Businessman Rents Anti-Saggy Pants Billboard: ‘Show Your Mind, Not Your Behind’

A Memphis businessman has devised a unique way of encouraging young men to pull up their pants. He’s rented a billboard for 3 months in hopes that the billboard, located on a busy street, will encourage young men to stop showing their underwear.saggy pants billboard

“This is a very busy corner. I thought people who were driving by the neighborhood would get a chance to see my message,” said Fred Davis, who put up the anti-saggy pants ad.

Davis, who was also a civil rights activist, said he shelled out the $6,000 for the ad because he wants young boys and men to understand that sagging pants “negatively impacts their future.”

Davis believes that men who sag their pants portray a poor image and allow themselves to be stereotyped as uneducated criminals.

“If you want to be upwardly mobile, you can’t present that image to people who are qualified to make a decision about you,” said Davis.

Davis described how he fought with Dr. King and was thrown out of civil rights sit-ins so young blacks could have opportunities.

“We didn’t fight for thuggish mentality, we fought to create for the generations who came behind us to move up a little higher,” explained Davis.

Davis says that black men do have a choice to either achieve or behave as thugs, which is a choice accurately depicted on the billboard.

“It’s sending the message, ‘you can achieve,’” said Davis.

Davis says as long as his billboard impacts a few kids, then it was worth the money.


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  8. The woman need to stop making guys think it’s cute and thuggish. ..donr associate with this fashion flaw and hopefully it will be part of change. ..I really really hate it with a passion.

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  11. If Davis were ever a civil rights activist, then he knows MLK didnt sit in his ivory ****ing tower and send messages to the hood. He went in the neighborhood. He went to jail, whatever it took to produce results. Davis just isnt about that life. He took the punk, insecure route to distance himself from behavior he feels damages his accomplishment and status. This is the real reason the 6k was spent. He could have sent that 6k in a more proactive manner. Davis needs to understand along with the other critics here that Henry Louis Gates, a professor was arrested on his own porch. Why? because he was black. His white neighbors thought he was breaking in. Gates would NEVER sag his pants or use ebonics but his black skin was still suspect. Wealth and accomplishment didnt get Oprah Winfrey star treatment in Switzerland did it? Its the way black skin is perceived not clothes. The same hate that said we are ugly, unintelligent and deviant is STILL alive. Malcolm X once asked a professor what do white ppl call a black man with a PHD. Malcolm X yelled, “******!!!!! Why? your accomplishments mean something to YOU, not another. If you think accomplishment will gain respect, then you are wrong. It only stirs more hate, then jealousy. Dont believe me, ask Barack Obama and all his haters.

  12. Davis says he is a civil rights activist? Im sure MLK would neither be dumb enough or condescending enough to spend 6k on a billboard to publicly condemn and embarrass youth. MLK wasnt elitist. If he had been, he wouldnt have helped those in the Alabama bus boycotts. He had a vehicle. He could have told the poor *****es to get their act together and get cars. MLK would be appalled at the phenomena that have left many of our young men fatherless and without decent,available men to mentor them. Its interesting that Miley Cyrus can twerk like a slut and be forgiven as a phase she is going through. Our daughters would be labeled as incorrigible whores. White male teens widen their ear lobes with gauges, paint their nails black, spike hair, wear skinny jeans, wear black, neck tattoos, tattoo sleeves and there are NO, NO, NO billboards blasting them. After all, its a phase for whites, right? Its our kids that are the MENACES to society. If he is the businessman and former civil rights activist he wants ME to believe he is, then he would have put that 6k to better use: Buy some damn ties, dress shoes, slacks, etc to SHOW/MENTOR young men how to wear proper business attire. Have a forum to let young ppl express how they FEEL and why they do what they do. MLK would be interested in peace not attacks. He valued the humanity of all ppl, esp his own. The youth, in particular, have historically been the black races’ saving grace. Its CORE, SNCC, Ruby Bridges, Little Rock 9(?) that were young but courageous enough to make sacrifices to advance us along freedom’s trail. Please treat our children as humans. We shouldnt have to plead for it. I understand businessmen forget their humanity and civil rights activist forget what grassroots movements are. In the words of Marvin Gaye,”talk to me, so you can see whats going on”. Listen to young ppl and HELP them succeed.

