Nationwide — Freddie Taylor, the CEO and Founder of Urban Intellectuals, a leading voice in the celebration and education of Black history and culture, has publicly called out retail giant JCPenney for potential copyright infringement.
Freddie posted a live video on his company’s Facebook page to express his outrage over a new JCPenney t-shirt bearing the phrase “Making My Ancestors Proud One Dream At A Time,” a clear violation of Urban Intellectuals’ registered trademark slogan, “Busy Making My Ancestors Proud.”
Freddie comments, “This isn’t just about a slogan on a t-shirt; it’s about the systemic disregard for the intellectual property of small, Black-owned businesses. We’ve fought hard to build a brand that uplifts and educates our community, and to see our work co-opted without any regard is both maddening and saddening.”
The issue extends beyond a simple copyright infringement; it represents another instance of a large corporation overshadowing a small, Black-owned business without proper recognition or compensation. While JCPenney has stated that proceeds from the shirt sales will be donated back to the community, Taylor argues that this action does not excuse the oversight of not partnering with or compensating the original creators.
“It’s great that they want to give back, but how can you take from the very community you’re looking to support? This isn’t support; it’s exploitation wrapped in a veneer of charity,” he adds.
In response to the alleged infringement, Freddie has launched a campaign urging supporters to share the live video, which can be found on their @urbanintellectuals Facebook page, and use the hashtag #WeWantOurPenny, calling for JCPenney to acknowledge their oversight and rectify the situation. The campaign aims to highlight the importance of respecting and compensating creators, especially those from marginalized communities.
Urban Intellectuals focuses on empowering the African American community by educating about historical milestones and nurturing a deep sense of pride and belonging tied to their profound cultural legacy. With the guiding principle of “Black History Made Easy,” they bring history to life through an array of offerings, including Black History Flashcards, themed apparel, and culturally significant games. This initiative is committed to enlightening and motivating, showcasing a story of outstanding achievement and enduring strength. Learn more at UrbanIntellectuals.com
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