PACSUN Feature | All Things Aesthetics, Culture and Society
by Christine Kim·
The Los Angeles-based U.S. Navy Veteran, musician, and fashion-forward blogger Francis Kenneth offers a closer look at culture and society.
UPRISERS: How did your partnership with UPRISERS and founder Michelle K. Hanabusa start?
Francis Kenneth: We were introduced through mutual friend who was helping her with branding a few years ago. I formally met her I think at her first pop up, which was at Downtown. And from there, I help whenever she needed me. I want to be as supportive as possible.
How important is it for you to use your platform to energize conversations about culture and social issues?
Absolutely. So that's what I like to think, I build not just my brand, but me exposing myself to all different cultures. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a part of L.A. that was very diverse at a time where the Internet didn't really exist yet. You really had to learn through experience. And then obviously as time went on and just as exploring the different avenues that I have with my career choices, that exposed me to even more people and even more cultures. So for me, everything I do is for the culture, so to speak. It's to really learn to embrace and hopefully pass along what I've learned to my followers or my friends in the best way possible. Like, it's not just about: Oh, I did this and so here's the piece of content to show you. But, what are the deeper meanings behind all of this and how can we incorporate that into our own lives and really just be better people?
What parts of your background and past experiences shape you to be so open-minded with culture?
Forcing myself to really be uncomfortable: just get out of the box, get out of my bubble. Because that seems to be the biggest issue with people and with their differences is that they just don't know any better or they are ignorant, even if they don't mean to be. I also tried the military, which was very different from, I guess, a lot of the people that I surround myself with now not only because they don't have that experience, but because the military is comprised of people that think very differently from me. It was great because I get to see what their views are and how they are combined in having those conversations where we can compromise and figure out a way that works for everyone. And that's the beauty of this country and a huge reason why I served.
What moved you to serve in the Navy?
Yeah, part of it was tradition with my family. My dad was an Air Force pilot. My grandpa was, I just found out recently, some sort of army intelligence officer or something. He had to live this double life as an agent.
And then I think I needed some guidance and direction early on in my life. I mean, I was already in college at Cal State Fullerton. But I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I mean, obviously, a lot of factors that came into it, but for sure, being open to exploring new experiences and finding new cultures in the military– a population that is important to this country is also full of different backgrounds. It made a really good experience for me and helps me understand people.
What made you decide to be part of I Am Voter campaign?
I Am A Voter I think was particularly important because we saw so much division in the last four years. It's funny because when I was in the military, I saw through Bush's presidency and Obama's presidency and there's quite a difference, obviously, despite the division in the political parties. I feel like the transition from one party there was so much smoother than this transition we're going through now. It really opened my eyes to the people that felt like they were not being heard. And so, you know, as much as we want to point fingers and blame other people for whatever issues they have, I think it's our responsibility to make sure that everyone is heard and we can find a compromise because, you know, things aren't going to get better if we just turn a blind eye to people that don't agree with us.
What do you look forward to the most with PacSun collaboration?
What I look forward to the most is the fact that we're bringing it, being able to bring something sort of taboo in this space to life. Right. I mean, I think only recently, especially over the summer, where people are really hopping on the bandwagon of activism. And so PacSun having the platform they have, it'll be dope to see how UPRISERS can can bring something different to the table, to bring a real conversation that I don't think that they're really having on their own. You know what I mean? Like, maybe they had a black square when everyone else was posting it. And maybe now they have diverse models, whatever the case may be. Like to actually have a brand on board, like UPRISERS to be like: hey, this is what we're actually about. And to be a representative– that is going to be so sick. And like I said, I'll go to the ends of the Earth to to fight in these sort of causes.