Brennan Manuel

Meet Brennan Manuel, menswear designer from New Orleans who's truly living out his dreams in the most creative and expressive ways possible. His journey into and through fashion is nothing short of inspiring and the true definition of listening and following ones heart. While embarking on a law degree from Tulane School of Law, Brennan would have an epiphany and go on to make one of the best decisions for his career. He enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology's Menswear Design program and the rest is history. As founder of the Brennan Manuel collection and 6AMa clothing line representing those who believe luxury is a state of mind; those who are up early to rise and getting in late because they know success doesn't stop, Brennan's approach to life and fashion are as seamless as the hems and as intricate as the stitching of his garments. From the school of law to the architect of fashion design, Brennan embodies his brand and remains yet a mysterious man of many talents. Get to know a bit more about Brennan as we caught up with him not long ago. 

BMWB:  Why did you decide to let the beard grow?

Brennan:  An ex girlfriend of mine from years back was Muslim. Her being around so many bearded men, she recommended that I let it grow and stop cutting it.  Since then, it has been a pivotal part of my "look".

BMWB:  What is your beard care regime?

Brennan: Very simple actually. I'll shampoo when needed and apply light organic castor oil while still damp.  Brush through with the grain.

BMWB:  What are your hobbies?

Brennan:  My hobbies include designing and styling. I'm an art curator, writer and generally a chill, sociable person.

BMWB:  What organizations are you a part of?

Brennan:  The Temple of Self Actualization

BMWB: So Brennan, what does the beard mean to you?

Brennan: I think it shapes my face and give is more gravitas.

BMWB: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Brennan: I think learning is the best intimacy.

BMWB:  What are you most proud of?

Brennan: I'm proud of being able to express myself the way I choose to.

BMWB: What do you feel about the social climate of black men in America?

Brennan:  Black men are feared because they are still thought of as physically superhuman predators. A myth that was created by scientific racism, and continually perpetuated by fostering criminal behavior through the pulling of resources in black communities through things such as the American Housing Act of 1949.  As much as black men are feared they are also secretly revered as the arbiters of what is cool in America's pop culture. They are the country's taste-makers, trend-setters, cultural influencers, which is powerful.

BMWB:  What is your greatest strength?

Brennan:  My greatest strength is my creativity.

BMWB: Tell us your top 5 things on your bucket list

Brennan:

  1. Travel more
  2. Love more
  3. Fine tune my focus and vision 
  4. Try my hand at music again 
  5. Express myself through film as well

Anttwon Thames

I am a culture
— Anonymous Culture

Meet Anttwon Thames, better known as Anonymous Culture, an American music artist and full time rapper from Pleasant Grove (Dallas), TX. Thames has had such a colorful and successful career thus far, and what stands out the most besides the relentless talent, is his signature style and look. From the unique haircuts to the beard to rocking a well tailored suit while spitting the hottest 16, Anttwon Thames is the perfect blend of hip hop and gentleman. His eagerness to achieve beyond his wildest dreams while being a positive role model for black boys and men across the country is admirable. A consistent blue print for the things an independent successful grind can do for you as a rapper when you are true to yourself, your brand and music, Anonymous Culture has broken the mold and is leading the way in showing our youth they can do great and amazing things. With his "I Am A Culture" brand, he empowers both youth and adults to embrace their individuality. Still on a high from the recent release of his latest project "The Annexation of Puerto Rico" and just days away from finding out what will baby #3 be (we're super excited for him and his wife), we were able to chop it up with the the Greedy Groove lyric slayer, and got to know him a little better. Check out what he has to say below. 

BMWB: Why did you decide to let the beard grow?

© Black Men With Beards

© Black Men With Beards

Anonymous Culture: I wanted to look older. I look very young for my age without it.

BMWB: What is your beard care regime?

Anonymous Culture: Honestly, I don't have one. God made me this way. I get my haircut and beard trimmed once a week. The barber shapes it up for me but no "regime".

BMWB: What are your hobbies?

Anonymous Culture:  Making music, playing Madden, being a dad and husband. I also enjoy spending time with my dogs, working them out or just playing around with them. 

