CLIFFVIEW PILOT EXCLUSIVE: As it neared its first-month anniversary, Occupy Wall Street was missing a recognizable symbol of solidarity. Enter Chris Henze, a 46-year-old director from Cliffside Park, who mixed the hues of the American flag and got the color New Glory Purple.
Christopher Henze downplays this weekend’s contribution to the movement. He wants all of the emphasis on “the importance of OWS and the spirit that inspired the color.”
“I filmed the protest a few times and realized when I looked at the footage that it was hard to read signs in long shots,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT on Sunday. “The movement needed a color.”
Combining the three shades symbolizes the commitment of members of the group and their supporters to not be divided, Henze said. Not anti-American, but ULTRA-American.
After getting organizers’ permission to address OWS’s more than 1,000-member General Assembly, Henze showed up Friday with 50 yards of purple fabric and quickly gathered a group of people who helped cut it into strips.
“The spirit of unity proposes that we adopt a color,” he told the crowd. “To adopt a color also allows those who can’t be at one of the occupations to show their solidarity and protest. Wearing the color will show the doubters that there are more of us that they imagined and that this movement needs to be taken seriously.”
Over the next few hours, nearly 1,000 strips were distributed, including to Russell Simmons and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s. Some in the crowd tied the sashes around their waists. Others used them as headbands.
“I think the color is important,” Henze told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “When members of the general public who support the [cause] wear purple, they’ll be seen. Politicians will realize sooner that they have to take this seriously. Maybe they’ll ease up on the pressure and there will be less chance of people getting hurt.
“I think that it will be a wake-up call for the 1% when they see people wearing New Glory Purple surrounding them…. My mom can wear purple when she’s buying groceries.”
Mrs. Henze’s son was only 15 when he began editing film commercially for a New York company. He also played in several rock bands and went on to produce jingles for, among others, Chips Ahoy, Tide, and Coca-Cola. He later became a sound engineer for singers Roger Daltrey, Robert Lamb of the band Chicago and the late Phoebe Snow.
Eventually, Henze formed Hatch Communication, producing commercials for Andrea Bocelli, handling photography for a documentary by Jeff “Fahrenheit 9/11″ Gibbs and mixing a documentary about the Manic Street Preachers.
Using his marketing savvy, Henze insists that New Glory Purple “not be manufactured into plastic, rubber, metal, etc.” Simple, torn fabric or ribbons “can be creatively used in many individual ways,” he said.
Besides its long association with royalty and nobility – because of the cost of creating it – purple is also the color of the crown chakra, the symbol of purity and spirituality. It’s also the chakra considered to have the highest energy. Curiously, a purple state in the U.S. is one equally balanced between Republicans and Democrats.
Speaking of which: Not only is Henze’s mother wearing it. So is his mother-in-law, a well-to-do Republican.
“My friend was refused coverage from Medicaid and can’t afford the operation,” she said. “Now she’s in real trouble. It’s ridiculous and something has to be done!”
For techies: The color was created by combining in equal parts the RGB wiki-listed values of Old Glory Red 178, 35, 52 with Old Glory Blue 60, 59, 110 which makes 119, 47, 81, and then adding 33% white to complete the last third. This results are in a purple color with the RGB value of 159, 109, 132. CMYK 38.78% 63.09% 32.23% 3.53% HEX: 9F6D84 Pantone 5135. SEE: