Growing up, the weekend after Thanksgiving was always a busy one. Christmas is my mother’s
favorite holiday and putting up the Christmas tree was her favorite part. As the houses got
bigger, the more trees we got but it was always the same process. I was in charge of digging the
ornaments out of the garage or basement, my sister untangled the lights, my father brought in
the tree and my mother started to strategize on how she wanted the tree to look. Till this day,
that tree continues to go up after Thanksgiving. It is a memory, it is my family, it is TRADI-
TION. In this issue, we talk about family. From Black fathers who are inspiring their children
to be confident to a story about brothers learning to accept and understand their sibling who
is Trans. This Family issue will motivate you, remind you to love, and inspire you to keep those
Eric K. Thomas
2 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PG. 4 WHEN THE GAME OF FASHION IS A FATHER-SON SPORT
PG. 6 KELVIN HARRISON JR. IS MAKING “WAVES” IN
PG. 8 7 THINGS BLACK AND BROWN MEN SHOULD TAKE AWAY
PG. 10 TOP FIVE MOVIES CELEBRATING FATHERHOOD
PG. 12 LESLIE ODOM JR.’S ADVICE TO AMERICA ON
PG. 16 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
PG. 18 THE MEN OF ISSA RAE’S NEW YOUTUBE WEB SERIES
“KING ESTER” SHARE THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING
PG. 20 BLACK INK CREW COMPTON’S LEMEIR MITCHELL ON
FATHERHOOD AND HIS NEW VEGAN VENTURE
PG. 24 HOLIDAY DRINK RECEIPE WITH BELVERDERE
PG. 26 6 FAMILY FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS
PG. 30 6 TAKEAWAYS FROM QUEEN & SLIM
PG. 33 FOX SPORTSCASTER MIKE HILL USES “OPEN MIKE” TO
SPEAK HIS TRUTH
PG. 36 A SEASON OF GIVING
PG. 37 DADDY DRESSED ME
PG. 40 FORMER SUPERBOWL CHAMPION KAYVON WEBSTER
IS USING HIS IMAGINATION TO MOBILIZE THE YOUTH
PG. 43 THE LARGEST BLACK-OWNED BANK TEAMS UP WITH
BME COMMUNITY TO CLOSE THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP
LESLIE ODOM JR.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ERIC K. THOMAS
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS DANE YOUNG
FASHION EDITOR AARON CAMPBELL
BRAND AMBASSADOR QUE JACKSON
WRITERS BRIAN ANTHONY, MONIQUE HOWARD,
COPY EDITOR GABBY CORRICA
MAGAZINE GRAPHIC DESIGNER ELIZABETH AFERI
FAMILY 2019 / 3
GAME OF FASHION
IS A FATHER-SON SPORT
BY: AARON CAMPBELL
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WHEN ONE THINKS OF PASSING DOWN THE FASHION GENE, MEN, AND SPE-
CIFICALLY BLACK MEN, MAY NOT BE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO COME TO MIND.
HOWEVER, THERE ARE SEVERAL FAMOUS BLACK FATHERS AND SONS THAT
HAVE MADE FASHION A MAJOR PART OF THEIR PERSONAL BRANDS, AND IN
SOME CASES A SERIOUS SOURCE OF INCOME. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT A FEW
OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FATHERS AND SONS IN TODAY’S FASHION SCENE.
P. DIDDY, JUSTIN AND CHRISTIAN COMBS
Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has been a fixture on the fashion scene
since he started Bad Boy Entertainment in the early 90s. In
fact, one could say that fashion has been just as important to
the evolution of P. Diddy’s career as music. He was one of the
first rappers to intertwine high fashion into every aspect of his
brand. He also started his own clothing line, Sean John, in 1998.
So it probably comes as no surprise that two of his sons, Justin
(25) and Christian (21) have followed in their father’s footsteps,
making fashion a key part of their growing careers. Justin,
whose mother stylist Misa Hylton-Brim helped curate many of
the looks for Bad Boy artists, is a staple at New York Fashion
Week. He and his brothers have been named by Forbes as one
of the black youths leading the new black renaissance in fashion.
Meanwhile Christian doesn’t just attend fashion shows,
he walks them, serving as a runway and campaign model for
brands like Dolce and Gabbana and Philipp Plein.
DAPPER DAN AND JELANI DAY
Daniel Day, widely referred to as Dapper Dan, and his son
Jelani Day may not be as well known as P. Diddy’s family, but
their impact on the fashion world is no less great. A Harlem
New York native, Dapper Dan got his start as a clothier in the
1970s and opened his own boutique on 125th street in 1982. He
quickly became known for his bold use of logos copied from
top luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. With the
rise of both hip hop culture and the crack epidemic, Dapper
Dan saw his clientele skyrocket, dressing both entertainers and
kingpins eager to embrace the height of 1980s excess. Eventually,
luxury houses caught on to the fact that celebrities were
wearing knock-off versions of their monograms incorporated
into outfits created by Dan and sued him, eventually putting
him out of business. Ironically, it would be one of those same
brands, Gucci, and its newly appointed creative director, Alessandro
Michele, whose copies of Dan’s original designs would
help bring his name back into the headlines. Dapper Dan’s son,
Jelani Day, who serves as his brand manager, along with a social
media outcry demanding Gucci acknowledge Dapper Dan’s
work, have been instrumental in his resurgence in recent years.
He and Jelani have since fostered a new professional relationship
with Gucci, creating an off-shoot menswear line for the
Italian house. The duo, in partnership with Gucci, also openedv
an atelier, Dapper Dan of Harlem, in 2018.
KANYE AND SAINT WEST
One of the more controversial names in fashion, or anywhere
for that matter, is undoubtedly the former Louis Vuitton Don
himself, Mr. Kanye West. When Kanye came from behind the
scenes and released his first album The College Dropout in
2004, he was lauded not only for his musical genius but also
for his unique style aesthetic. At a time when most rappers
still embraced the oversized tall-tee look, West was decked
in bright-color Ralph Lauren polos and designer backpacks.
Through the years, his star power and style have evolved, leading
him to create his own (highly popular and often criticized)
apparel and shoe lines. His sneaker collaboration with Adidas
has produced some of the most sought after silhouettes in the
sneaker business. He and his four young children have already
begun to have their own influence on the fashion industry. Oldest
son Saint, at a mere three years old, is a style star in his own
right. He, along with older sister North, have been featured in
fashion magazines and have even inspired their parents to create
a clothing line for kids.
WILL AND JADEN SMITH
Will Smith has made a name for himself as a rapper, actor and
Instagram obsession. While you may not automatically associate
him with fashion, he has served as a major influence of
Black men’s style since the start of his career in the late 1980s.
His 90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, helped showcase
his edgy and sometimes quirky fashion sense and propelled
him into leading movie roles that increased his stardom. While
papa Smith has since adopted a more classic Hollywood look,
his youngest son Jaden has carried on his dad’s more unconventional
style legacy. Jaden is known for his out-of-the-box fashions
and is a staple at major industry events such as the Met
Gala, where he once carried his freshly cut-off dreadlocks as
an accessory. Jaden has also starred in numerous campaigns for
luxury fashion houses. In fact, arguably his most talked about
fashion moment was when he starred in Louis Vuitton’s 2016
womenswear campaign, wearing a series of skirts from the collection.
As the younger of this Smith duo is only 20, it’s safe
to say that probably won’t be his last time rocking the fashion
FAMILY 2019 / 5
KELVIN HARRISON JR.
