Featured/Interviews

The Classic BLACK Man

Hey Cuties,
Today I’m challenging you to open your eyes to something that might not be familiar. After you open your eyes, open your hearts! When I turn on the news I see headline after headline that reads like a constant attack on our black men. Just know that you can’t paint everyone with the same broad stroke.  Last week I saw an image on IG and I had to repost it; I don’t repost much but when something captures my attention I have to share. I reached out to Marquelle Turner, the gentlemen who posted the image and he was so gracious to share more with me. He and I did a Q&A below and included some of the beautiful images these stylish black men captured in that photo shoot.

  Photo Credit: Shola
All black men are not thugs

Marquelle Turner

Q: How did the New Stereotype of black men come about?
A: The first quarter of last year I was studying abroad in Europe. When I returned to the US at the end of April, I became fixated with the social, economic, and political climate of America. It was almost as if I had lost complete touch while away. I spent hours on YouTube “catching” up on the news and developed an affinity for social issues that “polluted”
America. As race relations continued to rise, I knew I wanted to do something that was not only impactful but authentic to my passions. I love fashion (more so style) and I understood early on the impact of imagery. I wanted to get a group of black men together and take a picture dressed in a way that people might not expect and in a place where many blacks may not expect to work (the Financial District). It is in this way, I wanted to see how I could create “new stereotypes” and paint “new pictures” of the black male. Not only as a whole, but also within our very own communities. I live in Harlem and I consider it a mecca for black art, music, culinary, and innovation. It’s a great place to see many “shades” of black life. All beautiful. All unique.
 
All black men are not thugs the classic man

L to R with their IG names: Aaron Robinson (@ajthegent), Russell Sampson (@russy06), Bismark Ageyi (@mr_adomako), Marquelle Turner (@MarquelleTurner), Terell Shaw (@tallrell), DeUndre Kellam (@dretothepeople), Brandon Bryant (wallstreet.paper), and Kemoi Charles (@iamkemoi8)

Q: How has the recent unexplained murders on our black men affected you and your thoughts and opinions?
A: It has brought on a world-wind of emotions. From anger and frustration, to heartbreak and sadness, it perplexes me to see this happen so often. It breaks my heart to feel as if I’m not valued and that my life and the life of someone who looks just like me is an after-thought. I’m happy that the injustices are being brought to the forefront and dissected with a careful lens. I’m not certain there is one answer, but I do know that I’m happy that the conversations are being held and action is being implemented. The fervor in which people have united to express their disapproval of it is something to congratulate. But, there is much more fight left to do.
All black men are not thugs the classic man

L to R with their IG names: Russell Sampson (@russy06), DeUndre Kellam (@dretothepeople), Brandon Bryant (wallstreet.paper) and Marquelle Turner (@MarquelleTurner)

 
Q: What do you wish people knew about black men?
A: I wish people knew that we, too, are quite diverse. I wanted to get a wide range of guys for the photoshoot. It was important to highlight the diversity, not only in skin color, but also in personal style, background, professional endeavors, goals and aspirations. DeUndre is from Georgia, Bismark lives in Toronto (and originally from Ghana), Brandon is from Ohio, Kemoi is from the Virgin Islands, and I am from North Carolina. Growing up in different geographic locations alone presents different perspectives. We originally started with 11 guys, but due to unforeseen circumstances everyone wasn’t able to make the shoot. I also want people to know that we, too, listen to and love Hip Hop music and all we aren’t thugs. We like to have a good time, but we still love God. At the end of the photoshoot before everyone left, we prayed. Not only for each other, but for ways that we can reach other people with our gifts and with this project
All black men are not thugs the classic man

L to R with their IG names: Bismark Ageyi (@mr_adomako), Kemoi Charles (@iamkemoi8), Aaron Robinson (@ajthegent) and Terell Shaw (@tallrell)

Q: Were you always so fashionable?
A: Honestly, no (laughs out loud). I think it wasn’t until I was able to explore and see more of the world that I was able to develop my personal style. I will say that style is so authentic because no one else can interpret it for you. It truly is one of the only things you have complete control over.
All black men are not thugs the classic man

L to R with their IG names: Aaron Robinson (@ajthegent) and ), Terell Shaw (@tallrell)

