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Review: Sneaker collectors, music aficionados and fashion historians will love this film ‘Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1’

Photo: [H/T]

Last night, we attended the advanced screening of ‘Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1’, a documentary about the evolution of sneakers, the makings of the Air Jordan 1’s, and the birth of sneaker culture as we know it today. In ninety-one minutes, the film highlights the key people instrumental in banning the shoe and the team that used the ban to their advantage. According to David Stern (Executive Vice President, NBA), the NBA did not ban the shoe. However, the original creative team at Nike remember it differently.

As someone born in 1985 or after, you may not have been alive or old enough to understand the social and cultural revolution behind these sneakers, but it explains its importance. After the ban, a simple yet iconic television commercial aired, encouraging everyone else to get the sneaker, because the NBA couldn’t stop them.

The film features oral history and interviews from many people. In my opinion, book author Elizabeth Semmelhack’s input brought it all together for me. Of course, the NBA and Nike staff were phenomenal. Next, watching and hearing Michael Jordan speak about his experience was great; to know how it all influenced Spike Lee, at the time, was incredible.

‘Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1’ will become available on TIDAL on July 20, 10 AM Eastern Standard Time. It is a Dexton Deboree film produced by Stef Fink and Dexton Deboree. Thank you to TIDAL and Sneakersnstuff for inviting us to this event. We learned a lot about the shoes we buy and wear, enjoyed the food and drinks, and reconnected with old friends.


Written by Richardine Bartee

It’s her unprejudiced love for people that’s taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs.

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