I remember when I was 14 in the 8th grade I took a big plunge into fashion. I decided to wear some skinny jeans with a pink Jesus is my homie tee, some black high Doc Martens, with my hair extra big and a fake nose ring. This was in 2003 when wearing tall tees was the hippest thing all the boys weren’t feeling my sudden change of appearance. My look caused such a disturbance I was in fact suspended for three days. At the time I didn’t know what course fashion would take over the next decade, I just thought I was being me showing my inside feelings on the outside. Then Kanye West Happened.
Around my sophomore year of high school Rapper Kanye West was becoming known as a style icon just as much as he was a rapper. From his Polo Shirts and backpacks to his Blazers and sneakers. I was in awe that a Rapper would wear something other than a “tall tee and rees” or super baggy clothing. But a more
tailored approach to how the young urban man should look. But like my out there punk look his style was before it’s time, but still borrowing from another. Inspired I decided to follow West’s fashion choices while mixing some of my own inspirations at the time. Thinking I was going to have some people in favor of what I wore since my style was reminiscent of someone who was (still is) now popular but my new look wasn’t accepted by the masses, I started getting those labels almost every black kid who didn’t fit the stereotypical mold received ” Oh he’s dressing white” , ” so you think you too good to be hood“.
I didn’t know how to react to the accusations I was even contemplating the worst being normal like all the other ”
Niggas” I was schooled with against my will. But every time I dressed in their likeness I felt awkward and out-of-place, I felt the boy staring at me in the mirror was beneath me and didn’t care enough about himself, to give the world around him a nice presentation of who he truly is. The next day I recalled these event to a friend of mine and he looks me in my face in his Bronx accent and tells me “My Nig, you are the fliest kid around here, no one has shit on you, you’re smart, talented and innovative don’t let these bums tell you different.“I took his advice I initially gave my tall tees to my sister to use as nightgowns (they fit like that on me as well) digging inspirations from all over the place,sniffing around thrift stores, online boutiques and malls.
What I ended up finding about myself was I was a free spirit, I didn’t fit in into any mold, or any trend I just had to do me. I drew tons of inspiration from Andre Benjamin’s throwback to the early 1900s style, with a dash of Jimi Hendrix’s colorful style with the relaxation of Lenny Kravitz’s boho attire. I
came to school the next day feeling free and my confidence was on 10 and ever since then I’ve been floating on air. At the age of 21 I still use this advice it helped me become a more open minded man, more driven and accepting of everyone else’s style choices.