The Return of Outkast: Why Did Andre 3000 Wear The Jumpsuits?
In 2014, when Outkast reunited to commemorate the duo’s 20th anniversary, they embarked on a festival tour, with their first port of call being the Friday-night headline slot during the first weekend of Coachella. The performance came under scrutiny for, missing the classic Outkast grit and spirit that they had become so well known for, with Andre 3000 feeling he was no longer capable of performing like he used to. Following the show, Andre 3000 spoke with Prince in an intimate conversation over the phone, as prince told him: “When you come back, people want to be wowed. I’ve been there. But you’re a grown man. You’re either going to do it or you’re not.” And what came next from the Atlanta-based rapper was nothing short of iconic.
Andre 3000, a student of fashion, took Prince’s comments on board and returned in immaculate jumpsuits that would get about as much attention as the music. Every show for the rest of the tour, 3000 would come out on stage with a message written in bold white letters across the jumpsuits, with each suit displaying a different message on them in a short, Twitter-esque way. Andre 3000 explained: “I felt like it was cool that I could say crazy thoughts or fun stuff. And I think it actually gets more attention because it is what it is instead of tweeting it. And Twitter, from what I know if, you only have a certain amount of characters, like 150. My space was just right here. Everything had to go here. So I had to squash and edit words.”
As Andre 3000 continued with the jumpsuits, he acknowledged that the costumes could be used as a vehicle for conveying incredibly important messages that could act in a progressive manner, aiding socio-cultural concerns. The most widely shared jumpsuit image online, a concern that is still to this day ever so relevant, is the suit Andre wore for Lollapalooza, which read, “Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?”.
However, it was the performance at LouFest in Missouri, September 2014, that saw outkast return to their glory days of using their platform and music to mobilize movements for progressive change. Shortly after the first wave of…