The African American College Alliance (AACA) brand arrived when hip-hop arrived.
AACA was born the year hip-hop catapulted into its greatest era. Before ’91, hip-hop was a vibrant subculture. After ’91, hip-hop took over the world. All year, artists dropped innovative records that would become the most influential of all-time. New Jack directors and actors painted the Hollywood sign black. Entrepreneurs raised the game of the business of hip-hop. The hip-hop universe was expanding daily. Hip-hop could no longer be dismissed.
In 1991, AACA shoved its way to center stage and became the icon that reflected the time. Artists rocked AACA sweatshirts onstage, in photo shoots and in their videos. Heads searched for them at their favorite stores. Those lucky enough to snag one were asked over and over again where to find them.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) represent the same values that defined hip-hop in 1991. Independence. Tradition. Pride. A relentlessness born of necessity. Excellence. Fearlessness. The AACA brand is a visual manifestation of this tradition.
The AACA brand reflects a unity that eludes us today. East Coast, West Coast, the South—none of that mattered. AACA sweatshirts linked Snoop and Too Short with Redman and Gangstarr. Pioneers like KRS-One and Run DMC were linked with the best of the new generation. It didn’t matter where you were from because the AACA hoodies said what we needed to know about where you were at.
Today, there is talk of a new era. And perhaps it is. Politics, culture, commerce—we can’t be stopped. However, we can’t truly win, if we lose the lessons of past eras as we march into the future. We cannot lose what 1991 meant to hip-hop. We cannot allow each other to forget what hip-hop really means.
The AACA brand reminds us to stay rooted in what we have built.
Wear your AACA sweatshirt with pride.