Richy O’Gorman and Taurayne McKen, an Irish-Jamaican couple living in South London, have made a t-shirt that is the perfect antidote to the “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish,” signs seen in boarding houses and bars around London decades ago.
“More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish,” the t-shirts read.
O’Gorman is from Thurles, Co. Tipperary, and McKen is from South London and of Jamaican descent. And yes, they are also proud dog owners.
In an interview with London-Irish publication the Irish Post, O’Gorman said that he’d initially made a t-shirt with that message a few years ago, but only this year did he decide to really go with the idea.
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In addition to harkening back to the “No Irish Need Apply” and “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” signs of the past, the t-shirts also serve to send a positive, anti-racism message at a time when the UK has been beset by anti-immigrant sentiments and and the #BlackLivesMatter movement is growing stronger and more prominent.
“Taking that negative and turning it into a positive, in this current climate it’s important,” O’Gorman told the Irish Post.
According to the Post, the couple is also keen to “raise awareness of the problems caused by gentrification [their neighborhood of Brixton] and the impact this is having on both black and Irish communities, acknowledging the close bond forged between the two due to years of shared discrimination in the past.”
Two months ago, O’Gorman was walking around Brixton wearing the t-shirt when he was spotted by DJ Swiss, former member of MOBO award winning garage group So Solid Crew, who asked to take a photo with him and posted it to his own Instagram account.
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Since then, O’Gorman has been inundated with orders. “I’ve sold shirts to Kerry, Cork, back home in Tipp, Belfast, Germany, Belgium and even as far Boston USA,” he said.
The couple is working on setting up a website to sell the popular t-shirt and, eventually, more apparel with anti-racism messages.
In the meantime, you can get in touch on their Instagram, EyerishAndJamaican.