It is sometimes said that the most effective way to enact change is from inside the plagued system. Raury took this to heart Sunday night when he protested Dolce & Gabbana — while walking its runway.
The musician had the 51st look in the expansive 100-look show. While walking the runway, he wore an oversized yellow sweatshirt with matching shorts and a clear bomber, all which bore the brand's insignia. It was business as usual during his initial stroll down the runway. The finale parade, in which every model walks together on the runway, was a different story, however.
It was then that Raury removed his top to reveal words were written on his body that read "PROTEST D&G," "GIVE ME FREEDOM" and "I AM NOT YOUR SCAPEGOAT." In an interview with GQ, Raury revealed his reasoning behind his decision to make such a strong statement.
Raury was already in Milan prepping for the show when he Googled the designers as a means to educate himself on the founders of the company. Upon searching, a ton of negative press came up regarding their most recent shtick in which they began selling "BOYCOTT D&G" T-shirts for $245.
"I saw a commercial featuring the boycott T-shirt, and it looked playful and lighthearted — it was a joke. It was a troll. Me, as a young man from Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the Klu Klux Klan, I really felt this mockery of boycotting. Who knows, if boycotts didn’t happen, if Rosa Parks and M.L.K. didn’t step up…who knows if I would even exist. Boycotting matters. Boycotting is real. Dolce’s entire campaign says it’s not real. I know that if I walk out there and support or endorse anything that sits next to Trump — or support someone who even makes dinner for Trump or whatever — then that means that I support Trump also. I don’t support Trump. So I’m trapped, and I have to let people know that I don’t support Trump and I don’t support those who are trying to undermine the voice of the people," he said.
Raury noted that the whirldwind of walking in his first runway show made it seem to be an innocous and generally exciting experience. He said since it was many others' first runway show too, they felt the same.
"Everyone was blinded by the opportunity. First time being in Milan…Dolce & Gabbana giving us free clothes. It’s lit. This is Dolce’s 'Millennial' campaign. But a lot of millennials didn't know that Dolce & Gabbana styles Melania Trump or had made this T-shirt mocking boycotting. But my nerdy ass looked into it," he said.
It deserves mention that this was the second season in a row to cast all millennials in their show in an apparent attempt to assert that they are with it. In Raury's opinion, this specific action was "using" the youth. He felt he was being manipulated with "alarming" instructions, including D&G staff asking him to put on the "BOYCOTT D&G" shirt and giving him a prepared statement to read. "They tried to put words in my mouth," he said. "I have a soul, I have a mind...So when that happened, I just hid in the bathroom. I didn’t want them to think they could manipulate me."
Raury said his fellow models did not fully comprehend the connotations of the message, specifically D&G's loud and proud support of Melania Trump. When Raury discussed his plans prior to the show backstage with friends, they tried to dissuade them. "I told them what I was thinking of doing, and they said I shouldn’t do it," he said. "They told me not to ruin it for myself. It’s us versus a giant corporation."
Once he finally staged his protest on the runway, he tried to make a beeline to the exit. As shown in the video above, he was met with aggression by security guards who forcefully removed him. "I kept saying, 'Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. The only person I will talk to is my manager, Che.' Che brought me my clothes — I took off all of the Dolce & Gabbana clothes I was wearing and tried to leave," he said. "They tried to stop us. They were trying to keep me in there. Why? I’m not stealing anything from you guys, you have everything you gave me. But they had, like, a bar of security in front of the door."
Shout out to Raury for making his voice heard in the most public forum possible. It's absolutely critical for youth to educate themselves and not fall prey to being used as props under the guise of a major opportunity. Stay woke, kids.