IS MAKING “WAVES” IN HOLLYWOOD
BY: QUE JACKSON
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Kelvin Harrison Jr, America’s rising star has continued
to build his reputation in the film industry as a force to
be reckoned with. From his role as Luce Edgar in the
film, Luce starring Octavia Spencer, to his role as Teddy Green
in the Epix drama, Godfather of Harlem starring Forrest Whitaker,
Kelvin continues to play characters that ignite great conversations.
His latest role as Tyler Williams in the romance drama,
Waves alongside Sterling K. Brown, was no different.
Waves hit theaters and became an immediate topic of
discussion within many families. Kelvin has toured the country
and spoke on panels regarding the extremely emotional film,
which follows the ups and downs of an African-American family.
His hopes are that the movie continues to open up a dialogue
between families, especially fathers and sons who often have the
most misunderstood relationships. He admits that when it has
come to the relationship with his own father, there were communication
barriers. After making the film, Kelvin understood
that he couldn’t judge his father due to the fact that his father
didn’t know how to love or communicate in the same way he
did. Kelvin says, “I feel empowered to make that step. I want
families to open up and communicate. I want them to have a dialogue
with each other so that they can heal together. We don’t
have to exist in these past pains and traumas.”
When speaking about his current success, Kelvin says,
“It is so humbling and I just feel so full inside. I actually sat down
and reflected on everything. I have all my scripts and when I
was cleaning up my apartment, I saw some of them and I just
started to cry because I was so grateful that I got this opportunity.
I could have never imagined what I would have been doing
growing up in New Orleans. I’m from a family of musicians and
I went to school for marketing. I never thought I was going to
get the chance to move to LA or New York. It feels like I have so
much purpose and I never knew what God had in store for me
and my life. It’s so much bigger than I could have ever expected
and I’m thankful that I mean something to people. I value myself
more and it just inspired me to want to share that with other
people. There are many of us that add value to this world and
you would never know that until you allow yourself to go on
that journey. I’m just over the moon.”
In 2020, Kelvin takes a different approach and shows
his comedic side of acting. He is currently wrapping up a new
film called The Photograph, a romantic comedy where plays an
intern alongside Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield, Will Packer,
Courtney B. Vance and more. Harrison will also be starring in
the music-centric comedy Covers, where he plays Traci Ellis
Ross’s love interest. Rounding out the films to anticipate from
Kelvin, he will also be starring in the crime drama film The Trial
of The Chicago 7. In it, he plays Fred Hampton the man who
took over the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party in
1968. The movie is based on the story of the Chicago Seven, a
group of seven defendants charged by the federal government
with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam
War and countercultural protests that took place in
Chicago on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
With so many memorable roles under his belt and so
many roles left to play, Kelvin Harrison Jr. is truly an actor deserving
of all the love he is receiving from the industry and his
supporters. Kelvin is a true Quintessential Gentleman.
FAMILY 2019 / 7
7THINGS BLACK AND
BROWN MEN SHOULD
TAKE AWAY FROM
BY: KELVIN HARRISON JR.
1. Vulnerability isn’t a trap or a flaw.
You can be imperfect and complicated and
troubled at any time and that’s okay.
3. Our parents are so wise, they love us so much
and we should be able to recognize that even
when they don’t know how to show that.
4. The women in our lives are Queens and they
are so powerful. I love Taylor Russell in this
movie because she shows that in such an eloquent
and subtle way.
We should learn to listen to our black women
more and embrace them.
We’re all so smart. I think that we possess
emotional intelligence that we may not even
Trust our instincts because whatever we’re
feeling in our gut is probably right.
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FAMILY 2019 / 9
- BY MONIQUE HOWARD -
Life lessons, memorable stories, and captivating characters are vital features that can earn a movie a place
among the classics. Good movies impact the audiences’ thinking and resonate with them on an emotional
level. These movies share uplifting life lessons about overcoming adversity, self-realization and finding one’s
place in the world. The strong male characters offer an exemplary reflection of what it means to be a man and father
from many diverse perspectives. Each movie offers an inspiring story that encourages and empowers the audience.
The unforgettable performances and heartfelt moments are just a few reasons why these movies should be on your
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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
The Pursuit of Happyness tells the incredible true story of Chris Garner, a struggling
single father who overcomes homelessness and becomes a multi-millionaire
investor. The lead roles are skillfully played by Will Smith and his son, Jaden.
The movie instills the importance of showing children they can achieve their
dreams no matter the circumstances.
DADDY’S LITTLE GIRLS
In Daddy’s Little Girls, Idris Elba plays Monty, a hardworking, single father who
fights to regain custody of his three daughters. This movie provides a beautifully
rendered example of the lengths a parent will go for the sake of children.
In the gritty action flick Blood Diamond, a mercenary, and a fisherman embark on
the perilous journey to recover a rare diamond that will alter their fates. Djimon
Hounsou co-stars as the fisherman Solomon Vandy, a father who makes the ultimate
sacrifice by giving his life to ensure his son’s safety. The movie presents a
heart-wrenching example of self-sacrificing love in its purest form.
The historical drama The Butler is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, who
served as a butler in the White House for 34 years. In the film, his story is reimagined
with character Cecil Gaines, played by Forest Whitaker. His story unfolds
in a time of political unrest and war as he serves as a butler in the White House
during eight presidencies. The movie wonderfully showcases an unconditional
love of family that is strong enough to withstand life’s adversities.
THE GREAT DEBATERS
The Great Debaters features Denzel Washington as Melvin B. Tolson, a professor
and father figure of sorts at Marshall, Texas’s Wiley College in 1935. He encourages
and challenges his students to achieve greatness as the school’s first debate
team. The movie illustrates the importance of mentorship and inspiring young
minds to flourish.
Through the characters’ hardships and triumphs, viewers can both relate
to and learn from their mistakes and successes. Love is the driving force that
compels each man to go against the odds for children.
FAMILY 2019 / 11
LESLIE ODOM JR.’S
ADVICE TO AMERICA ON SUPPORTING “HARRIET”
BY: DANE YOUNG
Photo Credits: Jimmy Fontaine
Harriet Tubman is undoubtedly an unsung hero.
She’s one of the few Black public figures that we
learn about in our history books. Her story will
forever be an imprint in the soils of this nation
that we praise as the land of the free. However, I believe we are
devaluing the impact of our ancestors’ prowess and their activism
when we refuse to support films like, Harriet, which provide
us with more insight into our history. Although the film grossed
over $23 Million in sales so far and is considered as an Oscar
frontrunner, many have voiced their reasons for the lack of support
of the film.
Actor Leslie Odom Jr. brilliantly portrayed abolitionist
William Still in Harriet. He assisted her with the rescue of over
70 slaves throughout her epic pilgrimage on the Underground
Railroad and was also credited as the father of the movement.
When asked about the importance and validity of this film, Leslie
had this to share, “I can understand the fatigue that people
may have towards slave movies, but I don’t share it. There are all
these stories being told about certain times in history because it’s
fascinating, and there are so many advantages for sharing them.
Slavery was a holocaust, and we are still feeling the repercussion
and pain from it. We are still unpacking the systematic damages
and trying to heal as a people, as a country, and a society. Slavery
was a big sin that we are reckoning with. We are trying to coex-
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ist in a society where our beginnings were subdued to chains and
shackles. I never get tired of seeing these films. America needs to
stay on the metaphorical couch to tackle the pain that slavery has
caused and to pinpoint exactly what it is. There is room for films
like Django, 12 Years a Slave, and there is room for Harriet. We may
not be able to stomach them all but America needs to stay on this
psychiatrist’s couch. I understand that people are tired of seeing
slave films told a certain way. However, in Harriet, you pick up on
slave narratives, the ingenuity, the brilliance, and the courage it
took for every single one of them to escape. And each party has a
significant role and story that should be told.”
