Eco-fashion innovators, The Hemp Trading Company (THTC) have teamed up with illustrious activist-artist Mau Mau to create 500 organic t-shirts in support of the Justice for Smiley Culture campaign; a movement against deaths in police custody which has arisen since the suspicious death of British reggae singer, Smiley Culture, on March 15th during a police raid on his home.
The t-shirts have been printed with water based inks with a discharge print which is kinder to the environment than traditional screen printing methods. The design features an image of Smiley Culture with the phrase ‘Police Officer Gimme an Answer’ – a reference to Smiley’s 1984 hit single ‘Police Officer’.
Reportedly, one person a week has died in police custody throughout the last decade. Since Smiley Culture’s death, his family and the wider community have mobilised in order to protest and try to bring about a change in the British judicial system. The t-shirts were first available to buy at the protest march on April 16th and quickly became the fastest selling THTC retail t-shirt of all time. Campaign organiser and nephew to Smiley Culture, Merlin Emmanuel has said of the t-shirts,
“The reason why we chose to utilise THTC is because of their history of raising awareness of injustice and inequality all around the world. Also the fact that the materials they use are organic and produced under fair trade conditions.”
THTC founder, Gavin Lawson also had a personal motivation for wanting to support the campaign. Read his account of his experience of police custody here.
An awareness concert is also in planning stages, with the likes of Damian Marley, Nas, Sade and David Bowie rumoured to be performing.
Support the campaign and buy your THTC Smiley Culture t-shirt here