The Air Jordan basketball shoe is hands down the best selling sneaker in history. With about $2 billion in sales, the sneaker is more than a consumer product, it's a symbol of status and wealth especially among the hip hop generation. New Air Jordans go on sale usually twice a year, and unfortunately, there have been news stories of fights, vandalism and shootings associated with the sneaker since they came out in 1985.
Raymond Warden is a self-confessed "sneaker head." He's got an app on his cell phone that sends him Air Jordan updates. He produced this story about two weeks before the new Air Jordan Blue 11 gym shoes were scheduled to go on sale at the Dayton Mall on December 20th. Raymond is a media arts student at Ponitz Career Technology Center in Dayton. Students there must wear uniforms - khaki pants and colored shirts - so he feels that his sneakers are the only thing that allow him to express himself.
In the first part of this story, Raymond tells us why, in today's culture, if you don't have the shoes, the clothes mean nothing. In the second part, Youth Radio project manager Basim Blunt follows up with Raymond for his reaction to the shooting of teenager Jawaad Jabbar during a robbery attempt over the sneakers' release.
Funding for the Dayton Youth Radio Project comes from the Virginia Kettering Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and The Dayton Foundation.