Like some, I too had my apprehensions toward seeing
another slavery themed movie and wasn’t afraid to share my concerns
with Leslie. I began by stating my appreciation as a journalist
to have been selected to screen the film in advance and
informing him of my observation of the lack of diversity in the
screening room, adding that I was one of three Black faces in attendance.
This prompted me to ask Mr. Odom as a participant
and lead actor on this project to explain who the film was indeed
intended for. “Not to shirk the responsibility of answering this,”
said Odom. “I had to get used to this medium [referring to the
film industry] coming from theater. This is a filmmaker–medium.
It’s more about the director and editor. They are hugely important.
For example, some directors are making films that speak to
FAMILY 2019 / 13
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them and their personal passions, and there are directors hired
to execute the studio’s vision. I’ve learned that actors are low on
the totem pole. So I can’t truly answer who the film is intended
for. What I do know is that it was made with really skillful and
loving hands by Kasi Lemmons with good intentions. Producer
Debra Martin and actress Cynthia Erivo wanted to give Harriet
a hero and an action treatment. To give her a movie they thought
was befitting. There has been a lack and deficiency when it comes
to our stories being told. This may not be the Harriet movie that
everyone wants it to be, but I’m excited that it’s a start and I don’t
think this will be the last.”
Regardless of if you’re a fan of the narrative depicted in
this version of Harriet, we as Black and Brown people need to rally
behind this film as a community. It’s our voice crafted by our
hands to commemorate our journey. In the words of Lena Waithe,
“to be Black is beautiful, but it’s also traumatizing.” This Harriet
film has sparked healthy dialogue to be exchanged among all races
and is a work of art that will transcend generations. It’s a responsibility
of our own to be resilient in supporting projects that will
continue to bring awareness to the legacies of those whose backs
we stand on. We have to be like Leslie’s character William and
quickly denounce any doubt that we all may have. There’s a bigger
message in our testimony that will keep America on that metaphorical
couch until all wounds are healed.
FAMILY 2019 / 15
1. THE BEVEL TRIMMER
The Bevel Trimmer runs quieter, cooler and now has double
the battery power over previous generations (it now holds up
to 8 hours per charge and keeps that power for 180 days.) Combining
innovations in design, power and cleanliness, the Bevel
Trimmer is a world-class device for both barbershop and home
grooming needs (use alongside the Bevel Shave System for consistently
smoother, clearer skin and fresher, sharper lines.
2. MVST SELECT LUGGAGE
Help the QG in your life travel easier with a premium suitcase/
travel bag from MVST select. This suitcase is made of 100%
polycarbonate, which is used in bulletproof glass and the visor
of an astronaut’s helmet because it is exceptionally resilient and
Laetly is a New York-based brand of bold, fun knit scarves that
are universal, easy-to-gift, and the fun “exclamation point” to
your winter outfit. These make great pieces that are perfect for
men, including happy color-blocked styles and sophisticated
greys and muted tones.
PRICE: STARTING AT $60
4.SOOTHERAPY HEALING BATH SALTS
Men take baths too! Soothe not only have candles but they also
have healing bath salts. The 3-pack of Sootherapy Healing Bath
Salts contains all-natural, non-GMO, tropical ingredients such
as exotic Moloka’i & ‘Alaea salts, taro, noni, ginger, raw cane sugar,
organic coconut oil and coconut milk. They smell incredible,
and leave skin feeling soft, hydrated and nourished!
Paperclip makes sustainable changing bags for the modern parent,
made using recycled materials. This is the gift that every
gentleman didn’t know they needed. With a built-in changing
station that unfolds in second, this bag eliminates the need to
worry about the lack of changing stations in public restrooms
and is totally gender neutral - it also converts quickly from backpack
to messenger bag. It’s a great gift for that ‘cool dad’ - the
modern, traveling parent’s best friend.
PRICE: STARTING AT $140
16 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
6. WP-STANDARD LEATHER TRAVEL TOTE
The ultimate travel companion. With contrast stitching, rolled handles,
a detachable strap, and Riri zipper, the airport crowd will be
wowed with every adventure.
7. POLO BLACK EDT HOLIDAY EDITION
Following its debut in the 1980s, Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bear has become
an unmistakable icon for the brand, which will now star in the
brand’s first-ever limited-edition holiday fragrance bottle collection.
The bottle collection will feature the brand’s classic Polo fragrances
adorned with custom Polo Bear designs inspired by each scent.
8. G-SHOCK SKELETON SERIES
Part of the latest Clear Skeleton Series, which launched this April, the
new watches are colorful additions to the DW5600 series. Arriving
in the popular candy color trends with their striking appeal including
a one-tone chromatic color casing and band in transparent jelly style,
these new models express a futuristic take on nostalgia. The reverse
LCD with matching color tint showcases a minimalistic design that
matches the classic original G-SHOCK.
9. ASHLEY NORTH - NOIR SANTAL CANDLE
Men like candles too. Noir Santal is Ashely North’s one of signature
scents. This candle has luxe notes of black currant, rose and sandalwood
to create a truly warm and inviting feeling.
10. MY DRINK BOMB
The Original Drink Bomb are artisan handcrafted cocktail drink
mixers made with natural ingredients, organic herbs and 24K gold.
Simply add to your favorite alcohol of your choice, sparkling soda or
water. A new and fun twist to drinking cocktails.
FAMILY 2019 / 17
THE MEN OF ISSA RAE’S NEW YOUTUBE WEB SERIES
SHARE THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING A TRANS WOMAN
By: Dane Young
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SOME PEOPLE YEARN FOR SECURITY.
It’s a simple yet complex need that is essential to the way
one navigates through the world. Security alleviates the
anxieties that come with fear. It creates a force field that
is meant to protect one’s well-being. Although, protection
is a fundamental right not often shared or offered to
specific groups of people due to systems of oppression
and the lack of knowledge. In the Dui Jarrod-produced
web series, King Ester, we are introduced to characters
who are fighting for a sense of belonging. They are
learning to accept their personal truths while living in a
community that ostracizes them.
The series is centered around leading lady Ester, who is
trans. She is a self-aware woman with dreams of leaving
her mark on the world and is undoubtedly a force to be
LIKE MANY OF US, ESTER
FACES OBSTACLES THAT
ARE HOLDING HER BACK
FROM ACHIEVING HER FULL
POTENTIAL. AS CLICHÉ AS
IT SOUNDS, THINGS LIKE
LOVE, SUPPORT AND CON-
FORMITY ARE DESIRED BUT
THE LACK THEREOF COULD
CREATE AN EXHAUSTING
SEARCH FOR FULFILLMENT.
and brass as she
may be, the realization
world doesn’t revolve
and is not of her
concern. “I crafted
the notion of her
being fully aware
of who she is as a
person, and the
her needed to
make a shift towards
placed this character
in a family specifically with a brother who should
have the most reasons to love her, but doesn’t understand
the concept of being trans and is slow to accept who she
is. As a writer, this was extremely difficult to come up with
but I felt the importance of sharing the dynamics between
the two,” said Jarrod.
it sounds, things like love, support and conformity are
desired but the lack thereof could create an exhausting
search for fulfillment. LJ Scott, who plays Damien, becomes
Ester’s confidant and safety net as she tries to escape
being objectified for survival. According to Scott,
“My character Damien is Ester’s safe place. Everything
Ester ever wanted or had expectations for Damion has.
