Why Do Black People Sag Their Pants? 

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Do you know what the one thing we live by the most in this century? It is the trend. If a celebrity or a fashion figure portrays a catchy outfit/look, the common public like us soon grabs it before it is too late. 

There have been so many trending subjects the youths today follow. However, all trends soon die away with time. 

The one style that is still moving among the generation is the sagging pants. You will still see this fashion storming up the various neighborhoods to this day. 

We have noticed that it was the African Americans who recreated this trend. So, why do they do it? How did it originate?  

How It Began

Many theories are floating around the tabs. None of them have been verified clearly. Honestly, I am curious about how sagging by the African Americans ensued too.

Was It American Slavery?

Many claim that it was during black slavery when the sagging originated. I am not particularly sure in this regard. However, this is how the story goes. 

The whole world is well aware of how intense and heart-breaking it was for the slaves in that era. Now the term I find most relatable is – you either follow the rules or face the consequences.

There was thought to be a practice to break a defiant black slave into submission. As dark and gory as it sounds, the master would publicly humiliate and abuse the slave to ‘tame.’ 

The rest of the slaves would be forced to watch the dehumanizing of the bold one. At one point, the belt from his pant would be taken away to mark him as one who ‘gave in.’

Therefore, his pants would sag for everyone to see. Now, I do not know how much of this is facts. But if it were true, we might have to view the sagging style by the blacks without mockery.  

Was It The Prisoners? 

Another tale that flies around the internet is that this fashion was originated in prisons. However, it is a sensitive topic which, once again, demeans the black community. 

The shortcut version entails the lack of belts in the prison cells that caused the pants to sag for many prisoners. Pretty much the majority of the sources deny this fact, calling it a lie and rumor. 

I will simply leave it at that.  

Why Black People Sag Their Pants

Wearing pants that sag has been in style for as long as one can remember. So, why do African Americans do it? 

It Is Unique 

To me, it is a fashion that has never been conceived by any other nation, race, or society. Though many conceived the style during the raging trend back in the 90s, it is still a fire among the youngsters. 

Sure, there are skinny jeans, leggings, and other various trendy looks people consistently follow. African Americans wore saggy pants, simply depict a unique swagger.

And, in my opinion, not everyone can successfully appear cool and hip at the same time.    

Not Everyone Can Pull It Off 

If you are white and decide to follow the style, do you think you can make it happen? Obviously, the appearance will be somewhat different despite being a perfectionist. 

The loose pants, full or quarter, are worn closely below the waist, often revealing the underpants. Now how cool you look will depend on the underpants’ color and the length of sagging. 

This is merely a conception caught from the general people about how they perceive fashion. 

Sensible Reasons 

I have many African American friends who I have found quite fascinating. You may have also noticed that most of them have large backs. 

Sometimes, they have to compensate the pant with a size bigger than the actual waist to fit properly. Hence, the pants tend to sag slightly on the top, but the exceptional backside corresponds to the fitting. 

Some prefer wearing belts while others do not. It is entirely up to the person. But most black men try to leave some space for the waist, crotch, and thighs to breathe. 

Another plausible reason that often circulates the internet is the hand downs. According to sources, many African Americans with low income find it difficult to buy clothes for every child in the family. 

So, the hand-me-down process goes on in these homes, leaving the younger child to deal with larger pants. For example, older brothers will unquestionably have a broader physique that lacks in the younger ones. 

He will have to resort to the only solution to fit those trousers/jeans. In short, he gets to sag the pants, all the while serving a trend!   

As for the homeless people, they could not care less about fashion so long the pants fit.  

How Saggy Pants Influenced Others

Pants that sag is not something you can ignore, at least not in this lifetime. See how the style has spread all across the world.

It Is Not About the Blacks Anymore

Even though the title speaks about African Americans only, the saggy pants have reached internationally. 

I admit that many countries do not view this appearance favorably. Yet, the young people from various races and nationalities pulled off the look successfully. 

Initially, the hip-hop musicians and skaters back in the day were a huge influence on the people. It was a style during those times that spoke independence and boldness. 

In a way, blacks wearing saggy pants became a symbolizing point for all the youths in the world. It was a challenge to some cultures to walk in the streets wearing pants that sagged and not be teased. 

Female Followers

While the style is mainly a male fashion, it caught up with the young females too. In the 2000s, the women would freely sag their tight jeans with partially visible underpants. 

Some women go to the length of showing off their G-string while wearing the low-rise jeans. Of course, the trend soon died down once the high-rise jeans-style returned. 

My point is that the saggy pants worn by the black men were so popular in the 3rd millennium that even the women fell for it.      


This is a street fashion that went on for years. While the young generation followed it persistently, how did the rest of the people feel? 

Music Industry 

The whole thing reemerged with full force during the 2000s. Everywhere you turn, you would encounter people with saggy pants – black, white, or Asian. The racial division did not work here. 

So, the adults had to deal with a lot of coming across young boys/men with underpants visible on their backs. It was thanks to the many music videos by hip-hop artists. 

The generation was merely following a trend that went viral due to these artists. However, even the musicians who bravely stood before the audience with saggy pants had to face ridicule. 

As the kids continue to wear the pants below the waist, adults grew impatient with this rebellious act. On the other hand, the black community had nothing to go against since it symbolizes freedom on a technicality.   

Over time, the sagging was dangerously below the waist, the shape of the buttocks was noticeable. This was the point where the adults from the various community found the style an ill feat to the society.   


The fashion was such a hit that eventually, the political figures had to step in. Most politely voiced against the adherents. Some had to raise their fingers to pass laws regarding the situation. 

Finally, the schools, airlines, and transit agencies had regulations to avoid wearing sagging pants. Of course, there was no banning of the practice. Yet, it can be a violation to dress codes in many schools.    

Some of the regions did ensure the prohibition of sagging pants that exposes the underpants or skin. It is thought to be safer for the public in general. Unquestionably, many youths were against it, but there was nothing one can do! 

Many people were sentenced to jail or community service because they did not wear the proper attire at certain places all through the years. Some even had to pay a fine for breaking the ordinance. 

What the adults and these regulations attempted to achieve is to explain to the kids about self-respect. 

Another group often compares the sagging pants to the street gangs who follow the fashion all year round. The grownups often tell their boys to avoid this style so as not to mistake them as offenders. 


To sum it up, it can be the fashion or the practical reasons why black people sag their pants. In any case, the low-riding practice is not going away any time soon. 

It is a controversial image to some nations, while others view it as a symbol of freedom. 

Many even view the act as alarming and feel concerned. Still, in my opinion, the popular style loudly speaks one thing – ‘I reject the society that treats distinctiveness like a threat.’ 

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