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- Award-winning Chef JJ Celebrates 'The Simple Art of Rice' With New Book, Growing Food Empire
Photo Credit: Beatriz da Costa Long before people of African descent arrived in America, dishes like jollof rice were being consumed in West African nations like the Senegambia region during the Jolof (Wolof) Empire. As the staple arrived in the Americas through enslaved Africans they carried the recipes and flavors from their African homelands, passing them down from generation to generation. Now, acclaimed New York-based chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson is celebrating the importance of rice and its heritage in his new cookbook, The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table, which is available today. Johnson is a cultural tastemaker who was listed on Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the Food & Wine category and also studied at the Culinary Institute of America. The family man and renowned American chef is most recognized for his innovative approach to African Caribbean cuisine. His work has earned him numerous accolades, including the James Beard Foundation Book Award and a two-time spot on the Nation’s Restaurant News Power List. Johnson has also been featured on a variety of TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped, Netflix’s Street Food, and Selena + Chef on HBO Max. He also hosts his own show, Just Eats with Chef JJ, airing for its fifth season on TV One's network Cleo TV this fall. Chef JJ's highly anticipated cookbook, The Simple Art of Rice: Recipes from Around the World for the Heart of Your Table, only adds to his innovative career. His rapidly growing multi-unit fast casual rice bowl concept Field Trip champions sustainability while working with local rice farmers and producers to source the freshest ingredients. With four locations throughout New York City, he is a community advocate for food justice and equity raising awareness within the industry. Born in Long Island, NY, Johnson grew up reading his grandmother’s cookbooks. The entrepreneur said that he "believes dropping The Simple Art of Rice right now is a perfect time because rice is a great connector...the greatest connecting ingredient that connects us all somehow, and the world is easily connected again." He went on to say that he "hopes that The Simple Art of Rice will help connect folks and will help make people look at culture differently." During such times when we all have witnessed such division in our country, Johnson wants to "help conversation starters and help bring smiles and laughter to kitchens." According to the USA Rice Federation, there are 120,000 different strains of rice worldwide, and they’re grouped into three categories. Out of all the varieties, white rice seems to be the most prevalent in the diet of many Americans, but with so many varieties there is much to explore. “Rice is more than white rice. That's what we know rice to be, white rice. America's rice is Carolina Gold rice, a beautiful rice that has gold threads that run through it, and the rice is enriched in history. That was a cash crop here in the United States for a really long time before it became extinct because free slaves didn't want to grow rice anymore unless it was their land, and that's when white rice came into play," Johnson said. So what type of rice does the chef recommend? “Some of my favorite rice is black rice, red glutinous rice, Emerald Pearl rice, but also I want people to start searching for good rice, freshly milled rice that you can get from a farmer or order online from a farmer that will give you good health benefits because the perception of rice is it's not good and it's so false,” he added. While it may seem that the art of rice is simple, there are many debates that can be sparked not just about the types of rice but also about the preparation techniques. “And the number one thing in the debate is do you wash rice? Or don't you wash rice? I say wash rice. People come for me, and I think the book is going to have a little bit of controversy because everybody has a POV on that," Johnson said about one potential debate that will arise when his book is released. The Simple Art of Rice serves as an extension of Johnson's mission to popularize rice. At his Field Trip restaurant, the menu is centered around rice dishes such as jollof basmati rice, coconut sticky rice, Carolina Gold and black fried rice. Johnson shared his thoughts on the challenges of operating a restaurant in New York saying, “I think New York as a whole, we should, we need to look at what we need to be a voice about what we need as entrepreneurs, and founders and business owners. And when I say that, I don't mean minimum wage needs to be back to $5.25. That's not what I'm saying. We as a people can shape the way the business industry, small businesses, and mom-and-pop shops are, so they're protected, and they can help people put their kids to college, and people can buy a home, and the businesses can also strive." Photo Credit: Beatriz da Costa Still, Johnson recognizes the challenges entrepreneurship has. "There are a lot of areas that business owners in New York are up against. I love it. But every day the law changes and it's really tough." Johnson did, however, say he’s looking to expand the Field Trip brand beyond Manhattan potentially considering opening a location in Brooklyn someday. Johnson is sure to stay busy with his Field Trip restaurants and his promotion of his book The Simple Art of Rice. While dining at Field Trip you never know which prominent person you may bump into. But one thing that remains throughout all of Johnson's culinary endeavors is carrying his grandmother's spirit with him. Purchase the The Simple Art of Rice and make sure to follow Chef JJ on Instagram.
