For decades, the Nike Air Force 1 has served as a flag for sneakerheads looking to represent both their personal style and their personal origin.
Over the years, Nike Sportswear has done a great job of honoring different cultures, cities and countries on said shoe. The 2019 Nike Air Force 1 Low “Puerto Rico” is not one of those shoes.
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This is called a “Mola” • It is a Panamanian art form. You can find it anywhere in my home country, PANAMA • Respectfully, This is not a part of Puerto Rico’s rich culture. • Though we are both Spanish speaking people, we have different traditions, art & cultural expressions. When celebrating one, please do proper research. These things should not be confused. •
As seen above, the latest Nike Air Force 1 “Puerto Rico” sports a pattern playing off Mola, a textile best known in Panamanian culture rather than that of PR.
DJ Clark Kent, a man tied to the Air Force 1 in a manner that bridges Bruce Kilgore and Nigel Sylvester with a passion that exceeds all and a Panamanian himself, set the record straight on Instagram as to why this was not a proper tribute to people of Puerto Rico and essentially a major research oversight.
While it’s easy to say we live in an era of cultural sensitivity amplified by Internet reaction — and we do — Clark’s perspective and explanation are a great example of clearing up a situation with not just class but also compassion.
Clark knows better than anyone how much the Air Force 1 means to people and how much Puerto Ricans mean to the sneaker culture. From Bobbito Garcia to Fat Joe to countless others, numerous sneakerheads of Puerto Rican descent have been amongst the best ambassadors of our culture. On top of that, “Puerto Rico” Air Force 1s have been an honest homage to a people that have long embraced the Air Force 1, often residing in the city best known for said shoe — New York. It should also be noted that like Clark, Bob and Joe are former Nike collaborators.
It’s safe to say the 2019 “Puerto Rico” Nike Air Force 1 will not release. While accidents and oversights happen, they’d definitely happen less if purveyors of the culture – young and OG alike – were involved in the creative process.
Take a look at some of the past “Puerto Rico” Air Force 1 from years prior.