Black & Ugly Clothing was founded in December 2008 by Sherifa Gayle. Sherifa wanted to start a pro-black line with a message representing her people’s past struggles, present accomplishments and their future endeavors. An Afro- centric inspired line that caters to the urban sense and beyond. Hip, cool and diverse BU is here to praise influential individuals while inspiring others while being socially and politically conscious.When people first see the name Black & Ugly, they ask, “Why not black and beautiful?” Sherifa wanted to take something that is frowned upon and turn it into something positive; it’s all irony. Where black and beautiful sounds all too cliché, Black & Ugly demands attention and fuels fire in the blood, daring people to repeat two separate hated words, both together, making them pure again. Black is definitely not ugly, but because we as a people have been hearing it for so long, we have all begun to believe it.
I often tell people I am NOT saying black IS ugly, it’s that we have allowed continued thinking that these two words are associated with each other and means nothing good. So with that said, I wanted to take it and change one mind set at a time. All my pieces have a meaning to them, it’s clothes that make a statement; not just a logo or a tagline. I’m not here for free advertisement across your chest, I want you to speak without saying a word. The name is a shock but the clothes bring calm.” “There aren’t many brands that go the ‘black pride’ route even though all urban brands cater to Black people,” Sherifa says. It’s more than a name, its about fueling negativity with an abundance of positivity. BU is not only an acronym for Black & Ugly, but it also holds a double message in telling the wearer to “Be You” and embrace your culture and history in everything you do including the clothes you wear.