- Bishme Cromartie: From 'Project Runway' Triumph to Redefining Fashion
On Thursday, September 7, Bishme Cromartie was named the winner of Bravo's Project Runway All Stars. His journey from the streets of Baltimore to the pinnacle of the fashion world is nothing short of remarkable. His ascent in the industry has been defined by creativity, authenticity and a commitment to pushing boundaries. Bishme always wanted to participate in Project Runway. To him, it was more than just a reality show; it was an opportunity to showcase his talent and passion for fashion to the world. "To be a part of my season 17 was truly an honor," he reflects, adding that being asked to return for "All Stars" was mind-blowing. Bishme believes that the universe prepares us for what we subconsciously desire, and his journey is a testament to that. Check out our interview with the Project Runway All Stars Season 20 winner. Your design aesthetic is often described as a fusion of avant-garde and streetwear influences. How do these two contrasting styles come together in your creations, and what do they reflect about your personal perspective on fashion? I think that I’ve always loved the idea of mixing my streetwear design aesthetic with my avant-garde side. I used to separate them in collections. I would do either or, rather than combining both. I feel now that I’m comfortable with my masculine and feminine sides, it influences how I approach my designs. Project Runway was a significant platform that introduced you to a broader audience. How did your experience on the show impact your growth as a designer, and what were the key takeaways that continue to influence your work today? My experience on the show impacted my growth as a designer, by introducing me to people who may not have heard of my brand before. I have so many ideas but I do not get enough time in my everyday practice to explore as much as Project Runway allows us. I feel the key take always from the show that influences my work now, is that sometimes less is more. Learning how to refrain from doing too much lol. You've had the opportunity to design garments for prominent artists like Lizzo, Saweetie and Jennifer Hudson. How does it feel to see your creations worn by such influential figures, and how do you balance your unique design vision with their individual styles? I honestly am always thankful when I get a chance to dress anyone, Celebs are the cherry on top! When it comes to designing for anyone, you want to make sure you are making the client happy. But it’s a great thing to always add yourself into the design no matter what. I think the key is balance. Establishing a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform is a bold move. Could you tell us about your motivation behind this decision and how it aligns with your creative vision for fashion accessibility? I think the idea of providing directly to my consumers is exciting. I’m motivated by the actual ideal vision I have for my shopping experience. I’ve reached out to buyers before and no one responded lol. So instead of asking I told myself I would just go through the unknown. Your sister's passing must have been a profound and challenging experience. How has her memory influenced your creative process and the way you approach your work, especially on your journey to make her proud on "Project Runway”? My sister truly helped me chase my dreams at an early age. She instilled in me the truth that anything is possible. No matter what. I honestly hold that to my heart and use it for any and everything. Have to remind myself that she’s with me and she sees the work that I’m doing. Representation is a significant topic in the fashion industry, and you stand as a prominent Black designer. How do you see your role in shaping perceptions of Black men in the fashion world, and what changes would you like to see in the industry's approach to diversity and inclusion? I feel that my role is to continue being who am while growing and exploring. The more I am able to learn the more I’m able to provide suggestions or the answers to those who look like me. I didn’t grow up seeing a black man as a fashion designer. I saw us in sports and music. Opening up the ideas to what we are capable of is always my objective. I wish I could say what I would like to see in the fashion industry but I think it’s better to just do your own thing and figure out your own formula and continue to work with those who support your vision. Balancing artistic expression with commercial viability is a constant challenge for designers. How do you navigate this delicate balance, and what advice would you give to emerging designers seeking to maintain their artistic integrity while building a successful brand? I think no matter how extreme you design, it’s important to think about how can this function for the everyday person. Being able to showcase my creative side is amazing, but it’s a must to create a version or a piece that compliments your designs in a simple way. Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of your brand and your impact on the fashion industry, particularly in terms of promoting diversity, creativity, and innovation? Looking ahead, I aim to continue growing my team and my knowledge on running a fashion business. I have a lot planned and I’m in a place in my life where I’d rather show than tell. It took a lot to get here and it’s going to take even more to get where I would like to see the industry at. We must build solid foundations with those who get us In Order to make an impact. Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers, especially young Black men, who are navigating the challenges of breaking into the industry and making their mark in a competitive landscape? One thing I would say to young Black men is never allow yourself to play small. There’s something amazing within us and the only way to unlock it is to fully be yourself. The more we are able to explore who we are as people. The more we will fall into the paths that are meant for us.
- ‘The Chi’: An Ode To The Beauty Of Black Men’s Complexities
*Interviews with the cast and Lena Waithe were conducted prior to the SAG/WGA strikes* The Chi has been entertaining audiences for nearly seven years. When it first premiered, the coming-of-age series set out to tell the story of a community where young Black boys go on a journey to turn into young Black men, for better or worse. Audiences were first introduced to the characters of Kevin, Jake and Papa, played by actors Alex Hibbert, Michael V. Epps, and Shamon Brown Jr., as young adolescent Black boys who in the end needed guidance in order to push through the challenges that each of them faced. In fact, two of the running themes found in the series were fatherhood and mentorship. Many viewers returned season after season to explore the challenges the Chicagoans would face while being entertained. At the 2023 American Black Film Festival in June, The Quintessential Gentleman caught up with Emmy award-winning producer, The Chi creator and executive producer Lena Waithe. The Queen & Slim director discussed why mentorship was important to her through her Hillman Group Mentorship Lab. “Mentorship is a part of who I am and why I am where I am,” she says while discussing her career. The proof is there from her film projects to television shows such as Showtime’s The Chi. As audiences have watched its three young stars grow into young men throughout the series' sixth season, The Chi also represented a community that continued to rise above the social illnesses that many urban communities can relate to. When discussing the impact of the show’s creator, the actors expressed their admiration and gratitude for Waithe. “She’s been in this industry a long time... her being from Chicago as well, it’s always that connection,” Epps, who met Waithe at 10 years old, explains in an exclusive interview with his costars. The young actors praised Waithe’s guidance, constructive criticism, and her ability to motivate and inspire them on set. “When we have our conversation with Lena, she's always giving us advice or helping us go about the script, or she's always throwing a challenge at us,” Brown says. “When she does that, I feel like she trusts us and knows that we can complete this mission that she gave. She has been a great mentor.” The drama series witnessed a remarkable 65% surge in streaming viewership on Paramount+ following the release of the first eight episodes of Season 6 on August 4. During the first seven days, the Season 6 premiere garnered more than 1.