03 March 2014

516. "Man At Home"

The beginning of this editorial initially took place nearly two summers ago. My dear friend and sometimes collaborator Joshua Kissi first told me of a story he began putting together in his head, which eventually ended up being the skeleton for Street Etiquette's editorial and film, "Slumflower". 

My father was an obvious early source of inspiration in relation to the father figure of this story. Being much older than the ones of my peers (he was in his mid 40's when I was born), he was very much a man of his era. From his trademarked mute demeanor to style of dress (also very muted but effectively right to the point), his house was no exception to this. Pop never wore jeans and was well into his 70's when athletic sneakers found it's way onto his feet for the first time ever.

"Man At Home" is also inspired by my contemporaries, who I strongly feel are pushing the unrealistic boundaries on what it means to "be a man". No longer are we bound by archaic ideologies of gender roles in the household. Pop culture and society generally regards women as the primary caretakers of the home, while men are either bread winners and / or sports watching, emotionally void couch potatoes. This point of view does not reflect households that share their domestic responsibilities equally.

These forward thinking, progressive minded men naturally carry an air of confidence with them that does not suggest overcompensating for a neglected emotional or personal hangup of yesteryear. And they just so happen to look damn good while doing it, too.

The final and most personal narrative involves the face staring before you as the story's protagonist. Illuminating any preconceived notions placed on black men, younger and older, and their roles as positive contributors in society.

This set of images are meant to display a few of many nuances that lives within the soul of any man. We are complex, lovers, fighters, fearful, emotional, vulnerable, curious, evolving, maturing, all rolled up into one and then some.

More thoughts from Jian De Leon over at GQ.

- J.E.J.