The song “Pants On The Ground” became an instant Internet sensation in 2010 when contestant Larry Platt sang it on American Idol. Not only did it express a sentiment shared by many in the show’s audience, it resonated because it was sung by a black man.
“Sagging,” as the pants-below-the-behind style is generally known, is a classic bit of in-your-face fashion found mostly among young, black males — though white wanna-bes frequently copy it. No one claims the fashion is comfortable or, for that matter, particularly attractive, but that has never been the point.
Traced back to the prison system where inmates are not allowed belts, it is symbolic of a rejection of mainstream values and an expression of the freedom to dress as you want, regardless of the social stigma associated with it. Because most adults, black and white, find the sagging practice both absurd and insulting gives it even more credence among those who follow it.
Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, has filed a bill for the 2012 legislative session that prohibits wearing pants that hang “more than three inches below the hips . . . (and that) causes the display of the undergarments.” The penalty would be a fine and court costs.