Turned Gentleman: Tyler Perry's Ruthless' Blue Kimble
The Quintessential Gentleman continues its digital fashion series, Turned Gentleman, spotlighting the new and next wave of cultural disruptors. This series features the rising talents of today who are impacting the world around us. A Turned Gentleman is confident, distinguish, and a rule breaker. We explore their stories through their lenses and learn of the inspirations that have molded them. From their communities and upbringings, they've embraced the culture that influenced their style.
Blue Kimble is an actor, former NFL player and native Atlantien making waves in the entertainment industry. Having successfully transitioned from professional sports to acting, Kimble has been featured in a number of television shows and films and currently stars in the BET show Ruthless. In addition to his career growth, Kimble’s tenure in sports and entertainment, as well as his upbringing in “the A,” has played a large part in his style progression. The Quintessential Gentleman had a chance to speak with Blue about his career, personal style and the impact he hopes to have on the culture.
What was Atlanta like when you were growing up and how has that experience impacted who you are today?
Atlanta has always been "that" city. It has always been popping with energy and a strong African American presence; this is nothing new. We have had the entire world doing our dances multiple times - I mean, Michael Jackson was Bankhead Bouncing. Atlanta provides a culture like no other which is why we have the influence we do now; we have been controlling the music game, but now we have also tapped into the film industry and the world gets to see all of the talent we produce. Atlanta will always be home to me.
How did growing up in Atlanta impact your sense of personal style?
We set trends! I mean if you are not popping in Atlanta with your music, you are not actually popping. Culture, style, all of that, people take different pieces from all of the things that originate here. From being flashy all the way down to putting on a bespoke suit; these are all of the things that Atlanta embodies and I pull from all of that.
You started off playing professional football. How did you end up transitioning into the entertainment industry?
Football itself is such a short-lived situation. As a young boy, being African American and urban in the 80s and 90s, ballplayers were really the only Black men I saw on TV growing up. As a young Black man, those were my heroes; they didn’t show us Black doctors and lawyers like that. Because of this, it was the dream for myself and a lot of others - thinking I was going to be a professional athlete like Deon Sanders and Emmitt Smith. The thing is, the NFL stands for “Not For Long!” The turnaround rate, the injury rate, the impact it has on your body is like no other. I love football and it taught me so much, but I got injured and couldn’t play anymore and had to find something else to fill that loss. Opening businesses and having corporate jobs weren’t really doing it for me, but ironically, I fell into acting. I ended up in an acting class because a young lady I was dating at the time kept trying to get me to go to a class with her. She tricked me into going to acting class with her in 2012 and the teacher made me perform. When I performed, she asked me how long I had been acting and I said I hadn’t. She was surprised I had no experience, and it went from there.
You have been acting for about ten years now. How do you choose roles and do you consider the cultural impact of the roles you play?
When you first start you don’t have the luxury of really choosing roles. When you first get into the acting world, having never done it before, you just want to perform, gain knowledge and grow within the craft. So a lot of roles you take, you don’t have the liberty to say you don’t do this or that. That’s a level you grow into and then you can have more creative control. But at first, you just want to perform, learn and grow and that’s a part of the process.
You learn by actually doing it, taking lower budget projects and student films, those are the things that taught me and helped hone my growth. And it helped me get to the point where now I can do things with a little more integrity and that represent the culture well.
What are some things you think make a Quintessential Gentleman in 2021?
Class. Things like knowledge, maturity and growth. I am not the same man I was 10 years ago or even last year. The more you know the more you grow and the more you can project that back into the world. Ignorance tends to make you act out and perform in ways that are not gentleman-like. I am not perfect, but I aim to do better and that is the definition of a gentleman; knowing when he is right, when he is wrong and being able to accept, grow and improve.
There is also a style component to being a gentleman too; Who or what has influenced your style the most?
I am the youngest of three boys. I was raised by my big brothers, cousins, uncles and of course my father, so these are the people that impacted my style closest to home. But as a city, Atlanta is immersed in style and fashion and it has produced so many stylish entertainers. Outkast, Andre 3000, genuine originality; breaking the mold and doing what you deem as stylish and making it your own. I do that myself, not saying that I always push the envelope like Andre 3000, but people like him and Pharrell, I am able to pull from them as well as regular people in the streets."
What type of fashion pieces do you see yourself gravitating toward for spring?
When the suns out you gotta let the guns out, and the people will do that. If they have been working out, I think those people will want to reveal their pandemic bodies this spring and summer. I honestly have to get some more spring pickups though; I haven’t been doing a lot of pandemic shopping.
Are there any items of clothing that you think every man should have in their wardrobe?
A good watch. A gentleman should have a good watch. At least one good, fitted suit you can mix and match and pair with different things. A good pair of shoes; you can’t go wrong with a pair of Chelsea boots that you can dress up or dress down. I am also a huge sneaker connoisseur; I probably have pairs of shoes that are older than some of these guys out here so you can’t go wrong with a nice pair of sneakers as well.
What are your most coveted or valuable pair of sneakers?
My most valuable pair would definitely be the Mags. I have a repertoire but I have given a lot away and cleared some out, but I still have a full sneaker room.
Are there any projects that you have coming up that you can share with us?
We just wrapped on season three of Monogamy. We are getting ready to go into season three of Tyler Perry’s Ruthless. Then we are going into season two of P-Valley; the pandemic can’t keep the Pynk away. We just wrapped on My Brother’s Keeper. I am working, I’m blessed and I don’t take any of it for granted.
Photographer: Dash McIntosh
Stylist: Christopher Jamar Payne, Lee Hardnett
Creative Director: BYoung Agency