Life is a concept… No, it's a sitcom. Everyday is a new episode. We are the characters of this sitcom, but society has broken us down as a "people" that we can't be who we want (It's a sin to aspire to be greater than a legend, as it’s seen). In actuality, characters in a sitcom represent a certain personality, either u like it or u don't. But we are characters in this sitcom called "life" so what are u representing? Be you, but who is it benefiting? Make sure you understand what you represent. That's how you "be you."
I was always aware of what I wanted to be as a person but my environments never allowed me to grasp those aspirations. My adolescent years were spent in a neighborhood in Cincinnati called Winton Terrace. We moved there in 1998 from Lincoln Heights to a street called Vivian Place- my whole life changed (now let's fast forward to 2003 - I was 13yrs old and just starting high school at Western Hills Design Tech). We were living on Dutch Colony now, still in Winton Terrace, we were struggling so bad. I had two pair of pants, a light denim and a dark denim- I would rotate them every day. Towards the end of that school year it got a little better and I was able to obtain more items. We wore Akademics, Enyce, Phat Farm, RocaWear- stuff like that was in style and of course Force's and J's! I would always look at videos on BET and want to dress like the R&B dudes with the fitted clothing opposed to the baggy style we'd partake in.
So at this point in my life people call me conceited and arrogant for being so concerned with my appearance -but do you blame me? I had two pair of pants, my freshman football jersey was an weekly outfit top for me, the forces I wore to school I also played football in them- I came a long way. Everything that defines me as a person is something I saw back in high school. I let my past life motive present actions for a better future for myself. When I dress, of course I want to look fly but it's bigger than that. I grew up in Lincoln Heights and in Winton Terrace, in times where you could get beat up for wearing something out of the societal norm. I broke free from those societal standards and I proceeded to being me, doing what I'm comfortable with and that is what I try to show others. I don't know who this “ Jones'" family is, but everybody wants to keep up with them. I can't and I won't. I want to show younger guys that you can create your own style and not have to feel the pressure of being like everybody else. Also, I noticed when I am out in public and I have on shorts and a t-shirt - people look at me different. In a negative judgmental way, as if I’m not on their level. However, when I am dressed up people give me the look of approval. I hate that because I do not want to be in a tie every day; I do deserve a couple days of sneakers and tee’s. But society’s perception of the Black male is so negative (for both obvious and unknown reasons) that you cannot get respect or even treated equally unless you look like you could accomplish something. I guess I look intimidating or maybe it’s just a stereotype - but it’s another reason I have to pay close attention to what I wear. I have to look the “part” in oder to convince people I just maybe could be interesting.
You may not be understood, that's fine! My junior year of high school I transferred to Princeton and I decided to take small steps into changing my style. I wore pastels, we made up "Tiny Tee Tuesday's" and with that I started wearing more fitted clothing- by senior year I was fully suited just because. Of course, dudes tried to hate but women loved it! After awhile people respected me because they saw I was being myself. When something is misunderstood it's automatically considered "gay" in society. A lot of younger people fear that so they do what's called "go along, to get along." If anything should be "considered gay" it's societal standards. Who makes up these standards anyway? Probably somebody who hides behind a tumblr blog all day long living a worthless life. Young men, you're not gay for wanting to be different. You're only gay if you like guys, technically speaking. Be different! Pull your pants up, put on a belt and look presentable! In order to change your circumstance you must change "self."
Once I transferred to Princeton and my style changed, it gave me the confidence I needed in my ability. My behavior changed, my outlook on life and what I wanted and even my disposition. I'm not saying you have to dress up and wear suits like I do, but you don't have to sag and buy all of these expensive brands to feel accepted. I was living in Lincoln Heights dressing up! But I wasn't acting like anybody or trying to gain acceptance either- people respected that.
Dressing the way I do is my way of showing my indifference to society and a daily reminder that I can do anything. If I had the courage to change my style, I could change any situation! I am not just Christian Asmar Drye- I am change, I am a leader, I am aware I will be scrutinized, I am a support system for our posterity. Who are you?