However, he himself is dealing with the acceptance of his
own sexuality, which is something that Ester has already
accomplished and what Damien admires about her.”
A home is deemed one’s secure space, a place that should
be free of judgment. Whether it’s a mother, brother, or
friend, our hope is to have a home that serves as a safe
space to express our full selves without being looked
down upon. As King, Ester’s brother played by Martin
Bradford, witnesses her transformation firsthand, he is
slow to accept, confused and not sure how to support
her due to the provincial mindsets of outside influences
and personal beliefs. But he innately knows that he
has a responsibility to protect his sister. “I play King, and
he represents that black man who is trying but may not
have the proper education or the words to interact with
someone who is considered trans. Our society wasn’t designed
for us to enter into those types of conversations
smoothly. As we have evolved, so should the lessons surrounding
gender and sex, which is why this project is so
important. King has done damage but he’s trying to heal
and grow from his mistakes,” said Bradford.
The King Ester series is a coming of age story that speaks
to the realities of today. It’s relatable and forces the audience
to look at the importance of identity through familiar
lenses. The show can now be viewed on Youtube
as a part of the Issa Rae Presents channel. We owe it to
ourselves to ignite the conversations of how we can protect
all women. “Many of us take our human rights for
granted. People within the LGBTQ community aren’t
receiving their allowed human rights by default. Everyone
wants to be accepted; none of us should hold dominion
over someone’s pure existence and humanity. It
should be so easy, but for whatever reason people make
it so hard,” Bradford explains.
Like many of us, Ester faces obstacles that are holding
her back from achieving her full potential. As cliché as
FAMILY 2019 / 19
Black Ink Crew Compton’s
on Fatherhood and His New Vegan Venture
BY: D.LEWIS COLE
20 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
Mitchell is most known for displaying
his talent as a tattoo artist on VH1’s Black
Ink Crew Compton. As his fans know, he is
a new business owner, and most importantly
a new father to a beautiful baby girl.
Happy Ice, Mitchell’s new business, sells an ice cream alternative.
His treat is a vegan, water ice mix made without
egg, dairy, or nut products. The result is a colorful concoction
designed to bring happiness to any situation.
Read on to learn more about how he balances his art, business,
How did you get your start in the tattoo
I got my start in the tattoo business by just going for it. I
am a self-taught tattooist. I came from a rough neighborhood
in Philadelphia, and I got in trouble multiple times in
my younger years. I wanted out of that life. One day while
walking home, a friend came up to me to sell all his tattoo
equipment for $50. With my last $50 I made from cleaning
family members’ houses, I bought the equipment. I
got home, cleaned the equipment, and called a friend over.
That night I tattooed a Famous Stripe and Stars-themed
half sleeve on him. From that moment on, I studied my
craft diligently by watching YouTube videos and drawing
consistently until I became great. It’s been a fun journey.
What motivated you to start Happy Ice?
What motivated me to start Happy Ice was my desire to
making it for myself to eat. When I moved to LA, my initial
goal wasn’t to open Happy Ice, but I just couldn’t get
this type of product here. I grew up on this type of product
since I was a kid. So I went from wanting to be a consumer
to becoming an owner and introducing Los Angeles to my
childhood dessert. When starting the company, my artist
ways took over. I saw so many opportunities to make the
experience unforgettable. I created a recipe distinct to me
and branding that caught everyone’s attention. This became
my new tattoo canvas.
What led you to implement a storefront for
We wanted our own commissary kitchen instead of sharing.
Commissary kitchens cost the same amount as storefronts.
Our idea became a possibility when the previous
tenants of the building where we parked our truck were
moving out. My wife was inside the truck the moment
they were moving out. She called me instantly to tell me
the “happy” news. This seemed to be a God-sent opportunity
and we jumped right on it. So, we now have a storefront
opening in the exact location we’ve already established
for Happy Ice.
Congrats on the new baby. How do you
balance the responsibilities of being a new
father and a business owner?
When we first found out my wife was pregnant, we were
excited and nervous because we had a lot going on, and it
did not seem like the best time. Now that our child is here,
the timing couldn’t be better. Having my daughter made
me a better businessman Lemeir instantly. Fatherhood
has pushed me in the direction of creating a structure for
my company and trusting it. Before this, I had my hands
in everything and never had time. Now, I’ve structured
the company, and I have more time than ever before. I’ve
been finding the balance more and I have my daughter to
thank for that push.
What moment from your childhood would
you say shapes the father you are and plan
Growing up with my Uncle Joey has shaped the father I
am today. My dad was sentenced to life in prison when I
was 11 years old. From that moment, I was out of control
and my mom could not handle me. She made a hard, but
great decision to let my Uncle Joey take custody of me. He
gave me all the tools I needed to survive in this world. He
raised me and always reminded me of the quote, “Do unto
others as you want done unto you.” I still got into trouble
a little during this time, but when I stepped out into the
real world by myself, all the things he instilled in my mind
started presenting themselves. Instantly, I realized how
many valuable lessons he taught me. From there I held on
tight to his voice as I started my journey into the world
and became the Lemeir Mitchell everyone knows today.
Keep up with Lemeir, his family, and Happy Ice by
tuning in to Black Ink Compton on VH1 Wednesday
evenings at 10/9c. If you’re ever in LA, make
sure you stop by Happy Ice.
FAMILY 2019 / 21
22 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
FAMILY 2019 / 23
HOLIDAY DRINKS WITH
• 1oz Belvedere Vodka
• .5oz Hot Water
• 1oz French Fortified Wine
• 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
• .5oz Honey
• Cinnamon Stick, Orange Wedge, Clove,
Stir all ingredients over cubed ice in mixing
glass and strain into a chilled rocks
glass over a large ice cube.
• 1 oz Belvedere Vodka
• .75 oz Pineapple Juice
• .75 oz Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut
• .5 oz Averna
• .25 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup (1:1 vanilla
extract to simple syrup)
Add all ingredients, except Moët & Chandon
Imperial Brut, to a shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a glass mug, add ice
and top with Moët & Chandon Imperial
Brut. Garnish with a dusting of fresh nutmeg.
GARNISH: Fresh Nutmeg
24 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
• 1oz Belvedere Vodka
• 1.5oz Hot Water
• oz French Fortified Wine
• 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
• .5oz Honey
• Cinnamon Stick, Orange Wedge, Clove,
Add hot water to heat glass mug, then
honey to melt. Add remaining liquid ingredients.
• 10 oz Belvedere Vodka
• 14 oz Cloudy Apple Cider
• 3 oz Allspice Syrup
• 4 oz Lemon juice
• 4 Lemon wheels
• 4 Orange wheels
• 5 Cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a large punch
bowl with ice and serve immediately.
GARNISH: Nutmeg, Cinnamon Stick,
Orange Wedge, Clove
FAMILY 2019 / 25
26 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
across from the famed Daytona International Speedway.
