New York City in the early-1980s: if you didn’t live there…well, you just missed-out on a whole lot. From the puffy Afros of Harlem to the payos of the Lower East Side, Madhattan truly was a melting-pot. The very thing that made NYC great also made it smell: of falafel; of knishes; of garbage (lots of strikes back then); and of change.
Yet, to open our eyes to this “change,” it took a Jew from England. Equipped with a singular sense of style, schmaltz, brilliance, and sheer talent, Malcolm McLaren gave the world the Sex Pistols. As if that wasn’t enough, McLaren helped his partner, Vivienne Westwood, to the top of the fashion mount. A proven, successful, “Renaissance Man” if there ever was one, McLaren went from “fathering” punk music to the jump-roping scene of Harlem in 1983.
Nut-hugger shorts, white socks up to the knees, and beautiful smiles to match–these young ladies do the Double Dutch as Malcolm raps. Thirty years ago, mind you. Did Malcolm turn millions of white people on to “rap” in ’83? You betcha–especially in his native Britain. In fact, years before, McLaren “borrowed” the New York Dolls proto-punk look and attitude and the SPs were born.
Alas, Malcolm passed a few years ago; he’s free to argue with Sid Vicious now, but unable to turn the world on to new genres in music and fashion. Enjoy.