MENTOR (WJW) — “Inspiracial Strength.” The term coined by Kenny Hughley is worn proudly on a t-shirt in an effort to spread positivity and unity. “It’s the strength of others coming together.”
His latest design, a reflection of the teamwork he hopes can be achieved in America. “This shirt, this guy is reaching down to help somebody.”
That teamwork is something Hughley sees all the time, in the gym. “We’re more focused on becoming better people, personal growth and just um, really keeping the negativity out and helping each other improve.”
Hughley had his first shirt made in 2017.
“So much was going on, you had the NFL and the kneeling issue, other racial problems, the political debates.”
Sadly, he says, nothing has changed. “If you thought 2017 was overwhelming, 2020 was just overboard.”
Ken had to take a break from the negativity on social media, he says, but over the past four years, he has worked hard to keep his message alive with the help of Ray Minger, owner of the Max Screen Printing in Painesville.
“There’s a lot of power in just a plain old T-shirt you put on,” said Minger.
With about eight different designs, Hughley hopes his shirts can help people express themselves when can’t quite find the words, but also open up lines of conversation.
“This shirt seems to bring people together. Strangers that I normally see in here but I don’t talk to, they were coming up to me and saying hey man, what’s with that shirt, what’s it mean, what’s it about?”
Minger has also had people start conversations with him while wearing the message. “When you put on the shirt, you’re putting on a statement of who you are or what you believe in.”
That statement is being worn at Titans Gym in Mentor after owner Geoff DelGrosso bought more than 100 shirts to give away to members in November.
“I saw his shirts and I thought it was a great idea to kind of spread his message because it was a great message for unity.”
DelGrosso says the fitness world has always been something that brings people together. “We’re all the same, we all have the same goals.”
Hughley agrees. “There’s people of all races, shades beliefs, and all that stuff, and none of that stuff matters. It’s really everybody helping everybody out if they need.”