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched season debut in The Chi‘s history, according to Paramount Global. “It is an overall blessing, a lot of shows don’t make it past its first one or two seasons,” Brown, explains. In a time where Black storytelling is being left out of the Hollywood machine, there is already anticipation for Season 7 of the hit drama. “Viewers are watching our lives change…they are watching hair grow on our faces,” Hibbert says about the longevity of The Chi. “Us as actors getting to show the real inside of each character is my favorite part,” he continues. For Hibbert, the appreciation from fans who acknowledge the representation that The Chi highlights is special for him. “When I am walking on the street and fans tell me I am their nephew or I act just like their kid it helps me as an actor.” “I really love this show. The show was one of my first big projects and it's also a representation of our city,” Epps shares. He also shares that he loves the show not only because of how it highlights Chicago but also because the show “touches on topics that the city faces.” One of the main topics of the show is its depiction of Black boys and men. In an age where stereotypes not only put us but hold us in a negative light, The Chi has pushed boundaries for its rawness and how much the show is grounded in the grace Black boys and men should receive on their journey. “Not all Black men are thugs or athletes… not all Black men are gangsters in the industry looking for trouble,” Brown says. “There are different types of us. Black men are fathers, lovers, protectors… We’re human, we cry, we love, and we laugh. We’re beautiful human beings. I am happy The Chi shows the different shades of us,” he adds. Grace for the Black man is too often not given. As each of the characters continues to grow throughout the seasons, viewers have watched the challenges they face. And when bad decisions are made, we see the consequences of those actions. But in society’s eyes, Black men remain stuck in their past lives, no matter how much change has happened throughout their lives. “You can make a mistake in your challenge,” Hibbert says. “One of the things young Black men need to understand is that you can redeem yourself anytime you want.” The actor speaks with conviction while discussing mistakes, letting his fans know that “it is okay to make mistakes because mistakes is how you learn and will help you navigate this crazy world.” While speaking about the characters of The Chi, Hibbert expresses his love for how the show depicts growth. “Yes, you were in a situation last season, but look at you now,” he says about the journey of these characters. “Elevated from the past issue you were going through,” he continues. “We could all elevate through anything and we can do anything we want. We are that powerful as people.” And about season six, Hibbert says we are going to see “young Black men to older Black men come together.” The young star shares his point of view saying, “That's what, mainly we need more of. Our community sticking together. The old helping the young, the young teaching the new of what's going on now.…everybody needs to educate everybody.” Like many of our Black shows and movies, the age-old question of how we are being represented seems to always take center focus. Whereas other communities can simply entertain, shows that are made for us are put on a pedestal of responsibility. But with such a broad audience and popcorn-eating drama that continues to heat up season after season, Waithe and Co. show they understand those who are looking for a reflection of themselves as well as the need to be entertained. For the young stars and the characters they play, the reflection of Black fatherhood is a much-needed and much-welcomed theme of The Chi. The trio praised the show's portrayal of father figures and the significance of that representation. They emphasized the importance of showing the diversity of fatherhood and the positive influence it has on the characters' lives. They highlighted the show’s role in challenging stereotypes and showcasing the complex dynamics of fatherhood. “Just as a mother is important, a father is equally just as important,” Hibbert says about how the show highlights fatherhood. “A mother will nurture you, but a father will sharpen you and get you ready for the world.” “I definitely liked that the show shows Black men stepping up. From season one of Emmett (Jacob Latimore) kind of being a deadbeat dad. To by the end of the season, he's trying to be father of the year,” Brown shares. By showcasing the pleasant and not-so-pleasant moments in our lives and in our communities, sometimes having to be a reflection and take on a role that will face criticism is too much to bear. But it is all about mindset. “It’s awesome because we make this to reach people, to create more empathy in people. We hope that people see themselves or just see something and are entertained,” Luke James, who plays Victor, explained in an interview with Revolt about the responsibility of the cast. Conversations that seem to be missed are the burden of having to represent a whole community for actors, especially young stars such as our latest Cover Gentlemen, as more eyes continue to watch them grow into young adults. More eyes could also mean more temptation. “You have to know where to be at the right time,” Hibbert says about taking on the limelight as his star rises. “A lot of people get lost in making moves, but sometimes when making moves you can just be sitting down.” As the Black community continues to fight to prioritize our mental health, hearing the perspective of actors who have cameras in their faces on set and even more so off set with the rise of social media, always gives a significant outlook. “I like to do things that make me happy,” Brown says about taking care of his mental health. “Working with my cast makes me happy. I song write… I just do things with the people I love,” he went on to explain. “ I am very in tune with my feelings, I am never too scared or shy to talk about my feelings,” he says. “Especially in this industry, there are ups and downs. Sometimes you may want to quit, sometimes you may want to cry. As a Black man people want to have us in a bubble until we snap. So, for me, personally always having that outlet to express my feelings so I can have a clear mind and be at peace is important.” “I'm not big on being in the spotlight or having attention on me. I don't care to do things or be in the limelight or try to keep up with trends,” Epps shares about how he maintains healthy mental health. As the young stars of The Chi continue to rise and evolve, their journey serves as a testament to their talent, resilience and dedication. Their camaraderie and shared vision for a positive portrayal of Black men in the media stand as a source of inspiration for audiences everywhere. With their eyes set on new horizons, Alex Hibbert, Shamon Brown Jr., and Michael V. Epps will leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and beyond. The trio expressed excitement about their ventures in music and other creative endeavors. With an air of anticipation and a sense of unity, they alluded to the bright future that lies ahead for each of them. From child actors to young adult stars, the kids of The Chi know the magnitude of a show such as theirs. Make no mistake, the entertainment value of The Chi is ever so present, but getting to depict the Black boy’s journey from adolescence to adulthood has been one of the most polarizing themes of the show. While Black men are not a monolith, Hibbert, Epps, and Brown’s characters show why our complexities, behaviors, smiles, love and brotherhood all matter. Check out the full interview below. The sixth season of The Chi, produced by 20th Television, streams Fridays on Paramount+ with SHOWTIME plan. Photo Credit: Shayan Asgharnia/SHOWTIME
- Nick Arrington Brings Style To Martha’s Vineyard While Ushering In A New Type Of Gentleman
Photo Credit: Patrick Camilien Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard has a history of drawing members of the Black elite from Paul Robeson and Matthew Henderson to Adam Clayton Powell and Harry T. Burleigh. In May 2023, Bravo premiered its latest hit reality show Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, which displayed a group of Black entrepreneurs and professionals vacationing for the summer in Oak Bluffs. Among the group was stylist Nick Arrington. Before his move to New York, Arrington’s style journey began in Woodbridge, Virginia, a small suburb outside of Washington D.C. Arrington grew up as one of four children, having an older brother, a younger brother, and a “baby” sister as he refers to his sister who is not quite a baby anymore. But the woman who helped inspire his love for fashion was his mother who raised him and his three siblings as a single mother. “When my mother said that she was going shopping that meant we were all going shopping," Arrington said. “It started out with just my brother and I. There was a store in Potomac Mills that has since gone out of business, it was called Daffy’s. If you are from the East Coast you know what Daffy’s is. They were in Virginia, New Jersey, and had a headquarters in New York, a store that was similar to Nordstrom or Century 21... where you would