Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Have you ever made a great comment and thought, "I should put that on a T-shirt"? Brad and Funmi Franklin have had those moments many a time and have since decided to do just that through their Jackson business, The Kundi Collective.
"We both have instances where we say things in our posts that a lot of people like and repeat back to us," Brad said. "People always say, 'Hey, if you put that on a T-shirt, we'll buy it.' That's kind of where the idea came from."
"The Kundi Collection" is branded as a T-shirt line for "Kings, Queens, Freedom Fighters, Artists and Creatives celebrating Royalty, Culture, and Power." Brad says that the shirts are an opportunity for the couple to write their own story, whereas others have traditionally inserted their ideas and opinions in the past.
"I think as Black people and as Jacksonians, particularly as Black Jacksonians, we have watched and let other people create narratives for us, without us taking the ownership to create the narrative for ourselves," he said.
The line is created, designed and produced at The Kundi Collective, and features black-and-white T-shirts displaying slogans inspired by hip-hop, popular culture, humor and Black pride. The simplicity of the designs allow the unique, one-of-a-kind messages to be the focal point, while encouraging wearers to be proud of their race, heritage and city.
"It's (about) taking ownership in a bold, unapologetic way. The shirts are not meek in nature. They are not asking for permission to be anything," Funmi said. "They are for those of us who are unapologetically bold about our opinion and our narrative about who we are, where we come from and where we are going."
They created one shirt featuring the slogan "JacksonAF" as Brad's response to the idea that the city needs saving. He says that it is probably the one in the line that is most near and dear to him.
"It is a proud and bold statement saying that I am a proud Jacksonian," he said. "I love my city. It is not what you think it to be. It is what we know it to be, and we are proud of it."
Another favorite is a tribute to the "Black and Proud" school that Funmi's father, Howard Spencer, operated in the 1960s and 1970s. The liberation school, opened during the heart of school integration, was created to ensure that Black children were taught the details of their heritage.
"(The shirt) 'Blk and Prd' is just my way of paying homage to that movement—the Civil Rights Movement, the "Black and Proud" movement," Funmi said. "It's very important to me and very significant."
The Franklins also hope to spark an interest in learning more about the countries of Africa through a series of shirts that feature Swahili words such as "harambee" and "uhuru" with the English definitions beneath them. A part of that line is the "Family Series," which boasts the Swahili phrases for father, mother, son, daughter, sister and brother.
"I think those shirts are important because most of us recognize that we have West African descent in us, and it is important to learn more about our heritage," Funmi said. "This is our way of offering an incentive to learn more about Nigeria, Ghana and those places where we actually come from if we do some research."
The line is constantly growing as they have and discuss new ideas daily.
The Franklins hope to expand so that individuals who have ideas for shirts are able to bring their designs to the Kundi Collective for printing.
"The Kundi Collection" has sizes ranging from S-XXL, and youth sizes can be specially ordered. The tees are available at kundicollective.com and at Queen Franklin's Closet 601 on Facebook and Instagram. They can also be purchased and ordered at 135 Bounds St. inside the Synergy Link building. Both local delivery and shipping are available.