Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo (Getty Images)
Timberland is one of the most dominant brands in its industry, it is on the same level of popularity as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas are without being a sports brand. The company is known for making sturdy, heavy boots yet everybody gets to see the Timberland logo daily. Even people in tropical heavens like Miami wear them sometimes.
Very popular in certain subcultures and an identifying symbol for many, Timberland is more than a brand or a product, but not a lot is known about the company behind the famed shoe. But even worse, what some think is the truth about it is just an unconfirmed, malign rumor.
In 1952, Nathan Swartz bought half of The Abington Shoe Company and three years later he bought the rest of the shares. Then in 1973, the company changed the name to The Timberland Company due to the popularity of their outdoors, waterproof yellow boots. The company claims to be the first that started putting the brand name on the outside of the shoe which wasn’t the trend back then. Throughout the years the company started putting out more and more types of products on the market so now you can have complete Timberland outfits on.
Timberland Logo: True Meaning
Timberland products all either have just the logo of the company, or they have the logo and the word “Timberland” on them. The Timberland logo itself is a branchy tree on a field, and since Timberland means “land that is covered with trees and shrubs”, it is only fitting to have a tree as its logo. A sturdy-looking tree that perfectly matches a shoe made for the rugged terrain.
Timberland Racism Myth
Timberland shoes became really popular in the hip hop culture with one of the best rappers of all time Notorious B.I.G. referencing them often – “Timbs for my hooligans in Brooklyn” is one of the famous lines of Hypnotize. The 2000s’ popular producer and singer Timbaland obviously decided on his name due to the shoes. So it’s safe to say that Timberlands are especially popular in the black community.
That’s why one urban legend, a myth, or a fake news story really burned some people as one of the CEOs of the company was quoted to saying he didn’t want Latinos and blacks wearing his shoes. But this was reported on a now-shutdown site that had a disclaimer about all of its stories being “completely fictional”. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the fire of misinformation.
Soon, reports that Swartz family were ranking Ku Klux Klan members also came up, with no information to back them up. The biggest stir was created when a song supposedly written by Maya Angelou, the famed African-American poet, mentioned Timberland in a very disturbing fashion.
And for footwear you wear TIMBERLANDS,
Even under the sun
That same tree that is the symbol for them
Could have been the same one your ancestors were hung from.
Which led to photoshops of the Timberland logo with black people being hung from the tree being added to it. As a handy website Snopes states – not only is the song not written by Maya Angelou, but there is not one fact stating that the Timberland tree is supposed to represent a lynching tree.
With no better word to describe how the Timberland name got smeared – it was a clusterfuck of fake news.
Of course, you never know what somebody is thinking inside their head or saying behind closed doors, but innocent until proven guilty should really be the guideline here. And the Timberland company is pretty involved in community service, so it does seem highly unlikely.
What do you think of the Timberland logo?