be able to buy designer clothes at a discount,” Nick shared about his early memories of shopping with his family. “My mother was always in Armani and Ralph Lauren...she wore Dolce & Gabbana... she wore all these iconic brands but she was able to get these items at discounted prices at Daffy's.” In helping his mother, Arrington and his older brother, would pull different-sized clothing off the racks for his mother to wear, he explained. When growing up the term “stylist” wasn’t a thing, but he compares the tasks of pulling clothing from the racks at the age of five to what stylists do now. While pulling clothes he and his brother made the experience fun. “There were these rings that would hold a brand new pack of hangers together, and we would take them and collect them for some odd reason. I guess another man's trash is another man's treasure," Arrington says. "We used to throw them at each other when we were at home." Photo Credit: Brittany Oliver One day while at Daffy's, a particular piece of clothing caught Arrignton's attention. “It was the silk shirt I wore in my third or fourth-grade school picture. I wanted this shirt so bad, I don’t know if it was stylish or if it was cool," he remembers. “What kid in the fourth or fifth grade wants a silk button-down shirt, I was that kid." The eclectic young boy at the time was already on the path of his passion for fashion. "I don’t know why I wanted a silk shirt. Maybe I saw it on the rack and I wanted it. Perhaps I saw an uncle wearing it or I saw someone on TV wearing it or Eddie Murphy wearing it in a movie," Arrington reflects. The reality star was persistent in asking his mother for the shirt after she continued to deny him. Ultimately, Arrington's mother bought him his silk button-down shirt. It was the fashion item Arrington remembered dreaming of until he was able to wear it taught him that in fashion, details matter. He paid attention to caring for the silk shirt daily. “I kept that shirt nice and in great condition. Obviously, I was a growing boy. I couldn’t keep wearing it forever, but I think that also plays to my strength or care for clothing that I have," Arrington explains. Buying certain fashionable pieces is an investment as many know. For Arrington, getting the best use out of those investments matters. “I have dinner jackets that I’ve had for 10 or 15 years. I take care of my things." The care and attention to detail come from the brand activation manager's upbringing. “Again, being raised by a mother on her own. If she buys you something, I knew at a young age that it wasn’t easy for her to just go out and buy us whatever she wanted, but when she did buy us something, I made sure to keep it nice,” Arrington says. Fast forward to the present day, Arrington employs those same values of caring for clothing in creating his style. “I don’t really get into trendy things or what’s in right now," he says about not basing his style on what is in. “Not to take away from it, I think those things are cool, but I’m not going to buy a pair of big red boots because I know it’s something that’s kind of kitschy right now.” Rather than the big red boots Arrington chose to buy a new pair of knee-high Ralph Lauren riding boots. “I live by [the phrase] classics always win, they will... something like a double-breasted navy blue jacket is never going to be out of style it never is. It may look traditional or conservative or formal to others but it looks like pure class.” When it comes to what we should all have in our closets, the marathon runner says, “Every gentleman should have a navy blue blazer, whether it be double-breasted, single-breasted, one button, two buttons, gold buttons, silver buttons or wooden buttons. I have all of the above, but I think I’m also an anomaly, I think.” Arrington recognizes “the standard of building blocks to (pun intended) the Quintessential Gentleman.” Photo Credit: Robert Pauley Throughout his years, Arrington honed his style which led to him being voted “Best Dressed” in school, and he was able to monetize his love for fashion by helping others. “I don't think I'm a traditional stylist in the sense that I have all these relationships and pulling clothes from different designers, or anything like that," Arrington mentions. “People come to me when they want to get married or they want to go on a red carpet and they're buying these pieces at a better price because that's the message that I'm giving them. Every gentleman should own a tuxedo but we're not going to David's Bridal to rent a tuxedo. ‘You’re getting married, bro," he jokes. “You want to be able to look at your wedding pictures and not go, ‘I can't believe I wore that.’ You want to go back and say, ‘You know what, I really looked good on my wedding day.' I think Tom Ford said it best when he said, ‘Dressing well is a form of good manners.’ I agree with that wholeheartedly,” Arrington adds. Besides a tuxedo what are other essentials a man must have? “A navy suit, gray suit, tuxedo, navy blazer, white dress shirt, pink dress shirt, blue dress suit, and then you need one pair of jeans, one pair of wingtips, and a pair of simple sneakers." Arrington says that men could "mix in a couple of solid t-shirts, maybe a cashmere sweater. Cashmere lasts longer than cotton and wool and you can wear it in multiple different seasons.” The standard basics of keeping style alive can always be elevated, according to Arrington. “If you want to go up another level, fellas should have a khaki trench coat, one top coat either in gray or navy blue." His stylish sense is beneficial for all, especially those who do not pay attention to detail in their wardrobe. “The reason why I'm not using black as a standard color is because it's just so stark. You can't really mix and match it. You can wear a gray topcoat with sweatpants and a hoodie and dress it up that way or dress it down or you can wear your gray topcoat on top of a tuxedo if you're going to a winter wedding." Arrington's crusade against the color black is a much-welcomed one, even for those staunch New Yorkers who keep their closets filled with the color. "If you have a black topcoat... You can't really wear it with brown and can't really wear it with khakis, it's too stark of a color. You want something that's a little bit more neutral,” he adds. In caring for clothes, Arrington shares, “One big misconception is that you have to hang everything up... The worst thing you can do with a cashmere sweater is put it on a hanger, for any sweater for that matter. It loses its shape. It makes it droopy. You shouldn’t lay that type of fabric on a hanger. You should fold it and put it in a drawer or put it in a closet specifically for a sweater or cashmere." In regards to your closet, the type of hanger that you're using is very important as well. "I know it's very cost-efficient to go to Walmart and buy on Amazon, thanks to Jeff Bezos, a pack of ten hangers and plastic hangers only going for $9.99," Arrington explains. "If you spend $400 or $500 on a suit jacket, why would you put it on something that cost $9? You see the fallacy in that?” Arrington questions. He also notes that if you must use a hanger use "wooden hangers rather than wire ones to hang up anything of value." Photo Credit: Nikk Richardson The young boy who once and still pays attention to detail has continued to help others take pride in their style and fashion choices. He recommends that his clients machine wash dress shirts rather than dry clean them. One big mistake many of us make is adding starch to our shirts, which Arrington says is a no-no. “I really hope people aren't using starch. I don't know why they still sell it. If you're using starch on your shirts just stop. It destroys the fabric and really breaks it down. You're putting chemicals on the fabric and then adding a high level of heat. Logically, starch doesn't make any sense." During Season 1 of the first season of Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, Arrington got to show off an array of styles. There were some moments that didn’t make it to television that he wished could have been shown. “I wish they played the scene where I took the gentlemen from the house to a vintage shop. I got a pair of vintage Ray-Bans in there for $15, the ones that have the hooks that go behind the ear. A classic pair of aviators you can’t miss with those. Presidents have worn them. Michael Jackson wore them," he says. “I think some of the new stuff is cool, but you can always rely on your staples." Although viewers missed out on the Ray-Bans scene, fans of the hit show are in luck as Bravo recently announced that there will be a Season 2. In the meantime, for those who want to step up their style game this fall, Arrington is taking on new clients, whether it is for tailoring needs or style advice. Make sure to follow Nick Arrington on Instagram and if you haven’t seen him on Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, check it out on Bravo.
