As Black History Month begins, NIKE, Inc. proudly honors the accomplishments of black heritage worldwide, in sport and beyond. What began a decade ago with a special BHM-themed Nike Air Force 1 has evolved into a company-wide, global effort recognizing civic leadership and multicultural progress.
Since its inception in 1972, NIKE, Inc. has been committed to the heart and soul of sport and its societal impact. Black History Month has also evolved since its official recognition by the U.S. government in 1976. The United Kingdom followed in 1987 with its first celebration of Black History Month. Canada observed its first official Black History Month in 1995.
Since 2005, NIKE, Inc. has recognized Black History Month with distinct designs of products, including shoes, apparel and accessories, beginning with the Air Force 1. The BHM special edition paid homage to the Pan-African flag and its colors, red, black and green.
Over the last decade Nike’s BHM product has featured annual themes and storylines with colors, graphics and distinction unique to Nike. The products have been designed for six sports, including basketball, football, soccer, running, skateboarding and tennis. Nike’s BHM product has been displayed on sport’s biggest stages by some of its top athletes who show their support, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Didier Drogba, Kevin Durant, Allyson Felix, LeBron James, Ishod Wair and Serena Williams.
The collection grows each year with original stories and design features, influenced by Nike’s employees. Those who work on the BHM committee curate the creative narrative, prints and colors.
“Each year we highlight unique elements of Pan African heritage with our Black History Month collection,” said Jonathan Johnsongriffin, a Nike designer who has assisted in the BHM product design for six years. “It has been great to see the demand and awareness grow year after year and I’m proud to be a part of its evolution.”
This year, NIKE, Inc.’s 2015 BHM Collection includes 28 items in a distinct black-and-white palette with a mix of six custom Sport Kente geometric prints inspired by each sport hero. The collection ranges from performance to lifestyle products while honoring six athletes and coaches who have positively impacted sport with their courage and determination: Theotis Beasley, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jerry Rice, Brianna Rollins, C. Vivian Stringer and John Thompson.
As the product collection has evolved, Nike has implemented a charitable component that serves the community. With each BHM product sold, a portion of proceeds benefits the Ever Higher Fund, whose mission is to assist communities with knowledge, resources and tools for the next generation of leaders.
Nike’s 2014 BHM collection raised $1 million, assisting organizations that leverage sports to maximize the potential of underserved youth. The goal is to increase the charitable giveback each year.
It has been encouraging to see Black History Month gain further worldwide awareness. Nike is excited by societal progress and its BHM efforts are a gratifying example of elevating sport in a positive way.
Black History Month is more than an annual celebration through design inspiration at NIKE, Inc. The company’s Black Employee Network gathers regularly to plan company-wide initiatives throughout the year in addition to Black History Month. From charitable events like the Sneaker Ball that began in 2010, to ongoing community giveback through partnerships with Big Brothers, Big Sisters and other non-profit organizations, many employees spanning a variety of ethnicities participate in the annual initiatives.
BHM Hits the Hardwood
On Thursday, Feb. 5, several Nike and Jordan Brand athletes will honor Black History Month by wearing special BHM shoes in this year’s black-and-white motif. Beginning the first week of February and throughout the month, NIKE, Inc. honors athletes, coaches and citizens who have positively impacted sport with their courage and determination.
ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE: 2005 AIR FORCE 1 BHM RETURNS
The Nike Air Force 1 has been a symbol of evolution since it first hit the court in 1982. Years ahead of its time, the shoe’s Nike Air technology changed the game, and the AF1 silhouette has become a timeless icon.
Nike will pay tribute to the Air Force 1 as its first BHM product with the re-release of the 2005 Nike Air Force 1 BHM shoe. This anniversary edition will launch exclusively on nike.com on Feb. 6 with a limited edition of 2,000 pairs.