DAYTONA BEACH, FL
Book it to sunny Daytona Beach for a family-friendly
getaway the kids are going to love. The DAYTONA is a
brand new Autograph Collection hotel located directly
The property takes full advantage of its prime location
with a racing-inspired design that evokes the energy of
the Speedway. Families can begin the morning with some
fun in the sun, by relaxing at the property’s outdoor pool
with private cabanas. After, head downstairs to the ONE
DAYTONA retail and entertainment district where you’ll
have access to more than 50 retail and restaurant outlets
like Cobb Luxury Movie Theatre and Game Time, an
indoor gaming complex boasting arcade games for the
kiddos. While you’re in the iconic destination known for
racing, parents can jet over to the Speedway and book
the junior ride-along experience, the ultimate adrenaline
rush of a lifetime - where kids have the opportunity to
ride shotgun in a real NASCAR race car.
For more information or to book your stay, visit thedaytona.
JUPITER BEACH RESORT
JUPITER BEACH, FL
Families can get into the swing of easy, breezy beach life
at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, the area’s only oceanfront
hotel, located on a pristine stretch of golden Atlantic
coastline. Perched on a sand dune overlooking the turquoise
ocean, the resort is the ultimate family vacation
destination with activities for everyone. From complimentary
bicycle rentals to kayaking nearby in Dubois
Park, there’s always something the whole family can enjoy
together. After a day spent outdoors, the whole family
can unwind at the resort’s Opal spa, where adults can
indulge in restorative ocean-inspired treatments while
the kiddos enjoy ‘La Petite’ mani/pedis.
For more information or to book, visit jupiterbeachresort.
FAMILY 2019 / 27
Though Colony Club in Barbados takes on a more
adult-centric wellness identity (in-room yoga mats, onsite
organic garden), kids are welcomed at the west coast
property with mini bathrobes, a plush turtle to snuggle
with and a plate of milk & cookies at bedtime. While the
sun’s up, the AAA Four-Diamond hotel offers a stand-up
paddleboard and turtle swim so youngsters play amongst
the native hawksbills at a local turtle hangout. For a
hands-on fishing experience, the Bait to Plate excursion
takes the family out to sea to hook their dinner and watch
the head chef prepare the day’s catch once they’re back
on land. Kids can also up their game at Colony Club’s tennis
clinics taught by a professional coach or jump in for a
game of beach cricket with a former West Indies cricketer.
For more information or to book, visit eleganthotels.
For more information or to book, visit eleganthotels.com/colony-club.
MARRIOTT STANTON SOUTH
While the Magic City is known for its stunning beaches
and vibrant nightlife, the city is teeming with culture, history,
and endless family-friendly activities. Grab the fam
and cruise the streets of Wynwood by buggie, make your
way to downtown Miami to experience the Phillip and
Patricia Frost Museum of Science, or catch the night time
festival of lights at Luminosa at Jungle Island. After a day
of fun, retreat to Marriott Stanton South Beach. Located
in the South of Fifth district of Miami Beach, a quieter
and more sophisticated area that is notably less crowded,
this relaxed, beach chic resort features a sandpit on the
beach with toys for the kids, spacious rooms and suites
with ocean and city skyline views, two pools overlooking
the ocean, a chic sun deck, and two restaurants including
Azabu Miami Beach and Mexican restaurant Lolo’s Surf
For more information or to book, visit marriottstantonsouthbeach.com.
28 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
MARRIOTT CANCUN RESORT
Getting ready to reveal its brand new lobby and Polynesian
restaurant, Marriott Cancun Resort is a family-friendly
retreat in the heart of Cancun. Located just 15
minutes from the airport (so no long car rides with overly
excited kids screaming, “Are we there yet?”), this kid-approved
escape is the best place for families seeking a little
warm-weather this winter. The Family Fun at Marriott
Cancun package puts the little ones in charge of their
Cancun vacay and includes everything...well, except boredom.
Families will snag ocean-facing connecting rooms
and free breakfast. Kids ages 4-12 also have daily access
to the Kid’s Club, which features activities like Spanish
lessons, piñata making, sushi rolling, sandcastle building
and arts and crafts. With a $100 spa credit, parents can
beeline to the 30,000 square foot spa at sister property
JW Marriott Cancun for some parent/kiddie R&R. Little
ones can be pampered with treatments like “Mayan Princess
For A Day” or the “Ice Cream Pedicure.”
For more information or to book, visit marriottcancunresort.
Turks + Caic
WYMARA RESORT & SPA
TURKS + CAICOS
Recently debuting its ultra-luxurious, private, oceanfront
villas, Wymara Resort and Villas welcomes families
to one of the most lavish resorts in the Caribbean.
With indoor and outdoor living areas, a full kitchen and
its own private waterfront pool flanked by an over-thewater
swim platform with direct ocean access, these picturesque
five-bedroom villas (enough rooms that mom/
dad, the kiddos and grandma/grandpa can all have their
own room!) are the epitome of Caribbean living. It’s only
right that on an island revered for its powdery white sand
and turquoise waters, families can enjoy complimentary
kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and Hobie Cat sailing
along Grace Bay Beach. If that weren’t enough, the gang
can up the ante with a snorkeling and conch cruise to the
island’s barrier reef, the third-largest in the world.
For more information or to book, visit wymararesortandvillas.com.
FAMILY 2019 / 29
HERE ARE SIX TAKEAWAYS FROM
BY: BRIAN ANTHONY
30 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
While Queen & Slim embodies everything from
provocativeness, stunning cinematography, injustices,
and the visibility of oppression, it is
not to be confused as love on the run or Bonnie
and Clyde. The film exhibits systematic racism with an impactful
ending that’s historic, honest, and heartbreaking on many levels.
It’s a tale of one’s escape from the hell of America with gripping
and jaw-dropping moments. Here are six things I took away from
Queen & Slim.
ONE THING CHANGES EVERYTHING:
It’s not long before you realize how one mishap has the ability to
alter the trajectory of one’s life. That’s exactly what happened
to Queen and Slim. An unfortunate incident, which they knew
wouldn’t be viewed as an accident, forces them to embark on a
journey neither one of them wanted but understood they had to
because there will never be any real justice.
OVEREXPOSURE OF TODAY’S YOUTH:
We are no longer living in an analog world, it’s digital. On their
journey, Queen and Slim’s paths cross with a young boy who’s become
overly invested and intrigued by their story. Perhaps it had
something to do with the dashcam footage going viral. The film
exposes us to how today’s youth are overly exposed to things that
our parents were once able to shield us from. It showcases how
much of an influence the world outside of the four walls we live
in impacts our children, and there’s not much we can do about it.
Hatred vs Heroism: Some are going to love what you do and some
are going to hate what you do. Queen and Slim soon found out
how people truly felt about what they’ve done. They were met
with a jarring approval and disapproval, but the sense of community,
pride, and solidarity seemed to act as a shield and hope for
the pair. The film’s underlining theme told the story of how blacks
are often perceived by the public without explanation.
hopes the one who comes to their aid would be someone black.
Queen quickly replies by saying, “that isn’t always a good thing.”
They’ve encountered their fair share of eye rolls and betrayal from
blacks on their journey and found refuge in the Shephard’s modern
day “underground railroad.” In the end, it came down to every
man for themselves verses a crab in the barrel mentality.
To believe this all started from a Tinder date. This unforgettable
first date became a six-day love story. It doesn’t read any more
beautiful than two strangers becoming bonded by an unexpected
incident. Who knew a believer and non-believer could become
each other’s belief system? On this road trip to freedom, they unveil
scars and healed them all while finding balance in one another.
They decided to enjoy the experience regardless of the outcome,
although it was a first and only date that was destined to be
doomed before it ended. It remarkably examined the experience
and exchange that resides in a new relationship that many don’t
want to survive.
