Urban America has long been the innovator of trends, driving them to mainstream acceptance. These trends typically start from the bottom and move up (grassroots-style), and as time goes on, they gain momentum until eventually landing on someone's "trend radar." From there, they inspire and influence the mainstream, becoming part of pop culture and society.
With Obama now headed to the White House, will the urban trend-spotting process change? Absolutely. The process will now unfold from the top down, starting with America's First Family. Mark your calendars, as urban trends will now start at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and trickle down to a suburb near you.
So what urban trends has Barack Obama introduced to mainstream media so far? I took a quick look on YouTube and laid them out for you.
The Fist Bump. The fist bump is a true urban way of saying "What's going on?" or "How you feelin?" It can even be used as a "Congrats, we just nailed that presentation" sort of thing. The fist bump has gotten a lot of press for all the wrong reasons when it was somehow tied to terrorist activity. The reality is athletes have fist-bumped for decades and boxers do it before fights. Others fist-bump, or dap, if he/she has sweaty hands and don't want to shake. I encourage you to try it. And if you still don't quite understand the fist bump, the folks at Fox News -- concerned as they were about the real issues during the election -- actually called in a so-called body-language expert to break it all down.
The result: The fist bump will slowly integrate itself as a greeting, one degree below a handshake.
Pickup Basketball. In my opinion, pickup basketball is the No. 1 urban athletic activity available today. While in the suburbs many want to hit the tennis court or golf course to burn off that extra weight or to get the heart rate up, urban America loves a good game of pickup hoops. It is what we love. Talking basketball is as powerful as talking politics in some circles, so you better know your game.
I have found two clips of this; the first is an Obama hoops mix of his best recorded moments.
The second is of the HBO Real Sports "Obama loves Basketball" segment.
The result: High-end basketball clubs, courts and gyms will open up throughout America.
Brushing Dirt Off Your Shoulders. A term and action used in urban America that signifies "Things are cool, there was a bump in the road, but it was no big deal, I brushed it off!" It became even more popular in 2003 with the release of Jay-Z's single "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." A few times on the campaign trail, Obama used it while giving a speech to refer to Sen. Clinton's negative comments.
The result: People will be brushing their shoulders off nationwide at bars and social situations.
Home Cooking. The window into an African-American's food choices, family recipes and preferences is something many suburban families have not yet experienced. This is an area that I think will really inspire some great new food trends across dinner tables nationwide. I won't speak for all multicultural Americans, but when I was growing up, my mother told me to never trust another person's tuna salad and always substitute mustard for mayo -- to make it a bit healthier and give it some flavor. I must say, great minds think alike!
The result: With a slower economy, people will be dusting off their pots and pans and eating at home, taking into account new flavors and tastes.
The bottom line is that 2009 will be the year of urban trends. Now if they can just figure out how to add some soul food to restaurant menus.
FYI: In case you want to see some more potential future trends, the Obama family's favorite brands hit USA Today last week in a cover story.
Happy trend spotting.