Reebok‘s Director of Entertainment, Damion Presson, recently sat down with Complex and detailed how Kendrick Lamar‘s deal with the shoe company came about. According to Presson, it was far from an overnight process.
“I basically chased [Kendrick] for about two years,” Damion Presson, Reebok’s Director of Entertainment Marketing, says during an interview with Complex. “It took about two years to get them to call me back. I was constantly calling, calling, and calling, and finally we met out in Vegas and had a great meeting. They were ready to do a partnership, and then we actually made it happen.”
“His music has a message, and we wanted to make sure we were taking into consideration the things that were important to him,” Presson says. “That pretty was much it, sitting down with some designers, hearing things he wanted to do, picking out materials, letting him go through the whole material swatch book. As far as the shoe goes, the Ventilator was a shoe that he loved, and it was one of the shoes we were promoting for our campaign.”
Presson went on to talk about how Kendrick’s gang related shoe is just one example of how he’s pushing the culture.
“It was more than just Reebok putting out a shoe with another artist,” he says. “These shoes are speaking to the youth in a different way, as opposed to how the other artists are putting out footwear. No knock to the other artists putting out footwear, but I think that [Kendrick] has a message behind his shoes. I think it’s a bigger message to what Kendrick is trying to do in terms of just changing the culture and having people think. You get the shoes and there’s a message. You kind of look at the shoes and you see unity on the shoes. You see red and blue, but it goes bigger than just red and blue. This is about unity of everything that’s going on with the world—that we all are one. It’s not a Black thing or a White thing or an Asian thing. It’s a humanity thing.”