One thing in particular this film did to combat against present-day
racism was beg for more understanding rather sympathy. Instead
of trying to coerce the audience to see the plight and struggle of
blacks, it urged for understanding of the plight. It spoke on the
multi-levels of racism; how black lives really matter and are perceived.
By examining black radicalism and black suffering, the
creators perfectly painted the picture that blacks aren’t just deer
tangled in branches that need freeing.
Queen & Slim is non-violent and hones in on the pain, strife, complexity,
and unapologetic-ness of blackness. It didn’t reinforce
any black stereotypes, but more so mirrored the truth that lies in
blackness. All Queen and Slim ever did were be black, while journeying
to their destination, which ultimately became their legacy.
SKIN FOLK AIN’T ALWAYS
They like to say, “it be your own people,” and that truth wasn’t farfetched.
Earlier in the film, when they’re hitchhiking for help, Slim
FAMILY 2019 / 31
32 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
Photo Credits: Erick Robinson
USES “OPEN MIKE” TO SPEAK HIS TRUTH
BY: QUE JACKSON
Photo Credits: Erick Robinson
Mike Hill is one of sports’ most
noticeable infotainers. Since
the 1990s, Mike has created a
name for himself by informing and entertaining
people in the world of sports
through his journalism. He is now opening
up and allowing the world to understand
the man behind the personality. In
his new book, Open Mike, he shares his
many triumphs and disappointments.
Mike is no longer afraid to dig deep in
order to share his truth with the hope of
encouraging someone to embrace theirs.
Mike Hill is a devoted father of two young
ladies and a man who has overcome a lot
of loss and is not afraid to admit that he
is a work in progress but every day he is
striving to be a better man.
FAMILY 2019 / 33
Mike’s journey into entertainment started the day
he was discharged from the military and received
a call 2 hours after with the offer of his first job in
sportscasting. He always knew that his passion was in sports
and that he wanted to inform sports lovers all around the world.
This passion led him to spend time on platforms both local and
national in Fresno, California, Nashville, Dallas, New York and
more. As his career was on the rise, on 9/11, a day that many of us
will never forget, became a turning point in his life. The network
ran out of money and he lost his job in New York. After 6 months,
he then moved to Dallas where he eventually lost his job. He admits
that this was one of the worst yet most eye-opening experiences
of his professional life. During those times everything in
his life came into question and he slipped into a deep depression.
“How could a man who rose to the top so fast lose everything just
as fast?” “What will I do next?” “Is anyone ever going to hire me
again?” “Is life even worth living?” These are things that he admits
to thinking during the year and a half that he couldn’t find work.
Even after extended unemployment and being saved from making
a decision that would ruin the rest of his career, he heard a
voice saying, “I have something better for you.” He kept working
hard and soon after was offered a position at ESPN, eventually
spending 9 years at the network. In 2013, Los Angeles became his
new home and the beginning of what he feels has been the best
years of his life both personally and professionally.
Dealing with the challenges of life, Mike eventually got
to the place where he understood counseling was necessary if
he wanted to be free and truly be happy. He understood that
throughout his journey he was hurt, but there were people that
he hurt as well. He shares a lot of this in his book and hopes that
by opening up and being transparent that our community will
seek counseling for the traumas that affect the lives they lead. He
advises that we seek professional resources available and don’t
try to fix ourselves. It doesn’t make you stronger to hold it in, it
makes you weaker. Writing the book was cathartic for him. “If it
wasn’t for this book, I don’t believe I would be where I am right
now in my career or personally. I wouldn’t have been able to let
go of my past and receive the blessings that I have,” says Mike.
“The things you do as a man doesn’t make you a man,” is
a quote that comes from Mike. He understood that to be a man,
there were plenty of things he needed to overcome, put aside and
admit. Admitting that he hurt his daughters was one. Admitting
that when in relationships, he didn’t treat people as well as he
should have was another. Mike worked daily to become the better
version of himself. He got the help he needed to become the
best person and father he could be. Becoming a role model to
not only his daughters but to every man of color who felt as if
they couldn’t overcome who they thought they were. In 2014, he
began writing the book that would take over 5 years to complete,
as the story of his life was developing. He put the book to the side
for a few years, but one day his life felt so heavy and he believed
that if he didn’t write how he felt, he was going to die. “The more
I wrote, the lighter I felt. I had to get everything off of my chest.
I felt everything in my life had turned around and I could see
things more clearly. I still have a long way to go. I have nothing
to hide and I have no problem putting it out there and exposing
myself,” said Mike. “We all have errors, we all have flaws, but it’s
not until you are willing to accept them and learn from your mistakes
that you can move forward.” During the process, he came
to understand why things in his life were the way they were. He
learned more about himself in terms of the way he was and why
he did the things he did. He was able to pinpoint his challenges
and eventually change the negatives into positives.
Realizing that he was ready for love, he went on Steve
Harvey’s talk show dating segment where he met model, mogul
and Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey. The two began
a long-distance romance that would eventually lead to Mike
proposing. During their courtship, Mike opened up to Cynthia
about his truths while sharing that he was writing a book about
his life and experiences. Allowing her to see his truths on paper
ultimately brought them closer together. Despite being apart of
the social scene, they felt as if they didn’t have to put on facades
with one another.
“I don’t have any shame. It’s my life and I can’t hide from
it. This book shares the image of who I was. This is what I’ve
gone through and this is what people in society go through. I
want people to know if I can grow through it, you can certainly
do it too,” he says.
Mike is currently working with the new Fox Soul
streaming platform available online or via the app. The platform
spotlights what’s impacting African-American and multi-ethnic
communities, speaking on such things as colorism, Afrofuturism,
relationships and so much more. The Mike and Donny Show is
a 2-hour show co-hosted by Mike and Donny Harrell, which airs
weekdays. His goal is to inspire his people to strive for that greatness
that lives inside of them.
When asked what Mike wanted his legacy to be, he
answered, “He was a good father, a great husband, and a great
friend. He wanted to change the world. He wanted to impact society
and bring everybody together. I lived to make people happy
and make them smile. I did my best to do it the right way. When
people think of me, I want them to smile.”
Mike Hill is a man who is the epitome of someone who
uses his life to inspire others. His story of truth, transparency and
transformation is one that everyone can learn from. Mike has
partnered with his beautiful fiancée Cynthia Bailey to develop,
host and produce a dating show to help other singles find love
called The Hookup. It’s not your average dating show, as it infuses
reality with a game show. You can also check out his new
show The Mike and Donny Show on Fox Soul. His new book
Open Mike will be out the first quarter of 2020.
Stay Connected with Mike via Instagram @ItsMikeHill
34 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
Photo Credit: Omar Piechurski
FAMILY 2019 / 35
- BY MONIQUE HOWARD -
Whether it’s the simple act of holding the door for a senior citizen
or helping a stranger who’s down and out, daily compassion transcends
the holiday joviality that inspires giving. It’s one of the most
beautiful aspects of human nature. Smile more and lend a helping
hand whenever you can. These actions can inspire what all people
seek in life– happiness.
Volunteering at homeless shelters, participating in food and
toy drives are some of the best ways to usher in the holiday spirit
by providing hope and letting those in need know that they are not
alone or forgotten.
As the family gathers around the dinner table to enjoy a holiday
meal, they will have the satisfaction of knowing someone else
is doing the same because they helped make it happen. A holiday
tradition will become an everyday practice that will last a lifetime. In
life, the season of giving never ends, and one of the greatest traditions
to pass on to the next generation is the joy of helping others.
