by Dana Crum
This feature on OutKast was published in The Source in 1998.
Dre, one half of OutKast, strolls through the crowd with his loping gait, wearing cut-off camouflage shorts, black soccer leggings and worn-down white Converse. He sports a football jersey too, but his is nondescript and netted and black. Under it is a white T-shirt. From beneath a tan safari hat he gazes out at the scene around him, his long braids dangling down his neck, the end of each capped with gleaming silver beads.
No one else at the Organized Noize-Bad Boy-sponsored picnic is dressed like him. Does the crowd reject him? Is he an outcast amongst his fellow African-Americans? No. They give him love. Every few seconds another brother reaches out to shake his hand. Every few seconds another smiling sister approaches, holding a camera, asking if he'll take a picture with her.
Not everyone who encounters Dre is so open-minded, though. The next day, at the Smokin' Grooves concert, flocks of fans greet him with homage, but one cat glares at him as though personally offended by his choice of clothes. Dre seems to notice. But he doesn't register a reaction.