BMWB: What organizations are you a part of?

Anonymous Culture: I am the music artist" Anonymous Culture" and owner of the brand "I Am A Culture."

I’ve changed the story of the stereotype
— Anonymous Culture

BMWB: Well Mr. Thames, tell us what does the beard mean to you?

Anonymous Culture: At this point, it means a lot to me. It's just as important as the haircut I wear. Actually it's become the cut itself. I don't feel complete if it (my beard) isn't right.

BMWB: So Anonymous, tell us a bit about yourself.

Anonymous Culture: I'm 5'7, brown eyes, black hair!!! Hahahahaha, no seriously, I'm a clown. I love to prank and play jokes on my close friends and love ones. I'm not very open to new people, but love making people happy. Weird right? I may be one of the last ones to love, LOVE! I love love and everything about it. 

BMWB: What are you most proud of?

Anonymous Culture: I'm most proud of myself. The fact that what I've come from and where I am and the visions to where I want to be...I've changed the story to the stereotype!

BMWB: What do you feel about the social climate of black men in America?

Anonymous Culture: I believe we are now in a transition for the greater good. I'm noticing the effects of what's going on in the world actually making a lot of our black men better men, fathers, and people.

© D. Lacy Photography 

© D. Lacy Photography 

BMWB: What are your greatest strengths?

Anonymous Culture: My greatest strength is having and keeping a glass half full mentality in life. With many curve balls thrown my way, sometimes it's easy to get down on yourself and become stressed out. One thing about me, I stay positive through it all.

BMWB: Tell us the top 5 things on your bucket list

Anonymous Culture

  1. Buy a house with a moat
  2. Sell out American Airlines Center (Dallas)
  3. Visit EVERY country 
  4. Own a building on the Dallas "Skyline"
  5. Purchase the city of Honey Grove, TX and give it to my granny for all she's endured there! 

Do yourselves a favor and press play on the video below, check out Anonymous Culture doing what he does best...

Anonymous Culture

"Go Getta"

The Annexation of Puerto Rico Album Available Now!

Video by Jeff Adair Films Video Production Co

www.AnonymousCulture.com

www.iAmaCulture.com 

K.G. Graham

Being black in America is a full time job.
— K.G. Graham

Meet K.G. Graham, the Panamanian BK Texan (yes you read that right) who's brought immense light to just how powerful the right COSIGN can be for one's career and life for that matter. What he has done with his publication and media company over the last 5 years is nothing short of the by product of hard work and dedication to a solid vision.  As the founder and creative director of COSIGN Magazine and COSIGN Media Group, K.G. has created a bar and consistently raised it with each new publication release and with every dope curated fashion forward event.  With "The COSIGN Experience," an annual fundraising event produced by COSIGN Magazine and COSIGN Media to celebrate the publications anniversary happening in just a couple of months, we're excited to shine some light on K.G. at this time. Nice beard for someone who says they're fairly new to the beard game. Get to know Mr. COSIGN a little better below. 

BMWB:  Why did you decide to let the beard grow?

K.G.:  I decided to let my beard grow because I wanted to try something different.  When I first started growing facial hair I always had the thin chin strap but I looked like everyone else.  When I spent those two years in Afghanistan I really got to see some of the most amazing beards from the locals to the Navy Seals who grew their beards out for missions.  I noticed they stood out, and I wanted to try that one day.  Now that I'm a little older I decided why not.

BMWB:  What is your beard care regime?

K.G.:  My beard regime is pretty simple.  I shampoo and condition it 2-3 times a week and make sure to apply coconut oil to it.  I'm pretty new to the beard game, but once I figure out the best regime for me, I'm coming for the elite beards, lol. 

BMWB:  What are your hobbies?

K.G.:  I truly enjoy playing basketball, working out, reading, and learning new things.

BMWB:  Are there any organizations you belong to?

K.G.:  I am the Founder of and Creative Director of COSIGN Magazine and COSIGN Media Group

BMWB:  Well K.G. we'd all like to know, what does the beard mean to you?

