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.
1986 the construction of the logo, magic markers -white out copy machine -Exacto knife ..no computer or Photoshop pic.twitter.com/67SV6vFK2H
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) August 3, 2014
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.