Re: troop and KKK; an urban legend I actually remember

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 25 Aug 2003 - 16:51:53 GMT

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    >From: "Scott Chase" <>
    >Subject: troop and KKK; an urban legend I actually remember
    >Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2003 23:41:25 -0400
    >I was talking about different clothing styles of the past with some friends
    >tonite and a memory sprang up about a rumor I'd heard from some black pals
    >ca. 1987 about a clothing line called Troop that was popular amongst black
    >youth in the mid to late 80's. I remember seeing Troop clothes and how cool
    >they looked. I almost, hip hopp lover that I was, bought some myself.
    >Well my friends (ca. 1987) had said they heard that the KKK was behind
    >Troop. Popular rapper L.L. Cool J. had some popular association with these
    >clothes as IIRC he often wore them (along with his trademark Kangol hat). I
    >wondered if this rumor may have been a slight against the reputation of
    >L.L. Cool J. perpetrated by some up and coming hip hopper(s) jealous of his
    >phenomenal popularity or some such. Maybe somebody had it in for the
    >clothing line.
    >This story of the KKK (a definite antiblack hate group) having a connection
    >to a clothing line that catered to a clientele which was predominately
    >black just may have been nothing but an urban legend. It would be
    >interesting to look more deeply into this rumor. I found this URL which
    >presents the story as nothing but an urban legend:
    >I don't recall the part about LL Cool J being on Oprah, but the insinuation
    >that he was a patsy for the Klan.
    >Could it easily be verified that LL had actually been on Oprah's show and
    >ripped a Troop jacket off in disgust?
    >This could show how rumors can spread quickly through a population and have
    >an impact upon the popular perception of a commercial product.
    >Remember the old Pop Rocks and Soda rumor? They addressed that one on the
    >recent 70's nostalgia series on VH1 (I Love the 70's?). I think the rumor
    >was that Mikey from the cereal commercials had succumbed to this
    >combination. All I remember was having those tiny little pieces of
    >exploding candy go off in the back of my throat.
    As an addendum, I found an article referenced on a database called InfoTrac which gives some more recent information about the Troop clothing line. This article says that Troop was popularized by L.L. Cool J. in the 80's and mentioned the unsourced rumor that damaged the reputation of the clothing line (see my discussion and URL reference above). A Chapter 11 bankruptcy was declared for the company in 1989.

    A company called Street Thread is bringing Troop back as "retro-urban apparel". I wonder if the vicious rumor connecting Troop to the Klan will also resurface.


    Thomas Cunningham. Troop's Being Relaunched; Women's Private-Label Firm Brings Back Urban Name from the 80's. Daily News Record (July 7, 2003)

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