"Big Mama" and Dwaine Caraway Tell Girls to "Keep It a Secret" and Dress Like Ladies

As we mentioned this morning, Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway's pulling his anti-sagging campaign up a notch. Two years after Caraway's "man's law" garnered national attention, his target audience is no longer just young men who sport oversized pants, but young women who bare skin. Whether it's saggy pants or revealing minis, Caraway argues, such clothes can lead to social ills -- among them, teen pregnancy and divorce -- in much the same way the "broken windows" theory says garbage-strewn streets and boarded-up homes breed crime.

"Little girls are trying to keep up with the little boys, and we've got to send a message that the young ladies need to tighten it up, keep a secret for a little while," Caraway said this afternoon at a festive pre-holiday press conference unveiling new billboards for the campaign. After a performance by the Church of the Living God choir, Caraway displayed a mock-up of the new billboards -- which, as you can see above, read "Pull 'em up!" and "Keep it a secret," and feature the smiling face of Irma P. Hall, whom Caraway introduced as"Big Mama" for her role in Soul Food. The 75-year-old actress and former Dallas Independent School District teacher took a maternal tone and encouraged young people to dress for respect.

"I'm here today because I love you -- I want to see you reach your full potential," she told the crowd, which included DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, members of local churches and a number of students and parents. "Now, in order to fulfill your destiny, you have to wear the right uniform. You cannot go play football in a basketball uniform, and my young ladies, you have to look like young ladies. If you wear a working-girl uniform, that's what people will think you are. I don't want to see you disrespected." There was scattered applause and cheers.

"It's young people -- 18- and 19-year-old voters -- who put Barack Obama in the White House," she said. "You are powerful. So look like it."

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Megan Feldman
Contact: Megan Feldman