 
Q: What are your style inspirations?
A: I am honestly inspired by life. I am inspired by people I see every day on the streets of New York City. We are enduring the struggles of living here yet embracing them in tuxedo pants, a wisp of a fresh scent, and a lot of faith and hope. Lastly, I’m inspired by the 7 guys who “stood” beside me during this shoot and our photographer Shola. Shola believed in the vision from the beginning. He was passionate, professional, and proficient. They all felt it was important enough to wake up on a Saturday morning for a 9:30 am shoot and do it with optimism. I was so impressed with everyone and I think I need to step my game up (laughs out loud). Aaron wore an amazing salmon colored double-breasted, wide peak lapel suit. I couldn’t pull that off but his confidence and the clean lines made it so dope. Russ wore a floral print blazer and paired it with a crisp, colored chino and an orange Tumi briefcase. Again, very bold. Bismark’s outfit reminds me of the roaring 20’s. He was classically dressed and I loved his shoes and the white pant. Terell’s green suit and micro printed tie was immaculate. Green suit with wide peak lapels? Who does that? Terell does that. DeUndre mixes patterns and prints better than anyone that I know. He’s true to his style and is so shamelessly. Brandon is an investment banking analyst but doesn’t have that “plain-conservative” aura about him. He’s clean, he’s meticulous, and well-tailored. Kemoi was very timeless with a hint of trend. The red shoe and abstract print tie was a perfect compliment to the grey silhouette. I was humbled and inspired by them all.
All black men are not thugs the classic man

L to R with their IG names: Russell Sampson (@russy06), Brandon Bryant (wallstreet.paper), DeUndre Kellam (@dretothepeople), Marquelle Turner (@MarquelleTurner), Kemoi Charles (@iamkemoi8), Aaron Robinson (@ajthegent), Terell Shaw (@tallrell) and Bismark Ageyi (@mr_adomako) Aaron Robinson (@ajthegent), Bismark Ageyi (@mr_adomako), Marquelle Turner (@MarquelleTurner), Terell Shaw (@tallrell), DeUndre Kellam (@dretothepeople), , and Kemoi Charles (@iamkemoi8)

My Babe and I are also raising a little black boy that will become a black man someday. Our son sees great examples of what a man should be in his family. However I want him to see images of what a man should and could be everywhere he goes. Something as simple as this is an additional step in the right direction. Kudos to these brothers for showing a side that the media doesn’t show. Kudos to this photographer for capturing the true essence of these men. Kudos to you for opening your heart and mind to something that might be different.
Positive Black Men the classic man
How do you like to see your big or little men styled? Chat with me in the comment section below or FBIG or Twitter.
MimiCuteLips

Article written by:

MimiCuteLips® started in 2010, it’s a place to come and share life experiences. Mimi is a lifestyle blogger, a mother of two, an Operations Manager by day, the business owner of From Mi To You and a naturalista. She blogs about life as she sees it, lives it, and loves it (or not)! The purpose of this blog is to share her voice. Like many others, she lives a life that requires her to wear multiple hats. From DIY projects, parenting, business adventures, love, travel recaps and more.

Join the discussion

  1. Kita

    Now this is what I am talking about. Let me show my husband so he can step his game up. He doesn’t do the dress up but can dress down and I like to see it all. Love this and salute to our men

  2. Holly

    I love seeing men dressed up. One of my friends always looks sharp. They don’t even have to be in a suit all the time but just look much more presentable. No more butt hanging out. I don’t need to see boxers. I started singing the classic man song in my head reading this.

    • MimiCuteLips

      Holly me too, its just something about a well dressed man that does it. Girl I can’t do the butt hanging. The Classic man song is the perfect soundtrack to this post.

  3. Jasmin

    i am so excited for you’ll and the step you’ll are taking to show the world that not all black men are ganger brother Aaron is the president of the youth department of my church and my kids look up to him my question to you is will you have a photo shoot for young girls

  4. Aisha Johnson Adams

    These guys look great! I think they reflect a positive side of our culture. I have always been around pretty boys and yuppies… So this pretty normal to me…

  5. Nicole (Nicole's Lifestyle Lounge)

    Now this is t! I love to see men immaculately dressed. And with such personal style… to die for.

  6. JoAnna

    I love this! I used to work at the exchange and it is SO RARE seeing black men working down there. Hopefully this movement inspires young men that there’s more to life than the street corner and trap house. I love that he said “We like to have a good time, but we still love God” <3

  7. Chasing Joy

    I also saw that picture on IG. I enjoyed reading the interview here and seeing more pictures.

  8. LaShawn

    Can I just say that these photos are EVERYTHING! I love everything about this.

  9. Christine @MomsNCharge

    Girrrrrrrrllllll…I don’t even know where to start. So I’m just going to say: THANK YOU! Everything about this post is beautiful 🙂

  10. Christy Maurer

    Very styling! I hate stereotypes, and don’t see the world of people in color. People are people 🙂 I love the vest…

    • MimiCuteLips

      Thanks Christy, as a black person when I hear people say “they don’t see color” that means you don’t see me. I want you to see me, I want you to see my color. It takes ALL types to make the world and it is fact that we come in all shades of color.

  11. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    They all look so handsome! I don’t know what it is about black men that make them look so fantastic in suits, but they always do!

