(Memphis) Near the corner of Airways and Park, you’ll find this message, “Show your mind, not your behind.” The slogan will stay plastered on a billboard for the next 3 months. It highlights a young man wearing pants well below his waist, showing off his rear end.
“This is a very busy corner. I thought people who were driving by the neighborhood would get a chance to see my message,” said Fred Davis who paid for the billboard.
But why did civil rights activist and longtime Memphis insurance agent Fred Davis shell out $6,000 for the billboard? He says he wanted young black men to know when they sag their pants, “it negatively impacts their future,” said Davis.
It may be a fashion trend, but Davis believes men who sag their pants portray an image of crime and poor education.
“If you want to be upwardly mobile, you can’t present that image to people who are qualified to make a decision about you,” advised Davis.
Inside his office just yards away from where the billboard stands, Davis showed News Channel 3 how he fought shoulder to shoulder with civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was thrown out of lunch counters and arrested.
“We didn’t fight for thuggish mentality, we fought to create for the generations who came behind us to move up a little higher,” expressed Davis.
For the grandfather of two college students, he hopes younger people take away another fashion tip from his billboard. The billboard also shows a young guy wearing a cap and gown with a diploma in his hand.
“It’s sending the message, ‘you can achieve,’” said Davis.
Davis says if his message reaches just a handful of people, it’s well worth the money. He says some people have stopped him on the street to thank him for putting the billboard up.