Smoke Phi Apparel creators want justice for Black men

The weed-influenced brand launched last April on 4/20. Photo from Etsy

Smoke Phi Apparel was created by three Black men last year on the unofficial weed holiday: April 20. FAMU alum Brian Minor, who goes by Beej, shared his idea for a pot-themed apparel line with his friends Brian Sigler, who goes by BSig, and Jalen Tyler Johnson. From there the idea took off.

The apparel line is known for its signature orange logo, representing its Florida roots. Beyond a logo, they wanted an apparel line that was fashionable to wear and wasnt simply their company’s name on a t-shirt.

The apparel line gives people an opportunity to use the logos to identify with their mood for the day,” Beej said.

The creators are aware of the generalizations about their company and personal identity that come with being three Black men with dreadlocks promoting a weed-influenced brand.

Theyre also aware of how the marijuana industry and 4/20 [April 20] have been commodified by many white people and companies, despite the disparities that still exist for Black men facing weed charges.

I think its typical of America to make a billion-dollar industry out of something they frowned upon,” Johnson said. But Im glad the stereotypes can be put to rest. Were all Black men, we all have dreads, but its slowly becoming more accepted.”

According to a 2020 study by the ACLU, racial disparities in arrests persists even in states that legalized or decriminalized marijuana.

While people are able to make money and increase their wealth and increase their businesses financially when people are still in jail for it, I feel like thats unfair,” BSig said. Especially while how fast we went from it being criminalized to decriminalized and people starting these businesses but people being released from jail isnt going as fast.”

But those disparities arent stopping the three from continuing their brand. To them, fashion is about style and making a statement. They believe they cant be Smoke Phi” but ignore whats happening to men who look like them.

As their business continues to grow, they have plans to pour back into their communities and to help close the gaps of those racial disparities.

Beej recalls the skills and connections he made as an undergrad English major at FAMU.

Attending FAMU you learn to juggle a bunch of hats and a bunch of positions,” Beej said. That prepared me for entrepreneurship and adulthood beyond college.”

In honor of 4/20 this year, the brand has sales and special deals for buyers as they continue to expand their clothing and music through social media and word of mouth.

You can find the companys apparel through Etsy and connect with them through Instagram.