The Hoodie as a Political Statement: From Trayvon Martin to Black Lives Matter

The hoodie, a simple and ubiquitous garment, has become a powerful symbol of political and social movements in recent years. From Trayvon Martin to Black Lives Matter, the hoodie has been used to make political statements and challenge social norms. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the hoodie as a political statement and its impact on social and political movements.

The Hoodie as a Target

The hoodie has a long history as a garment associated with criminality and deviance. In the 1970s and 1980s, hoodies were often worn by gang members and other young people involved in criminal activities. This association was reinforced by media portrayals of young Black and Latinx men as criminals and gang members.

The Hoodie as a Symbol of Solidarity

In recent years, the hoodie has been reclaimed as a symbol of solidarity and resistance. This began in 2012 with the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager who was wearing a hoodie when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Martin’s death sparked a national conversation about racial profiling and police brutality, and the hoodie became a symbol of the movement for justice for Trayvon and other victims of police violence.

The Hoodie as a Statement

Since Trayvon Martin’s death, the hoodie has been used as a political statement by activists and advocates for social justice. The hoodie has been worn by protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies and other protests against police violence and racial injustice. The hoodie has also been used to challenge stereotypes and stigmas associated with Blackness and youth.

The Hoodie as a Cultural Phenomenon

The hoodie has also become a cultural phenomenon in its own right. Hoodies are now a staple of fashion, worn by people of all ages and backgrounds. The hoodie has been embraced by hip hop culture, with rappers and artists often wearing hoodies as part of their signature style. The hoodie has also been used in fashion as a way to subvert traditional gender roles, with women wearing oversized hoodies as dresses or pairing them with high heels and other traditionally feminine accessories.


The hoodie has come a long way from its association with criminality and deviance to its current status as a symbol of political resistance and cultural significance. From Trayvon Martin to Black Lives Matter, the hoodie has played an important role in shaping social and political movements. As we continue to grapple with issues of racism and police violence, the hoodie will undoubtedly remain an important symbol of solidarity and resistance.

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