It was all a dream…until Sherifa made ‘Black N Ugly’ a reality.
Sherifa Gayle breathes life into the African diasporic community as the visionary behind the brand, Black N Ugly Clothing (BU).
Gayle, a certified Harlem girl, draws inspiration for her creations from her environment which helped cultivate her eye for design and her love of fashion. The audacity of individuality and cutting-edge energy that is Harlem style pulsates through each of the wares she produces.
It’s not by coincidence that the two disciplines Sherifa studied -she majored in Communications and minored in Psychology at The City College of New York- are the very areas of expertise needed to give her brand a name that is as prolific as it is controversial. Her love of hip-hop- particularly The Notorious B.I.G. -led the company to the label it proudly represents today. The name is derived from one of Brooklyn’s beloved fallen son’s most notable songs, “One More Chance.”
Heartthrob — never
Black and ugly as ever
The attention-grabbing name has made folks stand at attention & question the choice of such a daring title, but for Sherifa, the answer is clear.
“Black N Ugly demands attention, it fuels the blood and dares [you] to repeat those two hated words together. I want to take something and make it pure again.”
The spirit of the brand is in sync with who Sherifa is and what she wants to put forth into this world, blending fashion with purpose. She educates the consumer by paying homage to Black forefathers and mothers like Malcolm X, Basquiat, and Nina Simone. The brand also uses cultural phrases in its range of fly ‘fits to connect the wearer to the community in which the design house finds its roots.
Black N Ugly has gained popularity after being spotted on “The Read” podcast host and viral star Kid Fury as well as hip-hop icon The Lady Of Rage. Sherifa is currently flexing her creative muscle as she continues her standing collaboration with fellow Harlem native Brian Taylor, famously known as the “Dogfather of Harlem” creating a range of designs ideal for the equally fly four-legged friend.
She also designs merchandise for other businesses- from restaurants and fellow clothing lines to non-profit organizations- to enable them to foster their own unique identity.
She continues to devote her time to such institutions as Democracy Prep, Achievement First, and a host of others where she aspires to awaken creativity in generations to follow so that they may foster a legacy of their making. Her work with students includes facilitating school workshops where they learn to fashion their own original t-shirts, designing uniforms and merchandise, and creating an assortment of swag items. She teaches self-esteem classes targeted to inspire and empower young black girls to strive to be their best selves, whatever that may look like.
Sherifa is a multitalented savant, able to stretch her talents across disciplines, generations, and history.
She is unequivocally her ancestors' wildest dreams.