K.G.:  The beard means strength and confidence to me.  Most people who have beards are confident and strong people.  They say strength is in your hair. Mines will be my facial hair.

BMWB:  Tell us a bit about yourself.

K.G.:  Growing up with Panamanian parent help shape my work ethic.  I'm overly ambitious because they truly instilled the belief in me that if I want something, work for it and it will be yours.  I also grew up a military brat so I've lived all over the U.S.  In 2009 I took a contracting job working in Afghanistan. I spent two years of my life overseas between Afghanistan and Dubai.  Those two years help sap me to become the man I am today. 

Creating a company is cool, raising a daughter is monumental!
— K.G. Graham

BMWB:  What are you most proud of?

K.G.:  I'm most proud of my daughter.  She's nine years old and recently became student of the month at her elementary school and the MVP of her volleyball team.  She's been through a lot in her nine years of existence and and she has the best attitude, she genuinely loves people, and she motivates me to be the best person I can be.  Creating a company is cool, raising a daughter is monumental!

BMWB:  What do you feel about the social climate of Black Men in America?

K.G.:  I feel two ways about the social climate of black men in America.  One, its the perfect time to be black in America because we create whats cool.  We are pop culture.  Companies are targeting their marketing campaigns to our demographic.  We have the power to influence.  Then two, it's difficult because racism, still exists. prime example our President and the fact that black men are still getting murdered by cops who are suppose to serve and protect.  Being black in America is a full time job.

BMWB:  What do you feel is your greatest strength?

K.G.:  My greatest strength is the support of my team, family, and friends. Without them I wouldn't be able to operate in in the capacity that I do.  They help me with ideas, concepts, and execution. Without them, I am nothing.

BMWB:  Tell us the top 5 things on your bucket list 

K.G.

  1.  Travel the world the entire year
  2.  Go skydiving 
  3.  Document a road trip from L.A. to Brooklyn
  4.  See the pyramids 
  5.  Buy land in my native country Panama 

Be sure to check out whats the latest in music, entertainment and fashion to get that COSIGN by checking out the official website www.cosignmag.com.  Follow K.G.'s pictorial moves on Instagram and grab you a ticket or two two the COSIGN Experience, happening this summer in Dallas, TX  July 13 through the 16 2017. 

Erik Blaylock

“The beard means freedom of expression to me especially as a black man in a more corporate environment, its my way of expressing myself without saying a word.”
- Erik Blaylock

Meet Erick Blaylock, the architectural project manager by day hip hop MC by night from Houston whose creative skills with a pen and a pad are evident in more ways than one. A graduate of Prairie View A&M University with a degree in architecture, Erik says being able to study architecture at a predominantly black university only enhanced his love for the study of it. Being that this industry overall reflects the opposite in terms of diversity and minority involvement, Erik takes great pride in his profession. With aspirations of becoming one of very few black licensed and registered architect. We caught up with Erik to get a bit more insight into the mind and the beard.

BMWB:  Erik, what is it about architecture that you love?

Erik:  I fell in love with architecture as a kid and what I loved most was the balance of the artistic and concrete ideals. I'd say that every architect is an artist but not every artist is an architect. I love the fact that when you step inside of a building, you are experiencing the goals and vision of that designer as well as the oneness of the architecture with nature. I'm fascinated by building compositions and the process of going from paper to a real live constructed building that started with a creative thought. 

BMWB:  Why did you decide to let your beard grow?

Erik:  I decided to let my beard grow because of how frequent my facial hair grows. As weird as it may sound, it's easier for me to maintain a beard than not.  I also liked the fullness and how it helps define my face, plus the uniqueness because not everyone can grow a full beard.

BMWB:  What is your beard care regime?

Erik:  I use pure virgin olive oil as a moisturizer so that it doesn't get too dry or Kiehl's Beard Grooming oil as a softener.  I feel as though the beard and face are compliments of each other so I use Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing face wash, Calendula Deep cleansing face wash as well as their ultra face cream to balance the look of the facial skin with the beard. 

BMWB:  What are your hobbies?

Erik:  I like reading books and listening to records. I also like to watch sports and work out.