  13. I will be elated when the stinky drawers movement is over.

  14. Maybe a billboard focussing on women in miniskirts and thongs lowcut dresses where a woman’s cleavage and nipples are showing. If you are offended with saggy pants are you just as offended with some women fashion and what message they send with their wardrobes. I guess he would call it sexy because it’s socially acceptable. Enough focussing on the black male last time I checked black women are still having babies outside while being single. If you compared the long-term effects of gangs and single mothers they kind of go hand in hand in the sense that most gang members come from single mothers households. Until that issue is addressed no amount of billboards will make any difference. I personally think it’s insulting and it plays out the stereotype that somehow if only black men would just act civilized then everything in America would be just fine. This attitude of superiority is entrenched in the white mind and it seems that somehow it has made its way into black culture. Just what is freedom if you are ridiculed for self expression . Not everyone wants to be a business person or fit in to society and that’s a good thing. That is the true meaning of freedom the ability to be and act how you truly feel. America has a concept of freedom but you aren’t totally free if you have to present a facade just to get along .

  15. When Those Wanna Be Thugs & Gangsters Stay Stuck On That Street Mentality, It’s No Wonder Why The System Or The Powers That Be Continue To Shut Down Schools & Build Privatly Funded Corporated Prisons, The Kind Of Prisons Where They Charge You Rent To Stay In Prison Once They Find You A Job In Prison, I’am Glad I Had A Mother & Father That Whipped Me Out Of Prison & I’am Grateful For That.That’s Where The Sagging Pants Come From, Prison!!!

  16. brothers and sisters,

    to begin with i agree 100% with the billboard.

    in fact, i know of someone who lost a high-paying job after hiring one of these young, teenage, black males and having him sign an agreement that he would have to have his pants up above his waist while working with youth. the youth was unemployed and now was making over twelve dollars an hour.

    the youth complained that he had to pull his pants up (even though the crack of his bottom was exposed to these elementary students and felt nothing was wrong. after signing the agreement he complained and made himself to be the victim even though he was supposed to be the example for the impressionable, young (and sometimes rudderless) students.

    the reasoning of the person who hired him was we have to be the example for the students while we are here. on your own time you wear your clothes how you want. this is no different than any professional job you get in general society.

    well he couldn’t wrap his head around this same concept and got the person of color who hired him fired. he now works around children with the crack of his ass exposed with a boss of a lighter,different ethnicity. so i have to agree, on level with the brother (cecil)who says you can lead them but they have want to do it. but there is an exception to the rule.

    that exception is if it is your own children. this could be a topic for a separate blog. african-americans are quick to give up on our children.

    i had a discussion with some friends/family members of different ethnicities (there is only one race, the human one. give up divisive european definitions of themselves and us.) and it now makes complete sense why we, as an ethnic group, are lagging behind people who are just coming into this country and/or have been in this country for generations/centuries. it is because we are quick to give up on our children.

    i sat there and listened to people of european and native/european/african descent talk about how they would go through hades and highwater to save their children. regardless of what they did they try to save them.

    i then sat there, shaking my head while i heard people of afrian descent like some of the comments i have seen above, and on other blogs, where we blame teenagers, who were children when this began and even children themselves, who haven’t gotten to adolescence yet saying it is their own fault.

    we seem to think that we have done enough by just bearing the child and, in some instances giving them all the tangibles, in life, they crave for. but this is not why our children are failing. it is because we haven’t given them the structure they crave due to wanting to be their friends instead of their leader. we are letting the children run our households due to our indifference and a lot of our own feeling of our own lost childhoods.

    let me explain. for our poor (and some middle class), the people that i work directly and a daily basis with, they have left a lot of the responsibility of teaching their children the social norms of wider society (saying “please, thank you, excuse me”) to their teachers/administrators/counselors and, if they’re REALLY lucky, afterschool program staff. (the reason i say really lucky is because the most dangerous time for our elementary/middle/high school youth is from the hours of 3:00-6:00 p.m.. children enrolled in afterschool programs have their chances of getting in trouble reduced over 80% because they are still at school while the non-conformers are on the streets getting involved in criminal activity.)