- Books Written By Black Men About Mental Heath You Should Read This Fall
As the stigma lifts, the concept and understanding of protecting our mental health has finally caught on within the Black community, and now more than ever Black men are making their mental health a priority. Too often Black men are left to deal with shame, guilt, confusion and pain alone. Sometimes knowing that other men have successfully navigated the unyielding ups and downs of life while continuing to find ways to grow and thrive is exactly what we need. These authors have found a way to address the subject of mental health in relation to the Black community through their own stories of self-discovery. Their works explore the impacts of trauma, violence, depression, anxiety and racism while demonstrating how to make it back to yourself. Check out this list of books written by Black men that can help you get a better understanding of the importance of prioritizing your mental health. Heavy written by Kiese Laymon Heavy is a powerful and honest memoir about growing up under the weight of secrets, abuse, lies and deception. Essayist and novelist Laymon explores the traumas of his past and how deception can alter the entirety of a Black boy’s life. Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration Written By Jason Wilson Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration is the memoir of Jason Wilson, founder of The Yunion, a faith-based non-profit organization that has served youth and families in Detroit for 20 years. Wilson shares his own story of discovering what it means to “be a man” examining the hazards men face as they attempt to interpret “masculinity” for themselves while giving readers hope that real healing is possible. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education by Mychal Denzel In Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, Mychal Denzel Smith accounts his personal and political education as he attempts to come into his own in a world where he is denied humanity. “Smith unapologetically upends reigning assumptions about black masculinity, rewriting the script for black manhood so that depression and anxiety aren’t considered taboo, and feminism and LGBTQ rights become part of the fight.” That Peckham Boy Written By Kenny Imafidon Amazon Description: A candid and unfiltered take on some of the most challenging topics that define our times, That Peckham Boy is a personal manifesto exploring what it means to be young, Black and poor in the city. It is shaped by Kenny's difficult childhood, his transformative time in prison, and the people and conversations that took him from being on trial for murder into the company of some of the most successful people in the world. Black Men and Depression: Saving our Lives, Healing our Families and Friends Written by John Head Amazon Description: In mainstream society depression and mental illness are still somewhat taboo subjects; in the Black community they are topics that are almost completely shrouded in secrecy. As a result, millions of Black men are suffering in silence or getting treatment only in extreme circumstances–in emergency rooms, homeless shelters, and prisons. The neglect of emotional disorders among men in the Black community is nothing less than racial suicide. In this groundbreaking book, veteran journalist and award-winning author John Head argues that the problem can be traced back to the time of slavery, when it was believed that Black people were unable to feel inner pain because they had no psyche. This myth has damaged generations of African American men and their families, creating a society that blames Black men for being violent and aggressive without considering that depression might be a root cause. Black Men and Depression challenges the African American community and the psychiatric community to end the suffering of Black men and address what can be done by loved ones to help those who need it most.
- Facial Care for Men
Skincare is both simple and complex. It is simple because it does not require special knowledge and skills, and if there are no dermatological problems that require the attention of a doctor, everyone can maintain the health and attractiveness of the skin on their own. And it is complicated because it is important to consider a number of nuances designed to provide comprehensive and comprehensive care for the needs of the skin. But this task can be made easier. Knowing the basic rules of skincare, you can maintain its attractiveness and eliminate a number of problems. Unfortunately, many believe that men do not need special care. Men also suffer from acne, use skin care products too, and need to wash their face to get rid of impurities on their face. It is also important how to brush your teeth two times a day. What does a man's skin need? The structure of men's skin is different from women's. In men, the epidermis is several layers thicker, and the dermis contains more collagen - so men's skin retains elasticity longer. Due to the male hormone testosterone, the sebaceous glands are much more active, and in adolescence, many men develop rashes on their faces. Then the hormonal background, as a rule, stabilizes, so more mature male skin is rarely problematic. However, now she is regularly exposed to the stress of shaving and needs special, masculine care. Do men really need facials? Many men are content with rinsing their faces with cold water in the morning just to wake up. But is this enough? Do men need a grooming program? And if so, what should care to look like for the strong half of humanity? The unequivocal answer: NECESSARY! Every day, men's skin is exposed to the effects of the external environment - dust, cold, and sun. And above all, on the skin of the face, these factors can cause dehydration, sunburn, and even if men's skin is less often than women's, it can be problematic - rashes. What is your skin type? Most men have rough, oily skin. But there are other options as well. Below are the characteristics by which you can determine your skin type and choose the right care. Dry male skin. Is your skin tight, flaky, and itchy? Are you a man with dry skin? Enriched Nourishing Cream is the right choice for you. Combination skin. The unequivocal signs of combination skin are an oily sheen on the forehead, nose, and chin and dehydrated, dry areas of the cheeks. Choose a treatment that hydrates your skin while keeping lipids (oils) to a minimum. Sensitive male skin. Sensitive skin reacts with rapid onset of irritation and redness. A particularly mild, soothing face cream is ideal here. Daily shaving makes the skin more sensitive On average, men shave about 16,000 times in their lifetime. Daily shaving removes the top layer of skin cells, exposing immature skin that is particularly sensitive to external influences. After shaving, irritation appears on the skin. But with the right products, like an aftershave concentrate, you can protect your skin and boost skin repair the moment you put your razor down. Anti-aging cream for men Anti-age! Although the natural reserves of moisture in men's skin protect it from wrinkles longer, from the age of 30, you still need to add a special cream to the men's care program. For starters, we recommend a light product in the morning or a more intense anti-age treatment. Take care of your skin regularly You need to take care of your skin every day because in this case, the cream or serum can really work as intended. For the face, it is recommended to use products for daytime and night use. Use peels Horned and dead skin cells are very important - they play the role of a barrier that protects the inner layers of the skin from adverse external factors. But when there are too many of these cells, they interfere with skin respiration, do not allow cosmetics to penetrate deep into the skin, and make the skin look untidy and tired. Peels are one of the popular solutions to the problem. Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com
- Photographer BJ Scott Answers All The Questions You Want To Know About Traveling Solo