BMWB: Are there any organizations you're a part of? 

Erik: I'm part of a hip hop/soul collective called The Hue. You can find us here.

BMWB:  Well Erik, tell us what exactly does the beard mean to you?

Erik:  The beard means freedom of expression to me, especially as a black man in a more corporate environment. It's my way of expressing myself without saying a word. It also means business - there is a sense of seriousness that comes with wearing a full beard whether intentional or not. 

In short, the climate for black men in America is as it always was, maybe not in your face as the past but there are certain subtleties that remind us that no matter the socioeconomic status, you are still a black man in an America that at one point considered you 3/5ths of  a man.
- Erik Blaylock

BMWB:  Tell us a bit about Erik the MC aka Equality?

Erik:  Aside from working in architecture as a Project Manager, I am also in a hip-hop/soul group known as The Hue, based out of Houston, TX.  There is a balance or walking a fine line between both professions. In the group I'm one of the MC's along with another dope MC by the name of Savvi, and a sensational vocalist named Alycia Miles aka Venus Fly.  As an MC my job to find the most creative way to express feelings or ideas and thoughts aren't necessarily new but said in a new way or a way that makes the listener say "I never thought about it like that ."  Our goal is to offer growth and maturity with each musical project because people naturally grow and so the music should reflect that as well.  We don't stay in one grade, we graduate, we get older, we have more life experiences to expound on. 

BMWB: We love the way you broke that down and can see your creative and professional skills have found a way to fuse together. 

Erik: Yea, as for ME as an MC, especially coming from Houston or as we call is HUESTON, I want to show a balance that takes me out of the stereotypical box that some associate our sound and lyrical topics but still keep a solid foundation rooted in my city, just told from a different prospective.  We are currently working on a new project but until then you can find us at www.thehuelife.com

BMWB:  What re you thoughts on the social climate of Black Men In America?

Erik:  This is a tough one. Black men are not a monolith so the climate may vary depending on the perspective, but I do know that history teaches us not to take the Westernized ideals about us for granted. Since entering America, the climate for black men has been based off reinforced stereotypes because of westernized inferiority complexes. America was not designed for us, so we have had to adapt and push forward. In short, the climate for black men in America is as it always was, maybe not in your face as the past but there are certain subtleties that remind us that no matter the socioeconomic status, you are still a black man in an America that at one point considered you 3/5ths of a man. But as the ancestors did before us, we persevere in spite of to ensure the climate is better for the next generation.

BMWB:  What are you most proud of?

Erik:  It would have to be graduating from college. I was the first in my immediate family to do so. 

BMWB:  What is your greatest strength?

Erik:  My creative imagination, I feel creativity is something that never gets old and whatever you imagine you can achieve. 

BMWB:  Tell the top 5 things on your bucket list

Erik:  

  1. Travel more places outside of the country 
  2. Get my architectural license 
  3. Design my own home
  4. Own more property 
  5. Go back and teach architecture at my Alma Mater ( PVU)

Photos provided by Rare Sighting Photography

Franklin Moss

“How I present myself, sets the scale on how far my voice travels.  Fashion has always been the idea of ones style, the feeling of individuality but it is truly my expression of being a Black Man and expressing the greatness of which I am and where I came from.”

— Franklin Moss
© Black Men With Beards

© Black Men With Beards

Meet Franklin Moss, the distinguished gentleman with impeccable style from Fort Worth, Texas.

As a business analyst for JP Morgan Chase and the Founder of  Franklin & Anthony, a bespoke custom suit company, Moss has made it not only acceptable but stylish as well to flaunt the beard in a cooperate setting.

In times where trends and fads in mens fashion could raise a few eyebrows, Moss promotes and advocates the importance of a well dressed man. Would it be too cliche to say when you look good, you feel good? Not at all to Franklin Moss. He likes to lead by example. Having founded a suit making company, it is only right he rocks a suit daily. 

All men with beards have a great story as to why they decided to let the beard grow. Franklin's is actually quite charming.

BMWB: Why did you decide to let your beard grow?

