whipped
And the next thing you know,
He starts buying her all types of ****
Watches by Movado (?) and Rolex
Leather jackets Davucci and Averex
Purses by Coach and Gucci, sweaters by Enyce and Coogi
Hell, she even started sporting shell-toed Addidas, Nikes, and Air Jordans
And exchanged, her Armani, Versace, Prada, and Dolce Gabana for that street ****
You know, that sweet ****
Know it’s clearly Akademik, that Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole’s reaction,
That these Lugz were p*ssed off by the situation
So in frustration they called in the Old Navy
Who was laying by this crazy mutha ***** named Eddie Bauer
Known for packing that high-powered heat
Once he arrived, they strived to take over the island with force
And of course, this didn’t sit too well with n****s
So they came up with a plan
That was much bigga
They tried to talk it out like civilized men, but that didn’t work out
Cuz nobody was budging
Then were was a little pushing and shoving and then
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Shots were fired
And the Ecko from the screams could be heard for mile around
Then, once the smoke cleared
The worst…was feared
Many lost their lives in this battle
But guess who I seen hanging from them Timberland trees,
Begging and pleading for mercy
It was Tommy Hilfiger, Eddie Baur, and Kenneth Cole
Their poor souls were about to be lynched on the Phat Farm
By Karl Kani, Maurice Malone, and Johnny Blaze from the School of Hard Knocks
They stood victorious with raised Black fists cuz the days of being n****s who lived in fear had disappeared
And the hopes of the new millennium explorers choked on the ropes that gripped their necks so tight because their fight was over
And the luck from their four leaf clover had run out
And it was time for them, to check out
Now, as I grab my badge, ready to leave Northland Mall, I paused
I thought about all the brands that burned on my ancestors’ flesh, on their shoulders, and on their breast
I thought about my ancestors being in all that pain
I thought about them being shackled and chained
I thought about my ancestors picking cotton in the fields
And then a tear distilled from my third eye
Because mentally I was about to cry
I thought about how we voluntarily go to the mall to pick new millennium cotton in Marshall Fields
And break our necks to reflect someone’s brand on our head, on our chest, on our ss, and on our feet, and said G*d d*mn
You see, we’re no different from the slaves of yesterday because subconsciously our minds are shackled in chains to the sting and the pain of being branded
And we don’t feel s**t
Now ask yourselves,
Ain’t that something to think about?


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