Meet Barrington Scott, a marine veteran, culinary-trained chef, and accomplished photographer with over seven years of experience. Barrington's adventures have taken him through an impressive 31 countries, which have allowed him to hone his skills as a solo traveler. Born in the Bronx, Barrington has dedicated recent years to refining his culinary skills abroad in Australia and ventured into the depths of Honduras to achieve the status of a master scuba diving trainer. Now, he stands at the threshold of an exciting new chapter as he embarks on a fresh adventure in Thailand, driven by an insatiable thirst for discovery. The skilled solo traveler shares insight on what countries Black men should visit, advice for solo traveling, how to save money and more. Describe a moment when you stepped out of your comfort zone during solo travel and how it impacted your journey. The year is 2017, I woke up one day and decided to embark on the spontaneous journey of selling my house and belongings to travel the world for a year. It was a liberating decision that unfurled new dimensions of joy for me. The act of shedding possessions brought an invigorating sense of freedom, allowing me to immerse myself fully in the uncharted territories of life. Beyond the materialistic confines, I discovered a profound simplicity that enriched my spirit. This transformative journey not only introduced me to diverse landscapes and people but also ignited a deeper understanding of myself. The memories, lessons and friends I gathered became treasured fragments of a life lived with purpose, inspiring me to embrace experiences and cherish the intangible treasures that define our true essence. Describe five essential items you always pack for a solo backpacking adventure. Backpack: It's obvious enough to carry a backpack while "backpacking" but having the right type can have an impact on both your experience and overall physical health. Having a backpack with features that distribute the weight without burdening the body will make carrying a breeze. My personal favorite is the osprey aether 75 ml. Air tags: Never leave home without them and always keep one with you so your loved ones can know where you're always located. Converter/adapters: When traveling, bringing a converter and adapter is crucial due to variations in electrical systems and plug designs among countries. Adapters are essential to match the shape and size of plugs, enabling connections to foreign outlets and preventing charging issues. Voltage and frequency disparities also exist globally (110-120V vs. 220-240V), necessitating converters to ensure device safety and functionality. While some devices handle diverse voltages, confirming compatibility before usage is vital. Personally, I use the BESTEK Universal 2-in-1 Travel Adapter and converter $39.00 (you can grab it from Amazon) Travel insurance: In the spirit of preparing for anything, I'd 100% recommend purchasing travel insurance, which is important because it provides essential coverage and protection during your trips. I'd recommend Allianz. Shoes: Selecting the appropriate shoes for backpacking is crucial for a comfortable and safe experience. The right shoes provide comfort, support, and protection, reducing the risk of blisters, injuries, and fatigue. Share your advice on finding and connecting with fellow solo travelers on the road. Simple. Get out your head, be open and willing to engage. You might receive helpful travel advice, location of hidden gems or gain an additional travel buddy. Stay in Social Accommodations: Opt for hostels, guesthouses, or Airbnb stays where you're likely to meet other travelers. Common areas provide great opportunities to strike up conversations. I've met some of the most interesting and dopest individuals just lounging area social areas. Join Online Travel Communities: Utilize platforms like travel forums, Facebook groups, and apps designed for solo travelers to connect with others before you even leave home. Language Exchange Meetups: Attend local language exchange events or language classes to meet both locals and travelers. Utilize Social Media: Follow hashtags related to your travel destination and engage with posts to connect with like-minded travelers who might be in the same area. What are your go-to techniques for capturing stunning photos and memories as a solo traveler? Nowadays, I set up my trusty tripod, find a strong composition, and begin capturing. Utilizing an app on my phone, I can remotely capture shots and use live view to fine-tune the setup of my photo. How to save money while traveling. Unlocked phone: Unlocked phones offer flexibility for international travel. You'll be able to use different country's sim cards, which will save you money. Phone carriers offer the option to temporarily unlock your device. For example, you could get a 10gb sim card for roughly $5 dollars. Hostels: Hostels are often more cost-efficient than traditional hotels due to their shared accommodation setup. In hostels, guests typically stay in dormitory-style rooms with multiple beds, which significantly reduces the cost per person compared to private hotel rooms. Over the years I've seen boutique hostels rival hotels! Don't sleep on them. Be flexible: Flexibility while traveling saves money by enabling you to find cheaper flights and accommodations through adjusted travel dates. Exploring more affordable destinations becomes possible, and a flexible itinerary lets you grab last-minute deals and discounts. What are your top five countries Black men should visit? Thailand New Zealand Indonesia Vietnam Maldives Detail your favorite destinations that are particularly well-suited for solo travelers and explain why. I find that the safety level for solo travelers is consistent across my top five countries to visit, with the exception of replacing Maldives with Japan. This choice is influenced by my extensive time spent in Asia, where I can personally vouch for its suitability for solo travelers, especially those on a budget. Most of Asia being considered safe for solo travelers can be attributed to several factors such as low crime rates in many countries, strong cultural emphasis on hospitality and respect for guests, well-developed tourism infrastructure, and generally friendly and welcoming local populations. However, it's still important for travelers to exercise caution, be aware of local customs and laws, and take common-sense safety measures no matter where they go. Describe a place you initially felt apprehensive about visiting alone, but ended up having an incredible experience. Hmm. I would have to say Colombia. The negative reputation among travelers in the past can be attributed to several factors, including a history of drug-related violence and crime, political instability, and the portrayal of the country in media. While Colombia has made significant progress in terms of security and stability in recent years, outdated perceptions may still linger, affecting its image among some travelers. It's important to note that perceptions can change, and many travelers now recognize Colombia as a vibrant and diverse destination with much to offer. After a month of backpacking through Colombia, I can confidently say that I had an incredibly enjoyable experience. The country's captivating beauty, rich culture, and stunning landscapes made it an unforgettable journey. Share your favorite strategies for managing loneliness or homesickness while traveling solo. I don't really face those kinds of challenges anymore, especially given my military background. I'm accustomed to not being present for important family occasions. When I'm traveling, I'm usually so immersed in my adventures that I often forget I even have family back home. Apologies, fam haha. My focus tends to be fully on my experiences. Could you please share some of the exciting activities you enjoy during your trips? I have a wide range of hobbies and bucket list experiences that I'm eager to cross off. I'm open to all sorts of activities, whether it's skydiving, scuba diving, or anything in between. Interestingly, I hold the title of being the youngest African American master scuba diving instructor at 29, although that's quite a mouthful to say! I'm also a certified freediver, so you'll often find me exploring the depths of the ocean. My adventures have taken me to rock climbing in Vietnamese mountains, kitesurfing and surfing in Bali, and even cage shark diving in Hawaii – you name it, I've tackled it! Make sure to follow BJ Scott on Instagram.
