Fashion not the best way to honor dead loved ones

In the black community it’s customary to immortalize our fallen brethren on cotton T-shirts with scanned portraits or airbrushed pictures.

The purpose of these T-shirts is to keep a loved one’s memory alive postmortem.

But this form of remembrance is completely trifling. This type of shallow tribute doesn’t reach the magnitude of the person.

I suggest letting your love and appreciation for the dead come through in your actions.

I don’t know exactly when this T-shirt tradition started, but it’s most evident when a celebrity dies.

When R&B songstress Aaliyah died, those in the music industry who knew her, or even those who didn’t, began to don her image on T-shirts in their videos.

What happens when the T-shirt fades or rips or gets bleach on it? Do you throw it out?

But how do you throw away or give away a picture of a dead loved one? Do you keep wearing it, feeling that it’s not a fashion statement but more of a wearable eulogy?

I know a little about bereavement. I coped with my grandmother’s passing by decorating my body with a tattoo of a rose and my angelic grandmother’s name, Rosie. The permanence of the tattoo was one of the reasons I chose to remember her in such a way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing tattoos as a way to handle such a loss; it was just right for me.

I suggest letting your love and appreciation for the dead come through in your actions.

Consider the actions of Randy Johnson, the Arizona Diamondback pitcher who points to the sky after every strikeout, in remembrance of his deceased father.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to give praise. Ladies could wear a flower in their hair on the deceased’s birthday. Men could wear the deceased’s old high-school football jersey. Or you could request their favorite song on the radio. You can do whatever you want as long as it’s from the heart.

Keeping with this idea, I would like to dedicate this article to my grandfather, John “Daddy Bud” Calhoun.

Marcus Calhoun is a senior public relations student from Birmingham, Ala. Contact him at