NC artist inspired by Tupac Shakur poem in design of Canes' BHM jerseys that sell out fast

Travon Miles Image
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Canes' Black Excellence jerseys designed by NC artist
The special edition jersey was designed by North Carolina-born artist Mike Jones.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When you see the Carolina Hurricanes Black History Month 'Black Excellence' Jerseys, there are three things to know about them.

They were designed by North Carolina-born artist Mike Jones. Jones tells ABC11 Travon Miles he was quick to jump on the opportunity when the NHL said money from the merch would be going towards charity.

"They reached out to me a couple of months ago behind the hype of the first design I did (with Charlotte FC). Once they told me I was going to charity I was like, oh, I'm all for it."

The other thing to know is Jones says he drew inspiration from "The Rose That Grew From Concrete," a poem by Tupac Shakur.

"I was listening to Tupac at the time. He's one of my favorite artists. My favorite song is 'Do for Love". I was thinking, love...and I'm looking at the top of the rose and thought, this looks like a Hurricane."

He said this one is especially special because the Canes are based in Raleigh where he spent a good amount of his childhood.

"This one kind of hit home. This is Caniacs Country. And the fact that the NHL is like a massive league, and not a lot of people like us are in the league."

"A rose from concrete can be symbolism for not letting somebody deter you from blossoming or being successful, even if it's in an environment where it doesn't seem possible," he continued. "No matter the circumstances or adversity faced, you don't let it become who you are and you can still become something beautiful," Jones said.

The third thing to know is that the Jerseys have sold out, however, you can purchase T-shirts with the design online at the Carolina Hurricanes Pro Shop. They sold out in 32 minutes the day they were made available.

Josh Lavallee / Carolina Hurricanes

"The Canes want to use their platform as a professional sports team to build an inclusive and welcoming environment and celebrate different communities across the Carolinas. We felt it was important to partner with a local artist to help authentically create a visual symbol of excellence that tells a story of the struggles and achievements in the Black community - a group that is often underrepresented in hockey," Canes Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy Dan LaTorraca shared. "This is more than just a piece of sports apparel; we hope it represents a commitment to recognizing and celebrating Black Excellence while sending a message that diversity is valued and embraced by our organization and fans."