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Professor Jemayne King featured in ESPN documentary

Documentary crew interviewing King.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 14, 2019 – Professor Jemayne King, who teaches Sole Food: Digestible Sneaker Culture at Johnson C. Smith University, knows all too well the value sneakers have on trends. King’s class is the only one of its kind taught on a collegiate campus in the world. His niche has gained him global media coverage, most recently with ESPN’s docuseries, SneakerCenter.

“People call me Sole Food by name,” King said. 

Bobbito Garcia, the world’s most renowned sneaker historian, personally asked King to appear in the docuseries.

“When he contacted me with the invitation, I was floored,” King said. “Having his respect means more to me than I am able to eloquently convey.” 

Sneaker culture has become so popular, brands like Adidas, Puma and Nike have turned to influencers, singers and rappers to drive sales and stay current. Students in King’s course learn everything from the economic value of sneaker culture, the history of shoes, to the impact shoes have on hip-hop culture. 

In the docuseries, King lectures students about the impact of the black dollar in America and its relation to sneaker culture.

“The African American consumer is the taste maker, the early adapter that validates products,” he emphasized to students. 

Teaching a one-of-a-kind lecture has been gratifying for King, but it’s even more enjoyable because his course is taught at an HBCU.

“History proves that the HBCUs have always been at the forefront of innovation. This still is true,” King said. “Johnson C. Smith University is the innovation kitchen that fosters 21st century pedagogy, while other institutions—riddled with constrictive traditions—are stuck in the 19th century.”

King’s ability to connect with students is something he’s also proud of.

“I’ve been told countless instances that Sole Food is a course students wished was offered at their respective universities,” he said.

King has been able to maintain those same connections outside the classroom with students. He hopes his lecture and mentorship helps students realize their full potential.

“I hope my students are inspired to think outside of the staunch traditions of the academy,” he said.

You can watch King on episode two of SneakerCenter streaming on ESPN+.

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