This Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we published "BLKBND," on the Rise of the Urban Creative, framed by the self-crafted BLK male identity, and the BND of historical brotherhood. See the full editorial here.
Then we asked each BLKBND share a piece of himself.
Who are you?
I am Raalon Kennedy, born in Anchorage, Alaska. I grew up in Tacoma, WA in somewhat of an unorthodox setting, having been birthed by a young mother in a struggling family. I am a military kid with a wide range of talents and gifts most people don’t realize I possess.
What words do you live by?
“Never count yourself out!”
Describe yourself, today, in 3 words.
Adventurous, Courageous, Intelligent.
Describe the man you aspire to be, 3 words.
Influential, Legendary, Heroic.
What do you fear?
What I fear most is being complacent in life upon achieving my dreams. To a degree I am fearful of what a high level of success would make of me. Though I gladly accept the challenge to face this fear with great prudence and humility.
What are you proud of?
That I am constantly improving and pursuing what I feel destined to do.
What are you searching for?
I am searching for a resting place for my creativity. A place where my artistry is embraced with open arms and can flourish.
How will you find it?
Through the continuously improvement of self and perfecting of my crafts.
Who do you want to become? What do you want to accomplish?
I want to become a noteworthy artist/humanitarian/entrepreneur. With the growth of my creative endeavors [photography, film, music, literature] I am hoping to build a gallery of some sort that teaches fine art as well as start a café.
What have you created in yourself, for yourself, and of yourself, to put forth in pursuit of your creative goals?
What I have created for myself in pursuit of my creative goals is a clear and concise vision of who and what I want to become. With such an over-saturation of faux artists and a growing emphasis on material possessions, I believe that a concise vision is a defining factor in the achievement of personal dreams.
What's a pivotal moment or opportunity—whether existential or circumstantial—that's brought you to where you are today, as a man and a creative?
Existential and somewhat circumstantial, a pivotal moment that’s brought clarity as a man/creative was when I resolved to continue to pursue art upon moving from Los Angeles back to my hometown of Tacoma, WA. As difficult as it was to leave an amazing city as Los Angeles, circumstances called I return to WA.
As a BLK male, how have you crafted the persona that you present to the world?
I’ve created the persona I present to the world through developing a broad world view. Learning is my pastime; I am constantly learning the ideals of different cultures, philosophy, art, etc. Expanding my world view, so that my art might reach a wider range of people.
Speak to your style philosophy. What does it mean to you?
To me, style means originality, authenticity, something of legend. My aim is to embody these on a daily basis.
The BLKBND is an agent of life. What code of behavior and knowledge does he/do you use to navigate the world as an agent of the black male identity?
The code of behavior I use to navigate the world first and foremost is that of the classic gentleman, with a dash of the rock star. I think it’s the perfect combination for navigating a dog eat dog world.
BLKBND also signifies a brotherhood, the bond between men who understand where they come from, and the mindful positioning of self to create success for themselves. How does that come into play in your life? What signifies success to you?
I strive to hold myself and my art to the highest degree in order to break the perception placed on BLK males. So how this comes into play for me is in essence through my creativity. Success for me, is ultimately becoming a noteworthy artist–who, since I was a little kid, I knew I was.