    this is done due to the fact that they want their children to do better than the condition that they are in at the moment, but they have no idea how to do it. that is because when they were young they were the same way usually with parents the same way. this is the definition of a vicious cycle. so they, or the school itself, reach out to give them a fighting chance. but sometimes this isn’t enough, because there is one missing ingredient. that ingredient is you as a parent.

    as a parent you have to be the disciplinarian, the leader, the adult, the party spoiler and let your children know that they have limits to whatever they want to say and do. the secret is establishing this at an early age. the earlier you establish it, the easier it is to enforce it (as they get older because they will know that you mean business). by letting them know what you will and will not accept, standing firm on your word and being consistent in the follow-through shows you mean business.


    we have to give our children something that can’t be bought our traded or even bargained for. we have to give our children our UNDIVIDED ATTENTION!!! if they want to tell you how their day, LISTEN. if they don’t, ASK. if they still don’t, start getting to know their teachers (you really should know them anyway!!!). if you have time (and a lot of us have that due to the sky high rates of unemployment in communities of color) go down and volunteer your time to your child’s school. it could be a great networking opportunity that might springboard into a job with your school district or a parent who knows of a job opening. plus you would be amazed how many teachers are overwhelmed and have no help whatsoever, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. even if your child might be embarrassed, deep down they are proud you are at least doing something. plus, if they have behavior problems they are like to drop to a minimum if they know you will see their behaviors and actions first hand. whatever you were going to do, if it isn’t making an hourly income, should take a backseat to your child’s education and well being.

    if you don’t have a good relationship with your child right now being involved in their lives on a direct basis is usually the main problem. they will try to debate things with you like meeting their friends, having their numbers and addresses, knowing their parents on a first name basis,along with all the stuff i mentioned with school will prove to your children that you really do care about their future. because what i see and hear now, makes me think that we are acting like animals that rear our children with basics, then send them out to reared by someone we have minimal contact with (let alone know) and then blame the child for not getting all they were supposed to. even in the wild, the parents show them, firsthand what to do and what not to do. THEN, they send them on their way. be the EXAMPLE for your children, through your attentiveness to their activities/friendships/academics and you will reap benefits much farther reaching than you could ever imagine.

  17. People kill me trying to change the world. These things are systematic and its a mentality embeded in the the heads of people. They just doing them and think nothing is wrong!!! Who cares!

    • “who cares”? Take your sagging butt into a job interview that doesn’t pay minimum wage, and see who cares.

    • Since you are saying ” They are trying to do them ”
      Do you know what a paradigm is ?
      Do you know even know what a paradigm shift is?
      While you and many others are busy sagging,smoking weed and listening to trashy sell-out bama like rap music.
      A major decision has been made to get rid you,us and anybody that can’t function.
      This hobo looking style is part of conditioning process getting you and ready for the physical lock down in one of these updated planttions. So wake up now !!

  18. Ha and I own a belt, and suspenders cause my mom, is like the song by Stevie Wonder Ain’t Gonna stand for it, and ain’t nobody else gonna see my Fruit Of The Loom not even in a room…and this is chest not checkers and I’m not Dr.Suess

  19. It amazes me how ignorant some people can be over a simple but yet great billboard. Get smart people you sound just as ignorant as the person sagging. “Ain’t no cracker holding you back” you are just ignorant, lazy,and scared of risk

  20. Fred L. Davis, how many jobs did employ? How many scholarships did u offer? Did u help any communities this year? Did u give back? If so the billboard should list what u accomplished, and not about someone’s past hanging off their behind! Remember they’re people 1st, I’m sure ur no where near perfect, just look in the mirror, I’m sure u will find a few reservations!

    • @Butch, you should have done some research on Fred Davis before you shot off your mouth. He’s done all the things you’ve mentioned and a lot more. Fred Davis has several successful Insurance Companies going back over 40 years, and they’re all in the “hood” and he hires all Black people and most are from the hood. He’s done more for his community than probably any other single Black or white individual in Memphis.

