Indie rapper Taylor Bennett has been a fan of Urban Outfitters since the clothing giant opened their shop in his Chicago hometown years ago. “Me, my brother [Chance the Rapper], and [rapper] Vic Mensa would go down there,” Bennett says. “They were the first place we could actually get skinny jeans from—[Levi’s] 510s, 511s and slim fits.” So when an opportunity to collaborate with UO (also the store where he bought his first pair of Vans) as an official ambassador arose, Bennett, of course, was all in.
The pairing resulted in an UO Pride collection benefiting the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), aiming to ensure safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ+ students. The 7-piece offering, which launches on May 30 in all North American Urban Outfitters, includes one long-sleeve tee, three short-sleeve graphic tees, a tapestry, and two baseball hats. They come in shades of pink, blue and white with messages like “Love is Love” in colorful designs from UO’s in-house designers. 100% of all profits from merchandise sold will be donated to GLSEN.
Bennett, who came out as bisexual at the top of 2017 ahead of his 21 birthday, is anxious to support the LGBTQ+ community, and will also be performing at a Chicago Pride celebration in his hometown UO’s North State Street location on Friday, June 23. “I’m excited to hopefully capture some new fans from the community and bring some of my fans to the community to help, too,” he says.
“UO is thrilled to build upon our annual celebration of Pride through this collaboration with GLSEN and Taylor Bennett,” says Stacey Britt Fitzgerald, Urban Outfitters’ Global Director of Creative Marketing. “We are honored to contribute to [GLSEN’s] mission through the sales of the UO Pride collection. Taylor was the perfect partner for this campaign. We’ve been so inspired by both his talent and his decision to come out; UO was pleased to provide both a platform for his story and support for his music.”
Outfitters also sponsored Bennett’s first music video, “Roof Gone” from his stand-out February album, Restoration of an American Idol, thanks to a savvy partnership orchestrated by MAC Presents and Bennett’s manager Joseph Cabey along with his agent Cara Lewis of C Lewis Group and Urban Outfitters’ Director of Music, Ron Ubaldo.The video will be released exclusively on the brand’s YouTube channel in mid-June, and Bennett promises that it’ll be “one of the craziest videos” viewers will have ever seen. “We’re keeping it really vibey. Expect to see at least one drop-top. It’s going to be my favorite video yet. You could literally watch the video on mute and you’ll be like, ‘Yo, this is awesome.’ The way the music and [visuals] correlate enhances it by 10.”
As a young man growing up in a society that’s more accepting of others’ sexual preferences, Bennett admits that being openly bisexual in 2017 isn’t as difficult it once was. “I think we’re now starting to see a bigger wave of people wanting to stand together as a group and say ‘This is what I believe.’ We’re at the point now where you can do your thing and you can be accepted,” he says. “If someone doesn’t want to accept you, then—pardon my language—fuck ‘em. You’ve got to be yourself 24/7. You don’t want to live a lie, and with the platform that I have, I want my fans to always know me,” Bennett says. “How can you support someone when you don’t know them?”