Yesterday, two of Sen. Eric Adams's proposed six "Stop the Sag" billboards went up in Brooklyn, urging youths to stop looking like fools with their pants on the ground. Depicting the behinds of two saggy men, the billboards display the message, "We are better than this! Stop the Sag!" Adams told the New York Times about one moment of inspiration for the campaign. “I was on a subway train, and there was this young man. His behind was showing, literally. He had underwear, but even the underwear was sagging. All the passengers were looking at each other in disgust, but nobody was saying anything.” Who else has been on that train?
Though Adams is the first politician to place such importance on the issue of loose jeans, he is far from the first public personality to consider it an issue. The Post mentions Bill Cosby's 2004 NAACP speech, in which he blasted black youth for their style choices. And during his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama told MTV news, "brothers should pull up their pants! You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on." However, earlier in the same interview he mentioned, "Any public official who's worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems."
Adams insists this campaign does focus on real problems, and believes that sagging pants are just the first step in a slippery slope to a criminal future. The former police captain said, "The first indicator that your child is having problems is the dress code. Prior to the sagging pants, it was the shoestrings out of sneakers. All this is born out of prison. We took the shoestrings and the belts from prisoners.This is probably not a perfect science, but if you start looking at how your child is dressing, it is an indicator of who his friends are and what group he’s associated with. It’s all in the clothing.”