DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) — During the month of February, we wanted to share a Black History Month story with you.
Today we wanted to shine the spotlight on two young African American students in Detroit starting their own clothing companies while still in high school.
Demetrious Yancy and Joshua Taylor are both seniors at Cass Tech High School and are both beating the odds. First staying out of trouble, out of prison, and out of the morgue.
“No matter what you go through or come from you can always persevere and make it to the next level,” said Cass Tech student Demetrious Yancy.
“It's a lot of negativity around African American community and I feel like it's good and I feel it's not a lot of people who do what we do,” said Cass Tech student Joshua Taylor.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, a black male in the United States today has greater than a 1 in 4 chance of going to prison during his lifetime, while a Hispanic male has a 1 in 6 chance. A white male has a 1 in 23 chance of serving time.
Instead of becoming a statistic these two young men will soon be graduating from one of the top high schools in Detroit with plans to go to college. Both are young entrepreneurs starting their own clothing lines while in high school.
Demetrious launched the brand Trenches and sells hoodies and t-shirts.
WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford asked, “What made you want to start your own brand?”
“What made me want to start my own brand was just my background and going through a lot of hard times,” said Yancy.
Joshua launched Rackz and sells clothing with various logos including Déjà vu.
Both hope to help their families financially after experiencing death at young ages. Demetrious lost his birth mother.
“She died when I was six and like my adopted parents it was like poverty and struggles, I would like see them trying to put food on the table,” said Yancy.
Joshua has seen death as well.
“I dedicate it to my brother cause he passed due to a heart attack from overworking after he passed, he didn't have much to show for it,” said Taylor.
They both credit family and their teachers at Cass for giving them the drive to stay off the streets and reach new heights as successful businessmen of the future including their marketing and finance teacher who opened their eyes about building wealth.
“He taught me about financial freedom investing and more things like that,” said Taylor.
“I wanted to represent that through my brand and give back to my family once I'm successful one day,” said Yancy.