‘Jack Johnson Collection’ Coming From Sean John

As an entrepreneur, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is a known fighter, but the

mogul is applying that ethos to the "Jack Johnson Collection," a new

line of clothing under his Sean John umbrella.

The collection is named after Jack Johnson, the first African-American boxing

heavyweight champion. Johnson’s remarkable and highly controversial career was

captured in the award winning documentary "Unforgivable Blackness" by

world renowned filmmaker Ken Burns.

Combs said Johnson’s name will not be prominent on the line, but it will conjure

the former champion in other clandestine ways.

"I don’t want some kind of retro stuff, like clothes from 1906," Combs

told the New York Times. "I want contemporary. If somebody’s wearing one

of my track suits, I want it to say ‘champion’ from two blocks away."

Born in 1878, Johnson became the first African- American heavyweight champion,

after a crushing defeat of champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia on December

26, 1908. The Galveston, Texas native continues to inspire almost 130 years after

he was born.

Mos Def’s rock/rap band Black Jack Johnson was named in the boxer’s honor and on Mos’

album The New Danger, the rapper sings of Johnson’s plight on "Blue

Black Jack."

"Jack Johnson had all the skills — he was handsome, he was charismatic and

he was a fantastic fighter and he still got no love, and I think it’s the same

with hip-hop," Mos Def told Interview magazine in 2002. "Folks sell

millions of records, influence the rest of popular culture, and still continue

to be misrepresented."

Combs hopes the collection, along with new lines of business for Sean John, including

a women’s line, will boost sales. Although Sean John reportedly experienced a

net loss last year, the line still brought in wholesale revenue of almost $150

million in 2004.

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