  21. The problem is there is no perceived value in getting formal education. This means there is no HOPE Lack of it breeds desperation and apathy. This is part of a systematic approach to devalue the lives of our young black men. The pants down is an open invitation to challenge the manhood. It is an exponent of prison culture. It is not a fashion statement. It saddens me greatly that this is the form of protest we have been reduced to exhibit. Consequently, it appears we are losing the war to maintain our dignity and viability. Our youth need to be trained to own and operate their own business and nit rely on corporate generosity. They have brilliant, creative minds. This is why and how the corporations disfruit our ideas and sell them internationally and domestically without distinction to the true genius behind it. Stand up black man! Pull your pants up and handle your business. Don’t believe the negative legacy forced down your throat. Stand up; pull up your pants and be the man you are. Be the man everyone wishes they could be! Look around and see for yourself that what I say is true! They stole Rock and Roll and now they are well underway to stealing R&B while we stand aroibd pants down, hyperventilating and sta bing the air with one finger of one hand and picking oyr nose with the other! Stand Up; Pull your pants up and let’s roll! Be the king in you! You were born to rule!

  22. I am glad that he got out there and did something in his heart. Taking that first step to go against a culture is courageous. However, they have to see more in the future to want to listen and to care about changing. What appeals to them is not what appeals to the older generation. There seems to be this illusion that there is a vibrant future for all if we JUST go to college, the end. Well… it increases your chances of “fitting in” and getting a job, (status quo) but not adding much to the society or your life.

    Something within has to take place in our communnity. We have been wounded and you cannot put a injured horse in the race. What if we listed all the jobs and careers that we think these kids want to be when they get out of school, and none of it appeals to them, then what?

    Work from the inside out, little by little by little. Praise them and ourselves for the little victories and make ones’ Spiritual/Intuitive IQ as important as gettting a “job” that could go overseas or get phased out… Better have more than that to get through this life. Attend to the wounds of our experience first, rebuild ourselves from the insdide out. We are at our weakest when all we see is what White society has created for us to see. Our experiences create us for a specific future not copying the “master.”

    Black kids want something else that has not even been thought of by white people, we need to encourage creativity without limits; to create something out of nothing! Faith is the substance of things hoped for the eveidence of things NOT SEEN!

    “Faith will work it you work it! (Jakes)

  23. There need to be a movement to implement a relevant curriculum in schools, and a realistic action plan that challeges, changes and develop self acceptance. An expression of clothing is connected to one self concept. Hope and confidence has been sucked out of many. one must believe or accept who they are based on truth. The reality is some of our youth has accepted a distorted self image, yet it’s beyond an expression. What is the solution? There is a lot criminals in shirts and ties that do more damage to our youth then the media. Look at the conditions of some of our schools, and communities.

  24. I agree with the billboard 110%, no one wants to see your funky dirty underwear, you don’t look cute and you darn sure don’t look intelligent, therefore you just look unkempt and dirty! And, any young women that dates you looking that way is as dumb as you are.


    • You are one of those stupid ass, low intellect *****es, that blame White people for all the misfortunes in your sorry life. If you think that this country is so terrible for you, then why don’t you move to the motherland? The reason why you won’t is because you wouldn’t have no one to blame for your underachieving, unproductive life. The White man didn’t make you, or these sagging ass thugs stupid, you all did it to yourselves. Where do you think these young thugs are going to get a job? I’m Black, and I certainly wouldn’t hire one of them. In fact, it one of them would come to my business dressed that way, I’d sick my damn dog on their filthy ass. It’s no good motha ****as like you, that are responsible for breeding filth like this. Why don’t you take some of these filthy animals home with you, or get them a job where you work. Oh, I forgot you can’t possibly have a job, because you hate white people, and this country so much. Tell me, exactly what has your stupid racist rants achieved you? Is your life any better than it was thirty years ago, when you said the same stupid stuff?

  26. I agree with the billboard but it wont do anything. *****s will be *****s