Chris “COSeezy” Strachan is the founder of Kick’N It For A Cause, utilizes sneakers as a vehicle to break down social barriers and bring people together. Their mission is designed to connect people through the love of sneakers and pop culture with the goal of igniting important conversations that address and impacts social issues. Through their digital media platform and their community events, donors get to experience the impact of their generous donations. The platform produces a variety of different events and visual content for people to see all around the world.
One of the annual events that they are involved in is called Kick’N It For a Cause: Cease Fire. After a successful inaugural sneaker drive to raise 30,000 sneakers for the people of the Republic of Congo and Rwanda, Chris “COSeezy” Strachan and Emmanuel Ntibonera, founders of Kick It for a Cause which is a nonprofit operating through a fiscal sponsorship with Players Philanthropy Fund. Its mission is to make sure kids around the world have a pair of shoes. Kids that live in numerous struggling countries do not have access to proper footwear, which leads to injury and infection. The Ntibonera Foundation, which mission is to spread the love of Christ, while providing relief to women and children, young and old, who have been traumatized by war in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to those suffering in Africa.
Respectively, they are back at it again leading a campaign to raise 100,000 pairs of sneakers and $100,000. Over the years Chris has been able to build a network of supporters that donate to the Kick‘N It For a Cause’, which includes three-time NBA Champion Steph Curry, Ayesha Curry, TNT’s Rosalyn “Ros” Gold-Onwude, Kyle Hines to name a few. Last year they partnered with Liberty University and raised over 30,000 sneakers for the Republic of Congo and Rwanda in 2017. To fight a deadly disease that is spreading through contaminated soil, and this year their goal is to have 100,000 sneakers donated, with 10 percent being donated to underprivileged communities in the US.
This past week I had the opportunity to speak with Strachan to discuss how his journey started and of course discussed sneakers. The full interview can be seen below.
Can you talk about when you first were intrigued by sneakers?
Sneakers was a way of bonding with my father because my parents separated when I was five years old. So, my dad would come to pick me up to spend time with me over the weekend, and the first stop was the sneaker store. This became a routine of ours, and he would allow me to get whatever pair of shoes I wanted, whether it was the new Jordan’s, Griffey’s, Grant Hill’s, or whatever was being released at the time he would buy. This is how my dad and I bonded from that time forward, and sneaker stores have that hip-hop feel to it. It also symbolized the culture that I would later grow up into, and embrace.
First ever kicks that someone bought you?
The first pair of kicks that I ever received was the Infrared Jordan 6’s. I still have pictures of me with my short shorts on with the interred Jordan 6’s with a children place shirt. I had no idea of what it meant at the time, but I do know that my gear was fly and everyone on the block was showing me, love.
What is your favorite pair of kicks and why?
I am a huge fan of the Red October Yeezy’s, and I’m a red fan. My logo is red; I love the color, and those are the first pair of sneakers that was decked out in my favorite color. The shoes have different textures with the gold tips on the laces it just has a dope design.
You had the opportunity to do a lot of philanthropy work throughout your career. What inspired you to use kicks to put a smile on peoples faces worldwide?
I love to put smiles on peoples faces it is something that I wake up and try to go out of my way every single day, to bring joy to the world. I like to use the things that I am most passionate about to impact the youth by building their self-esteem positively. I am not a fan of negativity. It is something that I do not stand for, and I will not allow it near me.
So, I just wanted to take everything that I love such as music, fashion, and sneakers and bring them all together to make the world a better place. I figure the best way to do that is through sneakers and it is my connection to the world. It has allowed me the opportunity to make business relationships and long-lasting friendships. Talking sneakers with others is an icebreaker, and it is the first thing I notice when I meet new people or familiar individuals. I’m not someone that like to follow other individuals, and I want to be the person that God has been molding me to be my whole life, and I think that comes through sneakers.
You have your annual event ‘Kick‘N It for A Cause’ in full effect with OVO and Good Music taking shots back and forth. Would you like to see Kanye and Drake send some shoes over to The Republic of Congo?
Man! I would love to link up with both Drake and Kanye to explain what we are doing with Kick’N It for A Cause’ because if the two of them were on board, they could steer the conversation. Just being able to sit down with the two of them would help get the word out, and we can supply shoes to everyone in The Republic of Congo. I also think it is my mission to get the word out. But, to answer your question yes, I would love to see them send shoes. My goal is to send one million shoes over to The Republic of Congo.
How do you think fashion has changed Pop culture?
Great question! I think there is fashion within pop culture especially within hip-hop culture and I think Kanye is at the forefront of it. We all have specific items such as hats, jeans, shirts, and shoes because of him. I think it has brought the community together while giving us a sense of unity. That is what ‘Kick’N It for A Cause’ is all about. I love that I have found a way to tie my life mission into pop culture.
You and Steph Curry are close have you discussed possibly deigning one of his signature shoes in the future?
Steph is like a brother to me I have known them and their family for years. I would love to able to design one of his signature shoes one day. Right now, I am still trying to work hard to be a part of Under Armor, Nike, and Adidas because I feel I have a unique insight on the pulse of the sneaker culture, from what people tell me. I would love to be a part of the next trend. Therefore, we decided to partner with Complex to create a program called ‘Sneaker Essentials’ which is an online career discovery program to show people all the jobs that are associated with the sneaker industry. Giving people that need the jobs the most the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the industry. Also showing them another alternative to rapping, or being a ballplayer, so that they can make it out of their circumstances.
What can the public expect this year from you and Kick’N It?
We will be giving 150 kids the chance to get hands-on learning experience of how shoes are being made through our boot camp. That will start on July 22nd in New York, and they will also get the opportunity to learn the marketing side of the business. In August, I will be heading over to The Republic of Congo to deliver all the shoes that were donated.
How do you want to use your platform to inspire the next generation to come?
I want to be able to help create change and teach children that it is cool to be positive. I want them to know that they are capable of doing anything that they put their minds too. Anything that you are passionate about is something that you can turn into a career, and I can show you how.
You have the opportunity to be around the Finals atmosphere in the Bay. Can you describe the energy in the building is that the Warriors are in the Final for the fourth year in a row?
Being able to talk basketball is something the I enjoy talking about, people are aware that I know Steph and all the Warriors, but I’m a real basketball fan. When I start talking about Steph people, automatically say that I am biased, but to see him make some of the shots he takes on a nightly basis is just ridiculous. Not only do you get to watch Steph do his thing, but you can see Kevin Durant and Klay give you buckets as well. Also, you get to watch Draymond making plays and playing great defense. The energy when everything is clicking is like nothing else I have ever seen. When that third-quarter run comes, it’s a rush that is indescribable, and you can feel Oakland, and Oracle Arena.