Nas continues his efforts to celebrate his blackness in the form of fashion. In an interview with The Huffington Post, the “I Know I Can” rapper announced that he’s launching a Black History Month-inspired collection of his HSTRY brand.
Featuring apparel with the statements “Black Don’t Crack” and the James Brown anthem “I’m Black and I’m Proud,” the proceeds will also benefit the National Black Child Development Institute. The organization has a central focus on literacy, early childhood education and health awareness initiatives.
In a statement issued to the news site, the Queensbridge native said he hopes this collection will instill a sense of pride and optimism within those consumers. “We’re in a time now where we can easily get caught up focusing on the negative things going on in America and feel like we have almost been set back in our journey. This collection is about turning things around and instilling positivity,” he said. “Celebrating being Black in a loud and fun way. Taking a much-needed moment to be proud of the achievements we have made, our colorful culture, black royalty and excellence from the past, present, and future.”
While speaking on the significance of Black History Month, the veteran artist said he used to “cringe” at the thought of this time dedicated to highlighting achievements within the black community.
“It felt like a slap in the face with all the hell we catch daily,” he said. “Like a small reward for a dog’s good behavior, then back to the kennel. But I’ll take it. I’ll take what I can get and that’s all I need to go to new heights.”
This article was originally published on Billboard.com’s sister site VIBE.com.