Franklin: Originally, I had my face bald. But my wife asked me to grow it out in 2014. I started maintaining it and that's when the beard game came.

Photography Credit: LaJerrick Rick Crawford 

Photography Credit: LaJerrick Rick Crawford 

BMWB: What are your hobbies?

Franklin: Mens Fashion. I like finding the perfect fabric, thinking of the best combination. I enjoy putting women in wonderful stylish attire, listening to music and battling intellectual debates. Playing dominoes. I destroy self esteems on the domino table. I love eating pizza and finding delicious dishes. I also love cuddling.

BMWB: Are there any organizations you're a part of?

Franklin: Community Frontline, a group about the Ft. Worth community in all aspects of its growth and development. I'm also a member of the NAACP and most recent The Black Dandies, which is group of fashion influencers that are inspired by their culture and the people we mentor or look to in our surrounding world. 

Photography Credit: Jessica Williams 

Photography Credit: Jessica Williams 

BMWB: So Franklin, what does the beard mean to you?

Franklin: It is the equivalent of the lion's mane to a lion's kingship. It represents my crown. Its my tickler and thigh rubber (joking). I feel strength, I feel more of a man but that's maybe because so many can't grow one. 

© Black Men With Beards

© Black Men With Beards

BMWB: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Franklin: Well, I love long walks on the stair master and deep dish pizza, lol.  Well, I'm a so called modern day Renaissance man, a man in love with music ranging from rap to jazz and knowing the history behind it.  I am encouraged by the culture of my people. I enjoy learning new facts,  old myths and new information about my history, finding art and seeing shows( but such a movie buff). I'm also a goofy individual. I move with a persona of being a cool guy but I'm a goof ball. Also hella manish.

By owning a custom suit company Franklin & Anthony, wearing a suit became a way of self marketing. Franklin vowed to wear a "good" suit every day. Creating those positive images of successful black men, Moss is dedicated to making sure that he represents for other black males, both old and young, so that they can be proud and aspire to be as well. 

“I started to grow in pride, knowing that I was a well dressed black man and people looked at me as a successful individual even more. The suit represents a sign of my current mindset, my potential position, and how far from my start I have come.” 
— Franklin Moss

BMWB: What are you most proud of?

Franklin: Talking to my wife she helped me to see the thing that I’m most proud of is my willingness to step out on faith and build a business without a background in fashion. I stepped out of my comfort zone, researched, and will continue to do so, all aspects of custom tailoring, and had faith that God would open doors to facilitate growth. I’m proud of my company Franklin & Anthony, the direction we’re going, and proud to have a family that stands beside me and supports my dream.

BMWB: What are your thoughts about the social climate of Black Men in America.

Franklin: I believe society paints a picture that black men are a lost cause. They highlight our criminal statistics while ignoring our accomplishments. We’re shown as being absent in the home, non committal in relationships, unfaithful, and not able or even wanting to provide for our families. That’s why Franklin & Anthony is so important. We want to get our black men back in suits. Looking a certain way causes you to feel a certain way, and then act a certain way. It’s important that we change the way we look at ourselves and not allow society’s attitude toward us determine who are.

BMWB: What do you feel is your greatest strength?

Franklin: My wife revealed to me that my greatest strength is my ability to never meet a stranger. I can walk any where and work the room, able to open up conversation with any individual and open up as well a have them open up in conversation naturally. My next greatest strength Is my wife, who when I’m at my lowest helps me to remember where I am. Her tactics might not be there greatest but it works none the less.

BMWB: Tell us the top 5 things on your bucket list

Franklin: 

  1. Franklin & Anthony built it into a franchise of beautiful shops around the world of full bespoke experience as I envision giving to my clients
  2. Skateboard in Tokyo, Japan
  3. Go to a crowded bar and yell " Drinks on me!" ( and mean it)
  4. Watch my children grow and have children 
  5. live to the age of an old man that has traveled far and wide, leaving something righteous for his great great grandchildren

Keep up with Franklin by following him on Instagram and Facebook

Darren Harper

I've personally been on a fitness journey that has led me to try new ways of keeping healthy. If you've ever been to New Orleans before, you know our food is sinfully delicious and incredibly fattening, which led me to Get Up N Ride, a weekly event where tons of people get together and ride 10 miles through out the heart of NOLA. During one of our rest stops, I saw this bearded guy taking pictures.

