Re-education, self-reliance and preparednessBy Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Sep 12, 2013 - 10:35:39 AM
“Guerrilla Republik draws its inspiration from the first successful slave revolt in modern day Haiti. This rebellion exemplifies unity, strength, determination and the Will of God. Our mission is to stimulate minds and expand the dynamics of thinking in our inner-cities and motivate individuals to take a proactive approach to life through re-education, self-reliance and preparedness.” —Guerrilla Republik Mission Statement
With the American holiday Labor Day just passing, a story of entrepreneurial spirit is an example of what necessity and desire can produce.
Guerrilla Republik, formed in Pasadena, California in 2003 just celebrated their 10th anniversary.
Although most have seen clothing with its unmistakable logo on the front of revolutionary Hip-Hop artists, it is more than that. Guerilla Republic encompasses music, education, community development, resource based training and the establishment of a mindset that ultimately becomes a way of life.
“The investment dollars were my unemployment check,” said Rabb Love. “I spent my unemployment check,” he said. In addition to what he got for unemployment, he made use of another available program, which provided $220 and about $125 in food stamps.
“I was struggling. I got that and my unemployment checks and basically created Guerrilla Republik.”
He said the concept for the company came to him in a dream, and when he woke up the next morning, the name Guerrilla Republik was in his mind. He did a nationwide company search and noticed that no one had registered or trademarked the name.
“Nobody had it and I jumped on it, and from that point forward it was like a blind fury quest,” he said.
He silk-screened and sold the first shirts himself, and continues to maintain the “hands-on” approach as it relates to the operation of the company. He is also very clear in identifying his goals and objectives as it relates to the mission of the company. With a variety of colors and styles for men women and children, the company has experienced steady and consistent growth, without having to spend excessive amounts of capital on advertising campaigns.
Origins of the name
Guerrilla Republik drew inspiration from the first successful slave revolt in modern day Haiti. In his view, their spirit exemplifies unity, strength, determination and the Will of God. All of what is represented in the uprising is consistent with their mission to stimulate minds and expand the dynamics of thinking in those within the inner cities of America. Self-reliance and preparedness is the key, he said.
“I wanted people to know about that year (1794). A lot of people don’t even understand that 1794 was a rebellion that basically changed everything and it is so secretive, we don’t even talk about it in so-called Black History! They don’t even bring that up! So that was my mission,” said Rabb Love. “We have to acknowledge and give praise to our ancestors who fought over in Haiti and defeated England, France, Spain and the United States in (36 months) and they’ve been free for 200 years. But you see that the powers that be were basically like ‘okay if you’re not going to deal with us, then ain’t nobody going to deal with Haiti,’ and that is the main reason that Haiti is under such mass poverty and oppression right now. It had to do with what happened in 1794.”
Guerilla Republik has its own set of Ten Commandments: knowledge, power, love, sacrifice, vision, focus, elevation, prosperity and fortune, success. All values needed for young Black men to rise above their conditions they often find themselves in, which leads to incarceration or death.
“We don’t have any more values. These young men have to have values again. We need to have trade schools showing them what they can do with their hands instead of picking up a gun,” said Rabb Love.
The community leaders and activists must stop being reactionary, employing strategic thinking to become successful in solving the problems plaguing urban areas. Young men in the inner cities should be trained in areas such as mechanics, carpentry or they can become electricians.
At the same time, Rabb Love believes Hip-Hop can and should be used as a revolutionary unifier because it crosses language, geographic and cultural boundaries. In fact, much of the demand for Guerrilla Republik gear comes from overseas. International locations such as New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East and Great Britain, just to name a few. At this time, international sales are outpacing domestic sales. It seems as if clothing with slogans such as “Only the realest feel this” resonate with so many on a global level, accepting the truths Guerilla Republik represents.
“Globally, Hip-Hop is used as a weapon of political science and I believe a lot of what the mission statement stood for struck a chord in people,” he continued. “Even though we created it—true Hip-Hop has no color barrier because it is about truth and originality, and that’s what we’re pushing so hard. I’m not anti-White, I’m pro-intelligence. We definitely need to get back into using the music to heal us and rebuild us. I’m using my life story as a testimony of what Hip-Hop can do if it is on the right track.”
(For more information regarding Guerrilla Republik, visit www.grepapparel.com and http://guerrillarepublik.org/. Also on Twitter @ GRO1794.)