Inside Civil Wrongs- Founder Ejay McDonald
By Michelle Reed
Civil Wrongs is a line of apparel representing issues facing the black community and the origin of the RBG flag. The owner Ejay McDonald, has a brand based on black community outreach, and diverse events catering to black creativity. Speaking with her revealed her inspiration, experiences, and perspective on black/African American issues.
What experiences lead to Civil wrongs?
Before Civil Wrongs became the name of a brand/movement, it was solely personal expression. I got hip to the ills of Amerikkka in 2008 but in 2012, after the assassination of Trayvon Martin, my partner and I pooled together our funds and resources to make t-shirts [for ourselves] that said "JUSTICE FOR BLACK AMERICA." It caught like wildfire.
Were there personal issues that could have discouraged you from this business if you would let it?
There are always hills and valleys in business. So, of course, I've had times when I wanted to give up. But I live the mission of my brand every day, and though I may get discouraged, fulfilling my purpose is what keeps me going the most.
What Inspired "Be civil Battles?"
I have artist’s friends I associate with regularly. I'm a strong believer that artists shouldn't starve. On top of that, I've always been a fan of rap battles. I wanted Civil Wrongs to sponsor an event that embodies the essence of hip-hop yet adds that element of promoting hidden knowledge, self-sufficiency, and unity. We wanted to incorporate our own sauce to the scene so we added the dance element as well as one featured performer each month. Shoutout to my host Nova Gray & DJ, DJ Foqus. The event occurs every 2nd Friday of the month at 208 South Pulaski St Baltimore MD 21223.
How did you get such a diverse crowd together for Be Civil battles?
People usually refer the event or bring someone back with them. After every show, we ask new attendees for feedback and they always tell me how it's truly unlike any other event they've ever been to. The vibe is authentic and the reach is organic. And it's ALL LOVE in the building. Great networking opportunity.
What do you personally believe is an exterior issue hindering the black community?
Institutionalized racism and the system of white supremacy. We don't know who our real enemy is. Therefore we are unable to focus on any real solutions because we don't even know the problem!!
What is an interior issue?
Self-hate, which is a byproduct of the same exterior issues. Naturally, people of melanin are nurturers, loving, and extremely forgiving. But when it comes to people who look like us, those natural instincts seem to fade. We're working on it instinctively though and ultimately, we will win.
Did you expect the amount of support that you have gotten for your business thus far?
I can't say that I expected it because you can never be too sure of how the marketplace will receive you, however, we are living in pivotal times and people want to express themselves without always being verbal. That's what we're sensing a lot of. It's been wonderful and extremely humbling.
What is your favorite item sold on your website and why?
My personal favorite is our Galaxy T-shirts. It's a unique (colored speckles) yet powerful garment (design).
Name an aspect of Black/African American history that is not what’s considered "Common knowledge."
In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey united over 1 million people and had huge ships ready to set sail back to Africa before he was betrayed. Just think about how powerful he was to be able to unite 1 million people before any type of internet access.
Baba Garvey is also the creator of the Red-Black-& Green (RBG) flag which you see the symbolism of in Civil Wrongs apparel.
Red for the bloodshed from the people
Black for the people as a nation
Green for the motherland
A modern-day aspect many don't know is many of us were here before the Atlantic slave trade. We were called MOORS. Moors taught the "forefathers" everything they knew, only for the knowledge to be used against them. Why do you think slave masters didn't want slaves to know how to read and write?
Be Civil Battles Presented By Civil Wrongs