As a photographer by trade, I tend to meet tons of other shooters out and about, so I approached him and struck up a conversation aboutphotography. Living in New Orleans, a city that is steeped in rich culture, you meet all kinds of souls, and there isn't a shortage of the eclectic creatives and down to earth people with good vibes. Darren definitely fits in this category.

Working in the Energy Sector as Industrial Quality Control Inspector, his passion lies in making music and helping others. Inspired by authenticity, experiences and genuine people, he loves learning, sharing and experiencing new things. Check out what he has to say below!

BMWB: What is your beard regime?
Darren: I don't cut it. Done. I grew it as a test of will for the summer. I promised I wouldn't cut my hair or beard until I finished my creative projects this summer. Needless to say I still have a beard.

BMWB: What are the top five things on your bucket list?

Darren: 1. Visit Africa
2. Skydive
3. Complete an album and perform it
4. Own my own business
5. Learn to play piano


BMWB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Darren: Older...lol. Married and spending time with my family. Building a business that allows me to travel, teach and live comfortably being creative. Living who knows where. Looking back on the past 5, being thankful and looking forward to the next.


BMWB: What do you feel about the social climate of black men in America?
Darren: It's mixed. I have these debates with my friends all the time, so I'll try to make this response as simple as possible, but I overthink so that probably won't happen anyway.  
We're in uncharted territory in a sense. While a lot of the social pressures and systemic traps are still as relevant as any other time, the world and people are a lot more connected and information is freely shared more easily than has ever been possible. I think my generation is the first to really have some of the opportunities we have to make our own path to independence. Many of us have been programmed to do nothing but self-sabotage for so long for a number of reasons. Pick a few if you'd like. A large majority of our main influences and images of black men were images and characters and depictions of black men/ourselves in a way that's rarely viewed as positive. A black man has to always be mindful of being viewed as a threat and/or inferior on many levels. What does that do to your self-esteem? As a person? As a man? What I believe is we now have an opportunity to begin to reveal and retell our history from our perspective, and really give ourselves and future black men a chance to approach the world knowing what we have already accomplished, proud of that history and seeking to build on it. Just my thoughts though...


BMWB: What are your hobbies?
Darren: They keep changing. Music definitely whenever I have a chance. I try to exercise regularly and I've traveled a good bit the last few years. Since I've been back in N.O. though, I'm a bicycle junkie.


BMWB: What are your greatest strengths?
Darren: The people in my life. I am what I am because of their love, sacrifices, insight, perspective and efforts. They've all either been or continue to be what keeps my moving in the right direction.


BMWB: What are you most proud of?
Darren: I'm able to give. I've been extremely blessed and that's only because of all the people who have helped, pushed, prayed, loved and whatever else along the way to here. So I'm thankful that at this point, I'm in a position to just try to pay everything I can forward to someone else.

BMWB: What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Darren:

1. No one owes you anything.
2. Perception is reality.
3. Faith without works is dead.
4. You can learn something from everyone.
5. What's done in the dark will come to the light.
6. You give what you get.
7. Before 25 judged on potential, after 25 judged on accomplishments.

