“Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin
With the arrival of fall comes the celebration of creativity and boldness in the fashion world. FASHION WEEK involves some of my most favorite events of the year. I absolutely love seeing what some of the hottest designers have cooked up for those of us hungry for whats next in fashion. While LA Fashion week is not seen as important as NYFW or Paris Fashion week, the glamour is still present. Because of my busy schedule I was not able to attend many of the fashion shows and events throughout the week but Saturday night I was finally able to catch a few shows.
For anyone who knows how chaotic a red carpet can be, fashion week carpets take the cake. Between the media hungry artists and undiscovered designers seeking to showcase their designs for the photographers, it was like a zoo. Of course when I walked the carpet everyone was mistaking me for Common (which I am not sure what to do with). After the seemingly endless camera flashes(which I love, I’m a narcissist) I made my way to the fashion gala.
The music, the lights, the beautiful people, the clothes…I am obsessed with it all and I don’t care who knows it.
My favorite part of Fashion week is seeing all the bold designs and color schemes on the runway and in the crowd. I am inspired to find my own personal fashion statements when I see others being true to themselves with their fashion. It is not for the faint of heart that’s for sure. Fashion favors the bold.I intend to be one of the most courageous and help others find their fashion courage as well. I am extremely inspired right now. I think I will go shopping. Wonder what outfit I will find today.
“Style is the perfection of a point of view.” -Richard Eberhart
I had an interesting experience yesterday that solidified for me the belief that people treat you differently when you look like money. I purchased my first custom design ensemble from LA designers Cosmo and Nathalia (they have a shop located on Melrose Ave and are amazing.) I felt like Kanye West as the stylist referred to me as her client and focused all her attention on me. Working with different styles and fabrics to find out what worked best for me. It was a lot of fun and I will definitely be returning. I left feeling like a superstar with a new ensemble that I couldn’t wait to wear out.
Yesterday I decided I wanted to go shopping in Beverly Hills and debut my new digs. At each store the employees would swarm me under the impression there was a nice commission in their future. I would look around to see if there were other customers and the stores were always full. Why were they focused on selling to me? After talking with some of the salespeople they would inquire about my clothing. “Where did you get your shirt? I love your sweater, can you tell me who designed it?” One salesperson kept bringing me pieces to my fitting room that I didn’t ask for and finally said “I just got excited because you look so fashionable and I wanted to dress you.” That’s when I realized it was my outfit that was getting their attention. Either they thought I had a lot of money, which i don’t yet, or they loved my fashion sense and wanted to be a part of my fashion point of view.
Later that evening I went to dinner at this bistro on Sunset Blvd and sat outside. A Star Tour Bus pulls up and stops in the street. The tour guide informs his passengers that the rapper Common was to their right, directing their attention to me. Cameras flashed and girls screeched in excitement. I just waved and let them go on their way. I have been told I look like Common a few times but never I never stopped a Star Tour Bus. I can’t help but believe that once again my ensemble set them off.
The point of me sharing this experience is this…you ARE how you dress. Just like it is said that who your friends are represents who you are viewed as. Your clothes are your closest friend. At first glance how do you recognize a Doctor ? Probably the white coat. A fireman? The fireman’s uniform. I have friends who can pinpoint a music producer by how expensive his shoes and jewelry are. Just the same, if you put time, money, and effort into your personal wardrobe the nonverbal communication between you and the rest of the world drastically changes. A well tailored suit says this man is serious about his endeavors. A custom designed ensemble says this guy takes pride in his appearance and his business. The right outfit can express that you are a man of means or a man of high taste. Tom Ford says “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” So what does your wardrobe say about you? If you don’t like what it says then change the conversation. Personally I like for my clothes to say, “Strong. Confident. Unique. This man is well on his way to greatness.” But that’s my journey. What’s yours?
“The Only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” -Viola Davis
First I want to congratulate all the winners and nominees of the 2015 Emmy Awards. It is an amazing accomplishment for any actor to be nominated for such a prestigious award.
I don’t have much of an opinion about most of tonight’s pomp and circumstance. I am simply excited awards season is here. For me, awards season in the entertainment industry serves to renew a hopeful excitement in my heart that it is NOT impossible to achieve ones dreams. During awards season I am reminded that these men and women are my peers in the craft of acting and performance. During Awards season I am inspired to work hard and give myself totally to my craft. Often times, however, during awards season I am also reminded that this Hollywood industry doesn’t have a whole lot of room for a guy like me. The reality of the scarcity of roles for black men and women in entertainment has never been a secret. There are lots of reasons given as to why but very few solutions.
In my career pursuits I often feel like I am caged in this world that says I lack value because of my race. Forced to sit in the shadows until we become useful. I am kept out and told to go away because my skin doesn’t sell as well as my white peers. “Maybe you should try working with Tyler Perry because you know you are handsome…for a black guy.” Perhaps I am a lunatic for even trying to be an actor if the opportunities are so few and far between. Truth is this is something I HAVE to do but that’s a completely different blog post. Despite all of this I remain hopeful and tonight is further proof that things are changing.
Viola Davis became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best leading actress in a drama. In the 66 year history of the Emmy’s Viola is the first. Her acceptance speech was riveting and was very reminiscent of Halle Berry’s Oscar speech. I love that she shared this win with her peers in the like Taraji P Henson, Halle Berry, Regina King, and Gabrielle Union. I believe that every time there is a win like this it is proof that the industry is beginning to see our worth. Everytime an Uzo Aduba wins an Emmy our voices become louder. The cage we have been put in for far to long is being torn down and I am more excited this award season that I have ever been. Even if I never win an Emmy or an Oscar, the fact that someone like me could be a recipient is enough to reignite the fire in me to knock down doors and be the best damn actor I can be. So I celebrate with these women tonight because their wins are my wins.
A proud black actor. A proud black man.
“Burn the boats!” -Hernan Cortez
The idea of burning the boats was a strategic military tactic used by the likes of Cortez and Alexander the Great before him. This removed the option of retreat and left their men with only the options of victory or defeat. With an escape plan out of the question these men committed themselves fully to the goal of victory. This “burn the boat” tactic produced some of the most remarkable victories in history. Against all odds, victory is sure
4 years ago today my best friend Justin and I arrived in Hollywood full of dreams and aspirations. Knowing how daunting a task tackling the entertainment industry would be and how lofty a goal our successes were, we made a resolution. We were here to stay. No matter how difficult or bleak it looks, there was no retreat. We burned our boats that day. Defeat is not an option. Over the past 4 years there have been miraculous victories and terrifying defeats but we are still here. We are still hopeful. When I look back on how excited I was when we arrived I have realized I am more excited now than I was then. This is because I can look back and clearly see how far we have come. I am proud of the strides I have made both as and actor and as a resident of Los Angeles. I have learned a lot and grown in amazing and unexpected ways. So while the goals are still lofty and to some impractical, I am closer than I was when I arrived and assured I am exactly where I belong.
This life is a journey and I am thoroughly enjoying this odyssey God has and continues to go before me and there is profound peace in that. I am excited about what the next 4 years have in store.
“The journey’s the thing.” -Homer’s The Odyssey