Arnette Eyewear’s Public Enemy Collection Sunglasses

Public Enemy Arnette Sunglasses

What I didn’t realize while it was happening in the 1980s and 90s, and even up until this year, was how successfully Public Enemy branded themselves in an era when “branding” wasn’t a buzzword or something that everyone was trying to build, bereft of skill as they may be.

Even today, if you blast Public Enemy in your office at what is considered more than a reasonable volume, it will likely be received as a “statement” of some kind, just like when you hear a commercial for the latest U2 album and know there must be a new Apple product out.

The Public Enemy logo, a silhouette of a b-boy in the crosshairs of a gun sight, stood on its own merit independent of the group and became a defiant fashion statement against oppression (perceived or real), e.g. Edward Furlong as antagonist John Connor in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” who wears a PE shirt for the entirety of the movie.

Iconic still today, sunglass company Arnette Eyewear launched a limited edition Public Enemy Collection as a part of both its “Uncommon Projects” initiative and the 25th Anniversary of the song, “Fight the Power.”

“I like to wear sunglasses, but I don’t like to wear sunglasses at performances,” the group’s Chuck D said to Rolling Stone. “We decided to do this because we were tired of not having things for people. We’re not going to go do some lucrative vodka shit, where it’s the rapper goes big and has his own vodka. I can’t do that. I’m not part of that one. But I hope these do well.”

Built on the classic look of Arnette’s Witch Doctor frame, the glasses come with interchangeable black and white arms that feature the logo on one side and the classic “Public Enemy” name on the other.

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Friday Video – Public Enemy, “Night of the Living Baseheads”

We’ll be the first to admit that the Friday Video column is, well, really, really white. We attempt to rectify this oversight this week by showcasing one of hip hop’s finest bands at the height of their powers: Public Enemy. Yes, Flavor Flav has become a reality TV parody of his former self – which is kind of impressive, when you consider that he was pretty much a parody of himself in the first place – but Chuck D is no fool; he knows that a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down, and Flav was the perfect foil for Chuck’s take-no-prisoners manifestos. In the case of “Night of the Living Baseheads,” he addresses the crack problem, which had become a full-blown epidemic by the late ’80s. And for you Beastie Boys fans out there who aren’t familiar with this track, the new Beasties’ song “Too Many Rappers” makes a nice tribute to this song, where they borrow the “sellin’, smellin’, sniffin,’ riffin'” cadence. Nice to know we’re not the only ones who remember this stuff fondly.

For those who want to hear the uninterrupted track, here it be. And you say goddamn, this is a dope jam.