- Model Aygemang Clay's Fall Must-Haves
Aygemang Clay is a highly acclaimed talent who has achieved excellence in multiple domains. With remarkable proficiency as an actor, international fashion model, entrepreneur, and spokesperson, he has garnered widespread recognition and admiration. His exceptional talents in live theater have been celebrated with prestigious accolades, while his entrepreneurial endeavors, such as creating Atlexo, the first black-owned Amazon top-selling luxury fitness kits, and co-founding Blk Underwear, have further enhanced his reputation. Additionally, Aygemang's collaborations with renowned figures in the fashion industry have solidified his position as a highly sought-after talent. Represented by globally renowned talent agencies, Wilhelmina Models and Innovative Artists, Aygemang's exceptional abilities have gained international acclaim. The talented Clay tells us what is in his closet this fall. Atlexo The ATLEXO is your anytime, anywhere fitness studio giving you access to 100+ workouts in the palm of your hand. Lightweight and durable, The ATLEXO fits easily into any carry-on or luggage. It's perfect for at-home or on-the-go workouts. Designed in partnership with Storyn Studio for Architecture, the ATLEXO merges fitness, fashion, and function to help you achieve your greatest purpose. BLK Underwear Meet the BLACK Power Boxer Brief – the ultimate choice for discerning gentlemen who demand comfort, style, and practicality. Sonsie Skin Elevate your skincare routine with a product designed for men of all skin types, even the most sensitive. Say hello to our game-changing serum. Crafted to perfection, this serum boasts a potent 4% niacinamide formula that not only enhances your skin's texture but also fortifies its natural barrier, ensuring a smooth and healthy appearance that's second to none. Ivy Cove Dopp Kit Every man deserves the perfect dopp kit, a symbol of his journey into adulthood. Crafted in Ivy Cove's signature full-grain leather, this dopp kit boasts unparalleled quality and durability. With a high-quality zipper built to withstand the test of time, it's the last dopp kit he'll ever need to invest in. The Cambria Dopp Kit isn't just practical; it's a statement piece that will make him the envy of his travel companions and clubmates. Don't miss out on the opportunity to own a dopp kit that combines style, functionality and lasting quality. Tom Ford Black Orchid Choosing Black Orchid Eau De Parfum is not just a purchase; it's an investment in the art of seduction and an ode to the refinement of your personal style. Experience the allure and sophistication that only this fragrance can offer. Elevate your presence with Black Orchid today. Maniere Devoir PLEATED TAILORED TROUSERS Maniere Devoir's straight-leg trousers silhouette exudes class and confidence. These trousers are tailored to offer a regular fit that strikes the ideal balance between comfort and style. What sets these trousers apart is the external waistband adjusters, allowing you to achieve a customized fit that's uniquely yours. Say goodbye to ill-fitting pants and hello to the perfect fit. The faux welt pockets add a touch of refinement, while the gunmetal Manière De Voir Eiffel Plaque subtly showcases your taste for luxury and attention to detail. Invest in the Maniere Devoir Pleated Tailored Trousers today, and make a statement with your fashion choices. Abercrombie Collar Sweater Polo This color sweater polo offers a comfortable and soft feel against your skin, making it perfect for year-round wear. The relaxed-fit silhouette ensures you stay comfortable while maintaining a polished look, whether you're hitting the golf course or enjoying a casual day out.
- 'American Fiction' Starring Jeffrey Wright Challenges Stereotypes, Hypocrisy With Hilarious Wit
Storytelling and representation are at the forefront of cultural discussions. Although the TV/film industry has done better in making sure that Black people are represented, there is still a need for our stories to be told. Stories that are bold, different and culturally relevant. Orion's American Fiction is an interesting story that explores stereotypes and hypocrisy in a thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud way. This satirical comedy, marking Cord Jefferson's directorial debut, offers a new perspective on the complex issues surrounding race and entertainment. American Fiction introduces us to Monk, portrayed by the talented Jeffrey Wright, a frustrated novelist who has had enough of the entertainment industry's exploitation of racial stereotypes. With a culture that often reduces people to outrageous caricatures, Monk decides to take matters into his own hands. He adopts a pen name and embarks on the audacious journey of writing an outlandish "Black" book that lampoons the very tropes he despises. As Monk's literary creation gains traction and becomes a sensation, he finds himself thrown into the heart of the very hypocrisy he set out to expose. The film navigates the blurred lines between satire and reality, offering a humorous take on the consequences of challenging societal norms and expectations. American Fiction is based on the novel Erasure Percival Everett and features Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, and the dynamic duo of Issa Rae and Sterling K. Brown. American Fiction is set to hit select theaters on November 3, with an expansion on November 17.
