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’m originally from west Africa Nigeria. Grew up there, then was in England for a bit. I came to the states at age 16, first to Miami, Florida, then finally Los Angeles.
What words do you live by?
No man is your friend or enemy, but your teacher.
Describe yourself, today, in 3 words.
Hunger for creativity, holiday blues, want to escape. That’s more than 3 words.
Describe the man you aspire to be, 3 words.
Innovator, Happy, Successful.
What do you fear?
What are you proud of?
What are you searching for?
Freedom in creativity, life and love.
How will you find it?
Still trying to figure that out. I’m lost. I think I need help.
Who do you want to become? What do you want to accomplish?
I want to mean something. I want to make a mark, be a pioneer of some sort. Or go live in Timbuktu!
What have you created in yourself, for yourself, and of yourself, to put forth in pursuit of your creative goals?
My art! My acting! Constantly pushing to be better. Learning. Creativity.
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?
Doing my first play: JONIN. The experience was the biggest high I’ve ever had. That’s when I decided: this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And it’s the same feeling today. From wanting to be an Architect... to becoming an Actor.
As a BLK male, how have you crafted the persona that you present to the world?
It's a culmination of my journey from Nigeria, with a strict upbringing and values, and my life experiences from the different places I’ve been to. Africa, Europe and America.
Speak to your style philosophy. What does it mean to you?
Be true to yourself. FUCK conformity! Be a rebel! I’m a leader! I don’t follow.
“I will not be a common man, I will stir the smooth sands of monotony." — Peter O'Toole (one of my favorite actors)
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?
His knowledge, skills, style, swagger. He’s a leader. Confident but not cocky.
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?
You have to be tenacious and working hard to get what you want or become who you aspire to be. And you have to be true to yourself and your values in the process. Whether you succeed or fail (as long as you get up again and never give up), that is success. The fact that you tried and put in the effort—you’ve already won.