BMWB: Tell us something about yourself, in your own words.
Darren: At this point in my life, I can only be grateful for where I am. I've been blessed beyond measure. I'm not a religious person by any means, so this isn't denominational, it is what it is. Regardless of where I am now I've spent a lot of my life trying to figure out who I am, where I fit in and what I needed to do to be viewed the way people expected to view me - if that makes sense. It's affected every part of my world, trying to bend and mold myself to a constantly changing pressure of external validation. I still struggle with it. Somewhere along the way though, it clicked. It'd never come, and if it did, it'd never last. I'd never be able to say I did anything because it was for me, or because I really wanted to because I was crippled by opinions. I couldn't create, or be honest, or love, or feel anything genuinely without fear of how it would be perceived by people who usually didn't understand me anyway. I filtered myself, and filtered me kinda sucks. So I guess "insert higher power" found a way to force me out of my comfort zone. That kinda sucked too, during at least, but I learned to trust my process to a point where I had to face the fact I was my biggest weakness. It wasn't external, or my childhood, or circumstances, it was my decisions and fears that had and would continue to hold me back. Now I try to consciously make an effort to trust me a little more; be more real with myself and a little more vulnerable, which made me a little braver and in turn, I've found more people that connect with and respect Darren as is than ever before. I give an authentic me and usually I get to connect with the same, which is beautiful to me. You give what you get.  I'm just trying to be more consistent in that. There's still all of the other negative and whatever still out there, but its just background noise to me now. If people don't like you as you are, fuck em. That still is what it is too. We can only control what we can control, I just want to live my life as best I can and continue to improve that standard. The rest will take care of itself.

Want to follow Darren on Social Media? Check him out on instagram: @geaux_harp. You can also listen to his music here.

Photography by XOXO Quinntographer

Ser Baffo

Born in Brooklyn, his roots extend all the way from Ghana where both of his parents were raised. As a Director of Photography, he travels often. I curiously asked what was on his top 5 Bucket List. Along with wanting to jump out of a plane, he answered that he'd wanted to visit every state in the U.S. (currently sitting at 40) and visit all 7 continents. So, along with being a bit of a dare devil, Baffo is cultured, well traveled, charismatic and might I add, has a damn awesome beard! Check out some of the things he had to say below:

BMWB: What's your passion?

Baffo: My passion is Photography. I love the art. I just love the idea of being able to tell a story without speaking. One of my favorite quotes is from photographer Bruno Barbey: "Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world". I couldn't agree more.

*You can view his work here: www.serbaffo.com

I met Steven, also known as Ser or Baffo, back in January of this year. He'd flown to New Orleans for a video project for BET during Mardi Gras. I'd been following him for awhile before I saw that he was in NOLA, my hometown, posting the most amazing looking Louisiana Cuisine on his Instagram. I instantly reached out to see about taking photos of him and his beard, and trust me when I say, it's one of the BEST I've ever seen! Upon meeting him, I noticed instantly how laid back he was. He'd just finished interviewing Lil Romeo and talked about his many travels across the world. We discussed photography, something we're both specialized in and passionate about, and I got to know him while shooting him right in the heart of the French Quarter.

BMWB: What is your beard regime?

Baffo: What is my beard regime...to be honest currently my regime consists of waking him up with some warm water in the morning, drying him off thoroughly, followed by a little beard fluffing with this godly pick my dad gave me that he owned since the 70's (so you know it's thorough). As of late I haven't been putting any products in my beard. I think my beard works best when I'm not loading him up with all these random products people send me, but if I must add shine I use coconut oil on a sunny day.

BMWB: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Baffo: I always find this question somewhat difficult to answer because five years ago if you would've asked me "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" - I definitely wouldn't have said living and working in LA. To answer the question, in five years I hope the lord is still blessing and protecting me. That's the state I would still like to see myself in.

BMWB: What inspires you?

Baffo: Seeing my friends do well inspires me. Seeing them hustle and get it everyday keeps me extremely motivated and reminded not to become complacent when good is happening in your life. #StayHungry


BMWB: What do you feel about the social climate of Black Men in America?

Baffo: Times are very tense for Black Men in America. I hate to say it, but it's tense times for African Americans period. From the death of Tamir Rice to Eric Garner to Michael Brown to Freddie Gray to Sandra Bland, the list goes one. They've been taking us out one by one and getting paid suspensions as some form of punishment. We must move extremely careful these days.

BMWB: What are your hobbies?

Baffo: My Hobbies consist of working out, taking pictures every chance I get and spending time with the family.


BMWB: What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Baffo: The Most important lesson(s) I've learned is always be prepared, and you're going to have to work for everything. In the words of my dad: No one is going to give you shit, be prepared to work.

Want to follow Baffo on Social Media? Check him out on instagram: @serbaffo.

Photography by XOXO Quinntographer