Ron Blasingame, 26, Ohio
Favorite brands that are not his own: 10 Deep & Ohio Against the World
Favorite piece he owns: Black & red Ralph Lauren flannel
Favorite piece he created: Young, Black & Gifted crewnecks & hoodies
Piece he wishes he had: A full-zip BAPE shark hoodie
Reppin’ Ohio from his mindset through the tips of his fingers, Ron Blassingame is working to put on for his city, but more importantly for his culture. As most Black millennial creatives do, Ron wears multiple hats with a day job recruiting low-income students into STEM-related disciplines, and a side-hustle designing and promoting his brand.
Spkng In Tongues. Abstract enough to make you ask what it means but so well designed that you’ll wear the tee or the crewneck regardless. “The real meaning behind Spkng is like a religious practice and the only people that understand it are those taking part in it,” Blassingame said, “So I wanted to really make a statement in the clothing, if you take part in Spkng you understand what it means.”
With designs ranging from Lauryn Hill to athletic wear to pop culture references, Spkng is reinforcement of Black cultural relevance, but with sweatshirts that read “Young, Black, & Gifted” Spkng is also a reminder that this is not for your cultural appropriation. Spkng is an extension of identity and Blassingame’s random thought process that ticks so constantly he keeps a notebook with him to sketch whenever he needs to.
“These are all my thoughts,” said Blassingame, “It would be cool to have people take part in your thought process. With these designs I want people to wear how I think. I’m so random but its cool to have people take interest in the things you create.”
Blassingame hopes that by building his brand he can make a positive impact on low-income communities through the various avenues that Spkng will lead to. His personal experiences of living in a low-income neighborhood to attending and graduating Miami University in Oxford, Ohio was a journey and affirmation that through his own self-identifying process he could create a platform to help others.
Advice you could give to freshman or sophomore in-college Ron?
I would say meet as many as people as possible. I didn’t understand the power of networking until I graduated. There were so many connections I could have made but I was shy. I would network my butt off knowing someone can be the difference between $1000 and $10,000 dollars.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m conflicted. One end of me I want to do urban outreach and recruitment working at a university and introducing them to the whole process. On the other, I really want to open my own boutique and have somewhat of a sales space and have my charity or philanthropy out of that same space.
What does being Unapologetically Black mean to you?
I would honestly say not feeling sorry for making people uncomfortable because of my color throughout my whole college career I would be uncomfortable because I’m thinking I’m making someone who’s not black uncomfortable because I’m black I had to adjust my whole thought process or actions because of my color. Really I started to learn I can’t control who I am and I know my intentions are always pure why feel sorry for someone having the ability to not feel uncomfortable because of my skin color.
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