36 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
BY: AARON CAMPBELL
While scrolling through Instagram, a page appears featuring a vibrant Black girl, posing
in typical kid settings (the park, the beach, her neighborhood) wearing eye-catching
clothing. One outfit features a matching dress and turban made from a bold print
covered in colorful fish. Another features a hot pink feathered jacket with the words
“Daddy’s Girl” sewn on the back. The page is full of striking children’s fashion in bold
patterns, prints and colors, all modeled with style by this same little girl.
FAMILY 2019 / 37
WHILE THERE ARE SEVERAL
CHILDREN’S FASHION AND
MODELING PAGES ON SO-
CIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS,
THE “DADDY DRESSED ME
BY MG” PAGE HAS A TWIST.
The person responsible for designing and sewing the clothes
featured happens to be the little girl’s father. Michael Gardner
has cultivated and nourished his relationship with his daughter
in a rather unique way, using their love of fashion and sewing.
Michael’s intention to use his talents to lean into his daughter’s
interests has proven to be successful, subsequently evolving into
an amazing wardrobe for her, a website and blog for him, and an
unbreakable bond between the two of them. We had the opportunity
to interview Micahel to learn more about “Daddy Dressed
Me by MG.”
What was your first introduction to fashion?
I have always had an appreciation for fashion and the opportunity
we have to express ourselves through what we wear. Growing up,
I remember observing the women in my family dressing in various
styles, colors, prints, accessories and creative hairstyles and
that inspires me today.
How did sewing in particular turn into a way for you to
bond with your daughter?
One of my main goals as a father was to ensure my daughter loved
herself and felt confident in the way she looked and her abilities. I
was in search of a new way to utilize my creativity while learning
how to be a father, and sewing became the outlet I used to conquer
both goals. I began sewing clothing for Ava, and she would
model all the pieces. This experience has helped us be able to
communicate, encourage and support each other; we are both so
proud of what we can accomplish together.
What was the process you went through deciding to
start this business?
As I began to learn how to share, I would share what I created
on social media platforms. I was encouraged to start accepting
orders to make custom clothing and I opened an Etsy shop a few
years ago. After doing this, I realized I could not commit the time
to make that business a success, and I shifted my focus to solely
sewing for my daughter. I began to blog about it and created
my website. Currently, I only post to Instagram, and I plan to relaunch
our blog in the next few months.
How does your daughter play a role in your design process?
Ava is fully involved in shopping for fabrics, creating ideas, choosing
accessories and does a great job bringing the clothes to life
in photos. She is present throughout the entire process from me
“ONE OF MY MAIN
GOALS AS A FATHER
WAS TO ENSURE MY
HERSELF AND FELT
CONFIDENT IN THE
WAY SHE LOOKED
AND HER ABILITIES.”
cutting the fabric to putting the finishing touches on everything
I create. We sometimes disagree on the details; short or maxi
length, sleeves or no sleeves or what accessories look best, but
we come to a resolution, which is usually Ava getting her way. She
also gives her opinion on the locations to take her pictures. We
are a team and really enjoy collaborating with each other.
38 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
How has your daughter influenced your personal style?
My daughter has helped me step out of my comfort zone. I value
her opinion, and she is honest in telling me what looks good and
what does not. In teaching her to be confident, I became more
confident in myself. I feel encouraged to wear whatever I like and
feel great within myself. I wear more bold colors, mix prints and
pay more attention to how my clothes fit. Creating custom outfits
for her often puts a spotlight on me as well, so I’ve learned to
make sure I’m well-dressed.
Do you have plans to expand into other fashion areas?
I enjoy creating accessories as well. I’ve created earrings, a few
handbags and I’ll be creating a pair of sandals very soon. I also do
my daughter’s hair and nails. I have become a one-stop shop for
all of Ava’s beauty and fashion needs.
What advice would you give to fathers struggling to find
ways to connect to their daughters (or sons)?
Find what your child is interested in and engage in those activities
with them. Being present and encouraging them along the
way makes a huge difference. Open the lines of communication
to learn what they’re curious about and spend time helping them
find their passion. One of the reasons I chose sewing was because
I noticed Ava’s interest in fashion. She would compliment people’s
clothing, always noticed nice shoes and was infatuated with
all things sparkly and that had glitter. Get to know your child and
observe what they’re attracted to, and you’ll be able to build a
Make sure to follow their Instagram @DaddyDressed-
FAMILY 2019 / 39
40 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
FORMER SUPERBOWL CHAMPION
IS USING HIS IMAGINATION TO MOBILIZE THE YOUTH
INTERVIEW BY: MANNY ADEYEYE | WRITTEN BY: DANE YOUNG
SUPER BOWL 50 CHAMPION, KAYVON
WEBSTER HAS A WAY WITH WORDS. He is
using his star power and vernacular to invigorate at-risk youth,
which gives them just a little more hope to make better life decisions,
to affirm who they are, and their willingness to succeed.
Kayvon’s creativity and passion to inspire has lead to the creation
of The Adventures of Kim and Kay, an animation series devoted
to providing real-life tips and encouragement on how to set goals
and seeing them materialize. Education, family, and love nurtured
this New Orleans Saints cornerback into the multifaceted
success story he is today. In this interview, Kayvon shared more
insights into the animated series, his other social initiatives, and
Describe the community you grew up in?
I grew up in Opa-locka, Florida. It was a rough area. In my neighborhood,
there were a lot of great nonprofessional players that
inspired me to keep playing. Unfortunately, a lot of them that
I grew up watching didn’t have a chance to make it out themselves.
They were faced with life’s realities that ultimately the
streets and gang life were their best option for survival. They really
didn’t have anybody to motivate them. We didn’t really have
too many role models to look up to. Mike McKenzie was probably
one of the few neighborhood success stories that I knew of.
He offered football camps in our area and so did Brett Perriman.
They kind of inspired me to look at the NFL and football as a
way out. I went to Carol City High School where pro-athletes
Santana Moss and Mike McKenzie attended. Those guys were
like role models for us. I was grateful to have them as examples
just to know that your upbringing does determine your destiny.
This helped me to accomplish my dream.
When did you realize you had to make something
of yourself and rise above the stigma of
Living in Miami we grew up pretty faster than in other places.
Around 14 I knew that I desired more than what was offered
there. While in the ninth grade, I came to the conclusion that I
had to figure it out. If I’m going to do something with my life, it’s
going to be up to me and nobody else. Nobody else is going to
push you as hard as you will push yourself. My pops never played
football. My birth pops wasn’t really around. My mom was always
at work to provide for us. She came to the games that she could.
I had a good support system. But when it came to the things that
I needed, I knew I was going to have to count on me. At an early
age, I told my mom that she didn’t have to worry about me. I was
going to figure it out.
Tell us about the Adventures of Kim and Kay.
It actually came from my idea I had a long time ago. Growing up
I used to watch a show called Bruno the Kid. Bruce Willis had
his own cartoon. It’s an old cartoon. I don’t know many people
that watched it but it is something I watched. I always wanted
to be someone who was innovative. Nobody in my family really
had anything for me to go off of as a guideline on how to navigate
through life. Sports gave me a platform for experiencing all
these different things. Cartoons can be a means for inspiration
for kids like how Bruno the Kid motivated me. I have a friend
named Jason Canela that I went to high school with. He is an
actor on Young and Restless. During the time of my injury, I
reached out to him and told him I wanted to get into the film
world and let’s do a cartoon. He linked me up with a few people
and they brought the vision to life. Now we are just waiting for it
to continue to unfold.
