Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing "Tax the rich" dress at Met gala

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock (Licensed)

AOC wears ‘Tax the Rich’ dress to high-end Met Gala, sparking debate

'AOC’s dress is fantastic. Stop overthinking this sh*t.'


Kahron Spearman

Internet Culture

Published Sep 14, 2021   Updated Sep 14, 2021, 9:07 am CDT

On Monday evening, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sparked class warfare (dialogue) while wearing a pointed message to Americans at the 2021 Met Gala:

“Tax the Rich.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s dress was splayed with the phrase and was both commended and criticized for pushing an egalitarian message at a high-class celebrity fundraising event where tickets run upwards of $35,000. 

Per CNN, the dress was from “Brooklyn-based designer brand Brother Vellies.” Its founder and creative director Aurora James accompanied AOC to the event.

“Fashion at its best is a tool to express ourselves, share our cultural identities, and challenge ideas and norms,” wrote James. “As a Black woman, who also happens to be a fashion designer, activist (@15percentpledge) and small business owner—working with @aoc to create this dress and this message at this particular moment in time was incredibly important. With access comes great opportunity. We can never get too comfortable in our seats at the table once they’ve been given.”

“We must always continue to push ourselves, push our colleagues, push the culture and push this Country forward. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Fashion is changing, America is changing.”

In her tweet, Ocacio-Cortez noted that New York officials are often invited to the Met Gala in their role as stewards of the city. It’s unlikely, then, she paid money for tickets.

Even though the dress was supposed to speak for itself, the discourse around it nonetheless exploded. The wide range of opinions on the dress was staggering.

Some believed people were “overthinking” the ‘Tax the Rich” dress.

A lot of men, particularly, took the opportunity for gratuitous potshots.

Writer Frederick Joseph wrote a sobering tweet on the the matter: “It’s truly maddening to watch people on the left and right attack AOC for being at the Met Gala. She is doing what she can to help change a very broken world and system. Let her enjoy her life. The purity nonsense from people who oftentimes are doing nothing is insufferable.”

While some doubt the sincerity of her message, there’s no doubting it’s being talked about this morning.

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*First Published: Sep 14, 2021, 8:59 am CDT