FUBU founders Daymond John, Keith Perrin and Carlton Brown sat down for an interview on the latest episode of “Drink Champs” and spoke candidly about the impact of homophobia on their brand. As the group looked back to the beginning of their journey in fashion, they remembered how uncommon it was for men to invest in the industry.

“When we were coming up and we were doing clothing, hip-hop was very homophobic,” John said on the show, as reported by Revolt. “And prior to us coming out — of course Karl Kani, Cross Colours — prior, the idea of a clothing designer was some flamboyant person in Europe. So, we were being almost harassed by some of our friends like, ‘Yo, [I] see y’all doing that clothing s**t. Yo, y’all alright?’ And so we came up by ourselves because nobody wanted to talk to us.”

Although the group was harassed for exploring an uncharted territory while growing up in New York, they eventually made it clear to their critics that they have launched a ground-breaking business.

“Imagine you out there, one of our boys is moving kilos, the DMX of Belly, and we up there talking ‘bout, ‘Yo, I’m about to go make this strawberry pattern, son. You gotta see this hoodie it’s gonna make.’ We came up realizing nobody wanted to mess with us for a while until they started to hear we were doing $350 [million] a year,” John said.


There were many more hurdles for the FUBU founders as they tried to start their business. Looking back at the challenges, John said there was a time when department stores turned them back, saying “we don’t people that look like that who steal clothes or get into shootouts.”

“They wouldn’t put us in there,” John said.

The FUBU founders also clarified the misconception people had about their business in the early days, saying their product was never made exclusively for Black people.

“For Us, By Us was more of a cultural thing… for the Hip Hop community, by the Hip Hop community,” Brown said. “It was Black-owned but never Black only.”

FUBU had one of its biggest moments in 1997 when LL Cool J appeared in a GAP commercial wearing FUBU.

“He changed the game with that one,” Perrin said.

FUBU’s creators are thrilled to see their product is still popular among young artists.

“You’ll see a lot of the young artists, they have a silent message. I know Drake supports it a lot. SZA supports it all the time. [Lil] Yachty. So, a lot of artists today are doing their LL Cool J,” John said, per Yahoo.

The iconic trailblazers have clearly changed the perception of fashion drastically since launching their business in the 1990s. They said their goal has always been to appeal to people of different ages and backgrounds.

“When it’s older, it’s people who know what it is, and they have a choice of anything and everything, and they chose that,” John said. “And the younger artists who are trying to do the subliminal. And then a lot of times, it’s the younger kids who are saying, ‘This is mine. I’m gonna reset this thing off because I’m creating an identity that you don’t know about.’ They’re very pro-conscious. We’ve always tried to appeal to those [people].”