Are You Fed Up with How People View You?
Recently I came across an Instagram account that caught my eye. There it was filled with images of well dressed black men, who on the surface had one thing in common ok maybe two...They were all black and bearded!
These pictures caught my attention immediately because these men were all well put together, I mean they looked FINE!!! Well groomed, well dressed in the outdoors being one with nature and had some serious fashion game. It took me no more than two seconds to hit that follow button and so began my journey understanding who the www.beardeddappergents.com were.
Each day I would see posts from Stuylin (George Myrie) that captured my attention so much, I automatically felt I needed to add a comment, just to let this man know I appreciated what he was doing. In retrospect, I had no clue what he was doing I simply just loved seeing his photos. And so, as I commented on his post daily low and behold Stuylin began to respond. This went on for a few weeks and with each post I began to better understand the movement this group of men embarked upon.
Having spent most of my summers living in New York City and because half of my family migrated there from the islands, over time many of my friends hailed from there. It was through one of my friends that I was introduced to Stuylin himself. At the risk of sounding cliché you really can never judge a book by its cover. From my first conversation with him I heard an energized man who wanted to help the youth of his community and understood the challenges they faced. Stuylin embodied the word sharing and support. This was a man who wanted to take his hard earned money to support young black men and spend his dollars supporting black businesses.
Simply put the Bearded Dapper Gents are about promoting black men in a positive light. Living in Toronto I never truly appreciated the struggles some of our black men in New York City may be going through but Stuylin offered that lens. He let me understand why it was important for over 50 black men to take a photo silently shouting out “I AM A MAN.” He helped me understand why it was important to provide tailored suites to young black men who were part of the foster care system. Stuylin and his partners showed how they could change the narrative on how people viewed them and their community by simply getting involved and supporting their local black businesses. All of this started through the posting of some pictures. As the images grew so did the movement of these four (4) black men. They put on photo walking tours to help educate those interested in how to best utilize a camera for that optimal picture. And even recently, conducted a Thrift Store working tour to introduce folks to the gems that are neatly hidden in gently used clothing stores. While I’ve only communicated with two members of the group, Stuylin and Collis, I can’t wait to see where this group of talented men are headed next.
At a click of a lens these men have shown their Shades of Influence.