  12. Alli

    Those men have got some serious style going on! I love that photo. They are sharp as a tack! Is it wrong to keep scrolling back up to take another look? 🙂

  13. Dina

    Such handsome men in suits. I love to see casual pics like those he took. I can’t imagine how it feels to be a black man in this country. It’s not easy that’s for sure.

    • MimiCuteLips

      They are, as a woman I feel like I need to step my look up. It is really tough right now, I hope things get better.

  14. Chubskulit Rose

    Love these styles! My husband is a casual-type-if fashion kind of guy but I love when he is all dressed up.

  15. Lori Bosworth

    Great photos, great fashions for men. Marquelle looks amazing in his casual attire and definitely a role model for others.

  16. Jeanine

    Look at all those handsome men. I’m loving their outfits too. I think this is pretty awesome, and is needed right now especially. Lookin’ So sharp too!

  17. lisa

    These guys are all impeccably dressed! I love how good they all look! What a great interview.

  18. Jeannette

    Wow – these guys really have it together and it’s so great to hear their side of things! I think if we could look past the color of everyone’s skin to see what’s inside the world would be a much better place.

  19. Liz Mays

    This is an awesome message and I love the fashion statements. Hopefully I can look forward to seeing more of this!

  20. rika agustini

    i love this fashion statement, so stylish

  21. Joanne T Ferguson

    What an interesting blog post about how the clothes make the man! I think the less labels we all use as a society, the better we all will be!

  22. Annemarie LeBlanc

    These men know how to dress sharp! I love to see men who can pull it off very well wearing suits in uncommon colors. Sometimes, it is not what you wear, but how well you wear it.

  23. mykidsguide

    These men are handsome. I love how they carried themselves. I love their outfits.

  24. Kiwi

    I love this post Mimi! I kept singing Classic Man by Jidenna the entire time reading this lol! I love the new black stereotype such a positive movement and all these men look sharp and sophisticated. I want my man and my future son to model off this!

  25. Life as a Convert

    While all of these men are dressed great, there is no guarantee they are all great men.. Just like somebody who is dressed down could be the best man of them all.. Never judge anybody by what they are wearing 😉

  26. Rosey

    That’s a fun photo shoot. They do look diverse, like he was shooting for (haha, no pun intended) and they all look great.

  27. lisa @bitesforbabies

    What a great message…and this style and these men break the mould! Such great outfits!

  28. Kelly Hutchinson

    There is nothing like a sharp dressed man, right?! What a fine collection of gorgeous men as well!

  29. Uplifting Families

    I think it is crazy that the news judges people and makes a huge deal out of situations based on skin color. I know several instances where things were esculated because of the media.

  30. CourtneyLynne

    I’m all about guys dressing up!!! I tell my hubby all the time he needs to step his wardrobe game up! Nothing better than a well dressed man!

  31. Yona Williams

    OK…now I am not going to get Jidenna’s song out of my head now. Anyways, nice post and it’s funny to be reading this..my sweetie and I were just talking about changes in fashion….and how black men (and women) dressed to the nines in suits, vests, nice hats, dresses, hand gloves, etc during certain decades, and how far we’ve deviated from that. We know that fashion comes and goes, but we were amazed how people dressed classy even when they didn’t have much to their name.

    • MimiCuteLips

      hahahhaa I’m a classic man, you could be me if you looked this good I’m a classic man. I would love for fashion to go back to a time where everyone was dressed all the time.

  32. Krystal

    I love those bold colors for suits! My husband always wears a hat with his.

  33. Chasity Boatman

    I love this so much. My heart breaks for the black community as they are constantly targeted and killed. It’s wonderful that this man his helping change stereotypes.

  34. Chrystal | YUM eating

    All of these men are gorgeous. I can’t say that enough. I grew up in a rather large city and went off to college full of culture. My mother raised me to never see color, we are all the same inside.

  35. Bonnie @wemake7

    I really love your post and everything about it. I love how they are all dressed up in different suits. They look great.

  36. Adanna

    I’ve seen this images around and I think it’s an awesome representation of our men. So many are fathers, husbands, good people but you’ll never believe it when you see what is shown by the media.

  37. NIckida

    I just love this. My husband use to have a fashion blog and this is the kind of stuff he would post about. They are all dressed very well, their clothing is tailored to fit and they look so handsome. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Ann B

    These suits are amazing. I love the colors and styles.

  39. Marquelle Turner-Gilchrist

    Mimi, thank you again for using your platform to share our journey. The goal truly is to spread the imagery as much as possible. We are aiming to have a part 2 on October 3 and a QUEEN Edition on September 19th. I hope I can share more with you at that time.

    Thanks again!

    • MimiCuteLips

      You are so welcome, please let me know about any others. I would love to featured them on the blog. I’m drooling at the thought of a Queen Edition.

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