- Stylist To The Stars: Jason Bolden Embarks On New Collection, Partnership With JCPenney
Celebrity stylist Jason Bolden has some new work that he just put out. Bolden has a “new limited-time collection with JCPenney that combines everyday luxury with affordability for people of all sizes,” according to Black Enterprise. And in late August, the major retailer announced its partnership with Bolden. He will reimagine collections for JCPenney’s private brands, J. Ferrar and Worthington. The collection has been available in-store and online since Sept. 7, as it features a variety of affordable tailored pieces made for every size, shape and body. Designed by the same stylist behind some of Michael B. Jordan, Dwyane Wade and Vanessa Hurdgens’ standout red carpet looks, the collection looks for a “seamless transition from daytime leisure to evening chic.” “I want to give everyone a space and an opportunity express themselves and feel like they have moments where they can walk through the world with impact,” Bolden said. “I think that’s what’s important about this collaboration with JCPenney.” The J. Ferrar x Bolden collection provides modern suits, trendsetting separates, and tailored outerwear, in sizes S-5XL and 30x32 to 38x32. As for the Worthington x Bolden collection, it takes women “from work to weekend and day to night with polished knitwear sets, timeless outerwear, and menswear-inspired ensembles available in sizes XS-3X and 2-24W." “Whether you’re dressing for the everyday or your own spotlight moment, these collections continue to represent JCPenney’s belief that fashion belongs to everybody with the perfect fit, trend-right styles, and affordable price every time,” JCPenney Chief Merchandising Officer Michelle Wlazlo said. “It’s been truly amazing working with Jason on these collections. You can see his creativity, keen eye, and sense of style in every piece and I’m so proud of this first-ever stylist collaboration for JCPenney.” Fans of the collections celebrated the new partnership when JCPenney and Bolden shared their huge announcement on Instagram. “Coming soon! The exclusive collaboration with @jasonbolden, the celebrity stylist known for his fresh red-carpet looks. Shop the collection on Sept. 7,” the post read. One fan was ecstatic. “I love Jason and I’m all about Worthington? What a fantastic collaboration!” a fan wrote. “Not you about to have me in JCPenney,” another fan wrote. Check out images from the new collection below.
- NBA Player Cole Anthony, Mother Launch App To Help Navigate The Youth Basketball Industry
Hoopers on the court say ball up. NBA player Cole Anthony and his mother, Crystal McCrary McGuire, say GameUp. This is a new, youth-focused sports app that the duo will launch. The new app will launch in September, according to the Black Enterprise. The main purpose of this new app is to "help parents and their children as they embark on their sports development skills.” With youth sports evolving, the mother-son duo take heed of how families can best support their kids while they work toward their goals. Anthony, who was drafted out of North Carolina in 2020 and is a current guard for the Orlando Magic, embarked on his app journey with his mother, who is also a force to be reckoned with. McGuire is a New York Times best-selling author, a filmmaker and a media professional, according to AfroTech. She assisted in creating the documentary, Little Ballers for Nickelodeon, which focuses on youth sports. But the duo’s focus is on the app. What does the app do? Their app focuses on the ability to find and match teams, a database of programs, as well a “hub for trainers to connect with potential clients." The app also utilizes AI technology to “personalize each user’s experience for optimal service.” “As a mother of three youth athletes at every level and firsthand witness to the challenges of youth basketball, I recognized the need for a comprehensive tool to help parents navigate this complex world,” McCrary said. “With GameUp, we are providing a reliable, one-stop solution. This app represents our commitment to empowering the next generation of athletes, starting with basketball.” The official launch is Sept. 10 with “City Assist” in Harlem. The celebration will be hosted in partnership with Empire Invitational, a basketball nonprofit, and Anthony’s own nonprofit, the 50 Ways Foundation. According to the website, 50 Ways Foundation “is dedicated to impacting the lives of today’s youth. To inspire and empower our youth by providing mentorship, new experiences and resources that can create different opportunities for them to be successful.” Some of the initiatives include a basketball camp and a back-to-school drive, among others.
- Operation Ten City Heads To Chicago To Promote Entrepreneurship, Economic Empowerment
Dr. Bill Winston and his Bill Winston Ministries have announced that Chicago will be the sixth city during the three-day OPERATION TEN CITY campaign. The Bill Winston and Bill Winston Ministries present OPERATION TEN CITY: Greatness Unlocked" a ten-city initiative to inspire faith-based communities to activate hidden potential and pursue the fullness of God’s calling for their lives, businesses and organizations. Attendees at OPERATION TEN CITY Chicago will have the chance to partake in a YouthPreneur Summit, food pantry giveaways, an expungement clinic, a three-night tent revival, and many other resources to help close the wealth gap and bring positive change to Chicago. The OPERATION TEN CITY campaign began during the summer of 2022, with a goal to reach ten cities in the US. Cities that the campaign has already reached include St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. "Operation Ten City" supports the development of people and communities with a vision to help them access true economic prosperity and self-sufficiency through wealth-building and ownership, closing the wealth gap in Black and Brown communities for generations. The main events of the campaign will take place in Chicago between September 8th and September 10th. The final events of OPERATION TEN CITY Chicago will include a business segment, which will take place during the day on Tuesday, September 12 at Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park with a business pitch competition, business opportunity expo, career fair and workshops. OPERATION TEN CITY Chicago will invest more than $1 million into Chicagoland. Dr. Winston is a globally renowned pastor, entrepreneur and business leader. He is also credited with publishing over a dozen motivational Christian Books which include Transform Your Thinking, Transform Your Life, Law of Confession, Power of the Tongue' and 'Divine Favor. Dr. Winston is also noted as the Founder of the Joseph Business School and The Joseph Center, a nationally accredited campus and online business school in Forest Park, and he holds an Honorary Doctorate degree in Humane Letters from Friends International Christian University, Florida. All events during OPERATION TEN CITY Chicago are free to the public however, registration will be required except for the Heaven’s Food Pantry. In the future, OPERATION TEN CITY: Greatness Unlocked will make stops in more metropolitan areas across the United States through the summer of 2024 including Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Washington, D.C. and New York.