The graffiti-print diaper bag created by artist and hip-hop lover, Marcus Gray, is the baby essential moms will love and dad's won't be embarrassed to carry. Marcus shared with me his inspiration for the Hip Hop Diaper Bag and details for the Father's Day contest he is hosting!
MRTV: Describe the exact moment you became fed up with diaper bag choices and decided to create Hip Hop Diaper Bag.
MG: I'm identifying a problem within the psyche of the culture, society at large and how society is forced to perceive the culture as a result. So when the idea that this narrative concerning black men being dead beat dads showed its ugly head, I was triggered. I myself didn't meet my father until I was 10 years old. With that said, he came back into our lives with a passion for being a father. I consider myself blessed to have his guidance, even though he missed a decade of my life. I started to think how could I make a symbol of black fathers taking care of their children? As an artist, that's how my mind works. Let's capture this idea in something solid. That's when I started to look at fatherhood through the lens of hip-hop culture.
I did some research about hip-hop related products and services for fathers of color and not much of anything came up...a couple of books, bibs and onesies. To add to that, the only diaper bag I found for dads in general was a military themed bag. That was it! I knew what the symbol would be, a Hip-Hop spirited Dad bag! My vision is to help keep the hip-hop culture inspired and empowered with symbols of its own evolution into adulthood. That's what the diaper bag is.
MRTV: How would you say you define fatherhood as an adult compared to when you were a child looking up to your father?
MG: Great Question. Because I'm not yet a father, I can only speak to how my definition of fatherhood has evolved as my father came back into my life.
In retrospect, what I needed as a young black man growing up in poverty, was to be taught to be fully accountable for my actions. To explore the dangers of the world with confidence and grace. So until my father returned I did just that, I modeled self destruction. My mother had enough masculine aspects to discipline us, but she also was nurturing enough to encourage us to ask our own questions about the deeper subjects. Every child, boy and girl, needs that masculine influence. It's a law of nature, in my opinion, and [it] brings an incredible balance to the soul of the child.
MRTV: What are the features of the Hip Hop Diaper bag and how do they benefit the dads of this generation?
MG: I believe the main feature of the HipHop Diaper Bag is its connection to changing the narrative. The narrative that men of color, disenfranchised men are dead beat fathers. Every word is light in substance but radiant in its execution. I also insisted that the manufacturer include a port for a USB battery. That way a father on the go can connect a USB battery and his phone when it's time to touch base with mom or entertain the little one with that Peppa Pig video. The bag is also water resistant, has a baby wipe dispenser pocket on the side, 17 pockets and wide sturdy opening that makes it easy to access anything in the bag on the run. It's the diaper bag I would want to carry! I'm really proud of it! I've also had several breakers and skateboarders who aren't fathers buy it, not caring that it was a diaper bag. It's a great gym bag and lunch box! I want to accommodate that portion of my consumers with features they would appreciate too.
MRTV: You are currently hosting a Hip Hop Pop 2020 Father's Day Giveaway. Who are the judges, when is the deadline, and how can someone enter the contest?
The Judges are Mc Shan, Dinco (Leaders of the New School), Headcrack, Kangol Kid (UTFO), K7, Smooth B (NICE & Smooth), Freedom Williams(C&C Music Factory). The deadline is June 10th. In order to enter, we ask that a father figure and their child or children create a video or photo opportunity with a hip-hop theme. Whether that be them and the kids dancing to a hip-hop song, Rapping a verse together or DJ-ing some records. Then we ask that they post the content on their Instagram pages and tag #hiphoppop2020. We will announce the winners on June 11th!
The 4 winners will receive a hip-hop diaper bag, a pair of luxury sun glasses from David Ford Collection, and a children's book from Arnold Henry. Please enter your photo or video today!
MRTV: Describe the ideal Hip Hop Diaper Bag carrier.
MG: The father or mother that carries this bag is a trendsetter. They may have a record collection they could never part with. They may be an artist or entrepreneur themselves. They know that just because you have a family doesn't mean you have to give up your personal aesthetic. A love for hip-hop is something that never dies. The person who carries this knows that it stands for hip-hop on its grown up sh#t.
MRTV: List your Top Five Fave Hip Hop Artist.
2. XCLAN (Verbs of Power is a gift to humanity)
3. Cryptic ( Graffiti Artist )
4. Erykah Babu
5. MF DOOM
Apart of the beauty of making diaper bags, Marcus Gray has been able to speak to a lot of fathers and receive their wisdom. Marcus intends to create a platform, potentially a podcast, that showcases that wisdom for all fathers and wanna be fathers in the world.