Who is God? What is God? What race is GOD? These are all questions we’ve asked ourselves before. We all tend to wonder what’s happening up there in the sky. Does God hear our prayers, does he really know what we’re doing all the time? Is there even a Heaven or Hell? As a critical thinker, and a lover of history, I’ve often struggled with the concept of “God.” To me, the concept of “God” just wasn’t logical.
For a period, I considered myself agnostic. Atheist just seemed a little too strong for my taste. The truth is, I was probably scared to declare to the world that I didn’t believe in God. For me, he was imaginary. Like Santa Clause. Something people made up to make themselves feel better. A crutch. I was angry. I couldn’t understand how GOD could let the things happen that He let happen. I couldn’t understand why some of the people who believed in Him were so incredibly hateful when God was supposed to be all about Love. There was soooo much I just didn’t understand about God.
Later on in my life, as I grew and I experienced some things; a car accident where I nearly killed myself and my best friend, job loss, self esteem issues, depression, complete and total loss of SELF…I met a pastor who changed my life. Soon after, I became a believer.
Though I don’t consider myself a hard core Christian, as there are still some things in the Bible I don’t believe, nor do I understand, I HAVE decided that I believe in God. Subsequently, I’ve also decided what my God looks like. My God is Black. Like me.
So you can imagine the immense JOY I felt when I came across Dylan Chenfeld’s brand Rooftops NYC, where their mantra is “I Met God, She’s Black.” You guessed it, I ordered a T-Shirt AND a sticker. At first, I was a little hesitant about wearing the shirt. What were people going to think? Then, like the rebel I am, I wore the shirt damn near everywhere…and I liked it.
Lucky for me, I got a chance to catch up with Dylan, and ask him a few questions about his brand. Check out the Q & A below!
KarmaJonez: Where are you from, and how old are you?
I am from New York City, born and raised. Just turned 21.
KarmaJonez:What is your religious background? Your parents’?
My parents are Jewish, I am as well, I guess, technically.
Not very religious. I haven’t been “practicing” since my bar mitzvah.
KarmaJonez:Where do you live currently?
East Village, paradise.
KarmaJonez: How was “I Met God, She’s Black” Born?
The phrase has existed since the 70’s, I can’t take credit for creating it. I had heard it somewhere and it stuck in my head, I wanted to buy a shirt that said it. Couldn’t find one online so I made one. Now I can find plenty of fake ones online, haha.
KarmaJonez: What was the initial reaction when you told people about your idea?
I told it to a few friends who thought it was cool. Its just an idea, it’s hard to visualize it on a shirt and feel connected to it. That’s a funny question though, cause I had the idea for about 6 months before I put it on a shirt and for those 6 months I kept saying how I was going to one day do it. Then I did. Now I’m talking to you.
KarmaJonez: When people got wind of what you were doing, (family & friends) did you get any backlash?
Of course not! My parents think its great. My brothers think its funny and wear/model the shirts. I was still living with my parents when I was physically walking to the post office everyday and shipping shirts. They were happy that I was doing something productive, but they also like the message. They watched it grow in front of their very eyes.
KarmaJonez: Who’s behind the marketing for your brand?
Never been clear on the word marketing. There is no real game plan. I kind of just do things when I think of them and see what happens. I dont do things when I dont think of them. Recently New York City has had some “I Met God, She’s Black” posters gracing its construction sites and sidewalks and that’s been cool. That’s what led to all this crazy press, a bunch of posters mysteriously going up right where the Huffington Post just happens to operate.
KarmaJonez: Has this brand changed your views on anything? Religion, culture, people in general?
I don’t know if it has changed my views on anything. Hopefully we’ve changed some other people’s views!
KarmaJonez: Do you ever get weird looks when rocking your product out in public?
Like once from some really old person. It wasn’t a big bummer. Normally, it’s just high five city.
KarmaJonez: Did you attend college? If so, where?
I went to NYU for a bit, but am currently spending some time in the school of life.
KarmaJonez: Did you grow up in a diverse neighborhood?
I think so. I’m from the upper west side, which was a cool place to grow up in. I know its changing now, but its always been a cool combo of nice and safe with dirty and local. You had really bad high schools and the people a terrible high school attracts on top of really prestigious prep schools, and synagogues. I was in between all of it.
Now I live in the East Village which is definitely more diverse, you have all the music cool kids and models on top of drunk college idiots, on top of housing projects and homeless people.
KarmaJonez: What motto or saying do you live your life by?
“It’s nice to be important, its more important to be nice.”
KarmaJonez: How important is it for people to question authority?
I think you want a healthy balance. I think if you question every single thing you can get pretty caught up and never get to experience being somewhat content and calm, but if you don’t question anything you can become docile, which is never good. I like to raise my hand when it matters. I hope that isn’t too vague.
KarmaJonez: Name somebody who inspires you.
KarmaJonez: Any other projects in the works? How can people find you/your products?
Rolling out a bunch of new stuff with rooftops, I would just say stay posted on our website or throw us the like on Facebook. Many new shirts on the way.
Follow Dylan on Twitter and Instagram at @rooftopsnyc and @DylanChenfeld
Check out his merchandise at rooftopsnyc.com
Tell me what you think about “I Met God, She’s Black.” I want to hear your feedback!