What ways do you think athletes should use
I think anybody who has a platform should use it as a tool to inspire
the youth. It’s not just about us, it’s about us uplifting everybody
else. Giving back is doing God’s work. We are helping them
have more of a positive mindset. We have to be selfless when it
comes to that because not everybody is fortunate. I would tell
another athlete to pay it forward.
Talk to us about the Kayvon Webster’s Gamechangers
We do a lot of work with underprivileged kids that don’t have
opportunities that other kids may have. I just had a couple of
workshops where I took a bunch of kids to Microsoft to learn
gaming and coding. Introducing them to the tech world. This is
just one example of the things we do. But our hope is to teach
and inform them of other opportunities. That you don’t need to
play football or any sport in order to succeed. Giving them the
confidence of knowing that they can succeed at whatever they
put their minds to.
To learn more about Kayvon’s projects and how you can support
FAMILY 2019 / 41
42 / THE THE QUINTESSENTIAL GENTLEMAN WWW.THEQGENTLEMAN.COM
THE LARGEST BLACK-OWNED BANK TEAMS UP WITH
- TO CLOSE THE RACIAL WEALTH GAP -
BY: ERIC K. THOMAS
The Banker is a film that tells the story of one of the first Black banks in America in
the 1950-60s. Over fifty years later, OneUnited Bank is the largest Black-owned bank
in America and recently they announced BankBlack X, a nationwide plan to close the
racial wealth gap. The goal of BankBlack X is to galvanize the community to share the
truth about Black people and money and make financial literacy a core value of the Black
community. One of the partners of this campaign is BMe Community. We had the opportunity
to speak with their CEO/Co-founder Trabian Shorters to learn more about the
non-profit, their partnership with OneUnited Bank and how they make black men aware
of their excellence!
WHAT IS BME COMMUNITY AND WHY WAS IT
We’re a network of black leaders who have committed ourselves
to making society better for black people. We work in non-profit
land, finance and government. We created BMe Community
when I was vice president of the John S. and James L. Knight
Foundation, which is a National Foundation headquartered in
HOW DID THE PARTNERSHIP WITH ONEUNIT-
ED BANK COME ABOUT?
OneUnited is the largest Black-owned bank in the country. The
nonprofit came about independent of OneUnited Bank and
within a couple of years, we overlapped and realized that our
work around building stronger black communities and their
work around building black wealth and also strong black communities
totally overlapped. It was very simple for us to make
the decision to deposit with OneUnited. Unlike Wells Fargo or
Bank of America or any of these other banks, the majority of
OneUnited’s lending is to us and for us, whereas those other
banks you might get 1% of their loan portfolio having anything to
do with us and they often look upon us as fee generators, not as
people whose prosperity they’re trying to grow. But OneUnited
in contrast, of course, looks at growing black wealth and closing
the loan gap so it made perfect sense for us to deposit with them.
WHAT DOES THAT PARTNERSHIP LOOK LIKE?
We partnered with them about three years ago because
FAMILY 2019 / 43
CEO/FOUNDER BME COMMUNITY
to investing in and developing
the black community
matched our interest
in building a more caring
and prosperous black
community, which is our
nonprofit’s goal. We run
fellowships and executive
retreats for black leaders.
We fund black men who
are committed to making a
difference in their various
walks of life and we make
grants. As part of our partnership
with OneUnited we
put a million dollars on deposit
and we observed within a year they had turned our million-dollar
deposits into two and a half million dollars’ worth
of low to moderate worth of property loans and low to moderate-income
From our perspective OneUnited is a social impact
bank, they’re an excellent bank because merely depositing with
them gives us the ability to fight asset poverty for free. We retain
full access to all of our funds but because we had our funds on
deposit, they were able to leverage them and lend to our community
so we just think that’s the best of all possible worlds.
HOW IS BME INVOLVED WITH THE BANK-
BLACK X CAMPAIGN?
What OneUnited calls the X Factor is this new generation of
leaders who are activating to grow black wealth and black
prosperity. I think it’s brilliant and beautiful that we have a national
institution that is committed to this new type of black
consciousness where we own and control our finances and we
literally have a card as a symbol and a bank as a resource that
believes in us and helps us to believe in ourselves.
YOU WORK WITH A LOT OF MEN OF COLOR
WITH FUNDING PROJECTS AND THEIR BUSI-
NESSES. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES
AND HARDSHIPS THAT MEN OF COLOR ARE
What’s fascinating about our people is that we are characterized
and defined entirely by hardships, by challenges, setbacks
and failures. What BMe focuses on is how we have been assets
to this country. And by the way, black people have always been
assets since before this country had a name. We’re literally on
America’s books as assets, that’s how we arrived here. We are
literally the only population that has always been an asset to
the nation and built the wealth of this nation. We continue to
build wealth in this nation. We are the most likely to serve in the
military. We’re the most likely to be actively engaged with our
Black women are the most likely to actually start businesses
in this country. And by the way, we use and get these statistics
from the US Army on black enlistment from the Center
for Disease Control and Prevention on black men and their engagement
with their children being number one in the country.
Black women starting businesses comes from the Department
of Commerce. We don’t have to go to some radical source to
find this data. Our case is black folks are literally always an asset
to this country and we continue to be assets for this country.
We rather be defined by our assets. We’d rather be defined by
our aspirations. We’d rather be defined by our contributions and
OneUnited understands that.
A LOT OF TIMES, WE AS BLACK BUSINESSMEN
DON’T KNOW HOW TO EFFICIENTLY USE OUR
MONEY. OUTSIDE OF FUNDING, HOW ELSE
DO YOU HELP MEN OF COLOR SPECIFICALLY
GROW PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
One of the main things we do is help black men and women be
aware of all the different ways that their contributing and making
a difference and also aware of how so many other things
that we do and we take as normal are actually extraordinary.
According to Maryland’s Small Business Administration, black
men who start businesses are far more likely to have some sort
of give back or social impact built into their business plan. The
idea of hiring from the community. The idea of giving support
to local programs, sports or youth programs. We do that very
commonly and we don’t necessarily even recognize that is actually
uncommon. Most businesses do not do that. We do that as
a sense of being part of the community. We help black folks to
become more aware of what they’re already doing.
The second thing we do is network with these outstanding
black men and women who have committed their lives
to making things better for themselves and for others. We pull
them into a network. We literally give them an index of each
other. We give them an online platform that they can use to
meet, connect and work with each other on projects. We have a
training curriculum that teaches them the philosophical roots of
cultural difference. It teaches them how to write op-eds and be
influential in the media space. It teaches them how to influence,
how to organize campaigns and how to do fundraising. We give
them personal to social financial literacy.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM THE
NONPROFIT OR WHAT ELSE CAN WE LOOK
FORWARD IN THE FUTURE?
OneUnited recognizes that BMe Community totally believes
in its mission of black uplifting. We have a very complementary
relationship that’s all about building not only the integrity and
respect for our people but the wealth and opportunity for our
people as well. So, heading into 2020 we’re going to partner
with them on this BankBlack X campaign and we’re also doing
a campaign we call “Black L.O.V.E”. The letters in Black Love
stand for; L is for love us, O own ours, V is vote black and E is to
Excel. So, we believe that if we do these four things, Love, Own,
Vote and Excel then our communities will prosper.
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