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Growing up Black in America

 

Black Lives Matter

Hello to all my fashion friends!

I know it has been quite I while since I last made a post, but with everything that is going on in the world I truly wanted to take a step back and reflect. I wanted to genuinely make sure I understood who I was and why I was on this life’s path. It made me decide that I wanted to share my story, in hopes that more of you may understand the man behind the photos and the words.

            I never want to be silent especially when men are dying everyday purely because they look like me. Everything that we have seen has hit ME the hardest because the only thing that’s stopping me from being the men I see in the news is the right situation with the wrong police officer. These are no longer situations about “wrong place wrong time”, or “doing something wrong and paying the consequences” these are deaths due to being black. As children we are taught history of America, and the rise of the African American culture from shackles to citizens, however, I want to argue that with the education I received as a child a false sense of security. By showing me videos in black and white, having me remember historic dates, and people of the past made me believe all of that racism was in the past. I felt that was over and we were living in this Utopia of peace and love that those before me fought so hard for. But life kicks in and you learn the truth. Growing up, my parents had to have “The Talk” with me, explaining why I needed to make sure I made all the right decisions, and realize I could not do everything my friends could because there could be a completely different set of consequences. My dad would always tell me that I was born with a target on my back and with 2 strikes already against me; one for being born black, and one for being born a black man. That’s something that always stuck with me. I learned would always have to try so much harder just be still be behind the curve. Having to prove that I’m one of the “good ones” every time I talked to someone because they’ve already made a decision about me before even meeting me.

Growing up in a dominantly white neighborhood, I worked hard to be the best I can to make sure I fit in. when you’re the token black kid of  course came the jokes about how I dressed white, talked white (meaning speaking properly), and the FAMOUS nickname most suburban black kids have been called “Oreo”. For those who’ve never heard of that name it means you’re black on the outside (Skin tone), but you’re white on the insides (no characteristics of the stereotypical black person). Growing up you think this is normal, but as an adult I just realized I was constantly surrounded by the racism I thought Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. eradicated back in n 1968. That was true Naivety at its best.

            Today is no different, it’s becoming a norm to see my fellow black men killed before their time because they are breathing. No one can understand the type of fear that brings to a person. It’s one thing to fear consequences after doing something worthy of those consequences. However, knowing that today can be your last day of freedom, or living purely because someone deemed you a threat based off of your gender and race is truly terrifying. To know that those red and blue lights might be the last thing I see because someone decided I am a threat before they walk up to my car is TERRIFYING. How can I prove I’m one of “the good ones” if it’s decided already that I’m not? Or an even better question is, WHY do I have to prove it? We were supposed to live in a country where we are innocent until proven guilty, but the truth is I was born guilty and I am spending my entire life proving my innocence.

            This is why Black Lives Matters exist. We all matter, and we all have our problems, but we are  fighting for what’s dominating our communities today; the fact is that African American men are being hunted down and slaughtered. The only thing that is going to change that is forcing the hands of those who can change it. If we don’t acknowledge the issue, we will never  change them. BLM is not saying that any other race is less important, buts is black people fighting for ourselves. Truth is if we don’t fight for our rights no one else will. I would love to say that these unlawful deaths are a miraculous coincident and we live in a country where the police protect and serve without bias, but the truth is the target that black men were born with are finally being hit daily. EVERY life is meaningful, and until those who oppose that idea changes it, we have to continue this fight because the next incident can be me, my dad, my gramps, my future son, ANYONE. We aren’t just fighting for ourselves, but for those this system has failed and continue to fail.

             This is why I choose to use my social media platforms to spread love, and support to my fellow fighters. Being an African American man in the fashion world is hard. I grew up feeling as though black was not beautiful, so it took me a long time to realize that narrative was not right. I want to be that person that young men can look at an see that we can thrive in whatever field we want. That you can be educated and be your own man outside the social norms of what it means to be a man of color. I have to work harder in this niche because I have to continue to prove my worth. When you know your worth, you accept nothing less, but when you’re constantly fighting those who view you as less it just means you have to fight even harder. I will never stop fighting for justice, nor will I give up doing everything I can to be someone these young boys can look up to. It’s important that we see that we are not alone, that we cannot be divided, and we can follow our dreams. The truth is as long as we stay united, we can make a difference. I will continue screaming Black Lives Matter, I’ll always be a role model for the next generation, and I will always be a genuine voice for my people.  Thank you all for your constant support! There’s always nothing but love coming from this end.

Always remember to Show love, Support the dream, and Spread positivity!

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