With the evolution of hip-hop and urban culture over the past 30 years, there have been so many arguments about the origin of sagging pants. Of course, most people have probably heard that “the word “‘saggin’ spelled backward spells niggas” and all types of other things. But most people think of rap music when they see sagging pants. Many people believe the trend is the result of people glorifying rap culture and fashion trends often seen in music videos.
Not A Trend That Started In The 80s
Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the sagging trend was introduced by rappers like Ice-T and Too Short. Then, Kris Kross took things to a whole new level. Although the trend started in prison systems and correctional institutions around the country, soon, black youth on the outside began adopting the fashion trend. However, it’s much deeper than something you see on television in this day and age.
Of course, you’ve probably heard a number of different theories, including the one about sagging pants in prison. If you haven’t heard about the prison theory, there are claims that incarcerated men who wear their pants below their waist do so to let other inmates know they’re okay with homosexual encounters.
According to Odyssey Online, “a prisoner would claim another inmate by having him wear his pants down low for easy access and to show that the inmate belonged to him as his property, although some disagree with that theory.” But there’s a really dark truth about the origin of sagging and it goes all the way back to the days of slavery. Back then, there was a practice known as “breaking the buck” and it’s probably the most horrible thing you’ll hear today.
‘Breaking the Buck’:
If you haven’t heard of the process of “breaking the buck,” you’ll never look at a man wearing sagging pants the same. According to diaryofanegress.com, the process was a heinous act used during times of slavery to break down defiant male slaves. During this brutal process, the slave owners and Overseer would make an example of the slave in front of the entire slave congregation by beating him relentlessly. But unfortunately, that’s not the worst of the punishment. Then, they would cut down a tree and force the battered male slave over the tree stump with his britches removed so he’d be exposed for the entire slave congregation to see.
The slave master would then make an example out of the slave and promise others the act would be their fate for defiant behavior. The slave owner would then remove his own clothing and savagely sodomize the slave in front of his family – wife and children – and his friends. But sadly things didn’t stop there. Slave masters were also known to invite their associates from other plantations to participate.
Then the owner would make the slave wear his pants below his bottom letting others know that he was broken.
It is also noted that the defiant slave’s male children were required to be front and center while the horrific acts were taking place in an effort to break them down mentally at an early age as they witnessed their father’s humiliation. Sadly, the process was successful. In fact, the disturbing process evolved into a “Sex Farm” practice where slaves were put on display for the twisted sexual desires of homosexual slave owners.
According to Atlanta Black Star, the “breaking the buck” process evolved into what was known as “sex farms.” With disturbing sex farms, slave owners would put enslaved Blacks on display for their friends to see. Slaves were forced to have orgies while being watched by white men who’d come from other plantations. In many cases, the white men would often participate in the sexual acts. So for the guys who wear their pants below their waist to make a fashion statement, it would probably be wise to think about what it really means because it’s more than just a look. It’s a reflection of a harrowing past and a warped mentality.
Sagging Pants Laws
Fast forward to today, and folks wearing sagging pants is still a hot topic. Many have just brushed it off to fashion, or just the result of those who see others doing it, and have not clue what it means. Everyone from Lil Wayne to Jaden Smith have worn their pants this way, and like most young men would say…it doesn’t stop them from getting money.
Yet, lawmakers aren’t trying to hear it. Many sagging pants laws are making a comeback. For example, in South Carolina, there is a proposed bill that would make it illegal to wear your pants below your hips. South Carolina lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill to ban saggy pants throughout the state.
According to WLTX, House Bill 4957 would make it illegal for a person to expose their skin or underwear by wearing their pants “three inches below the crest of his ileum” —the top of the hips.
Violation fines equal just enough to buy that much needed belt: $25 for a first offense; $50 or three hours of community service for a second offense; and $75 or six hours of community service for a third or subsequent offense. Violations wouldn’t be considered criminal or delinquent, or put state college or university financial assistance at risk.
A representative, Joe Jefferson, in a county in South Carolina’s just had enough.
“It’s unbecoming, it’s unprofessional. Now there’s some misunderstanding. I understand that some people are assuming that if one is caught, then they won’t be allowed to go to college, grants, loans, all these other opportunities will be taken away. That’s not the case at all. This is just to prevent these fellas and giving them at least an obligation to realize that they’re walking around and they’re convincing others to follow them. That’s not what it’s all about.”
But is this really necessary? Shouldn’t the time of a representative be spent making life better for the folks that he’s serving?
ThomasPaine: There should be a law against old male legislators letting their jowls sag.
Dannyboy97: I look forward to seeing how long this law survives its first encounter with a white plumber.
Jesse Luginbuhl Think about this…What If lawmakers made it a fine + community service if you were wearing a suit or other professional attire?
Jim Wiest: I don’t have to like this silly assed style, but this is still the USA. That being said, don’t like it, don’t look at it. This country has far more important problems and issues than stupid clothing styles.
Erika Rozier: Sagging has gone to an extreme. Your pants should not be below your butt cheeks. You didn’t buy them to fit that way. They are not sewn that way. Its not appealing to the eye either.