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.
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
Travel more places outside of the country
Get my architectural license
Design my own home
Own more property
Go back and teach architecture at my Alma Mater ( PVU)
Photos provided by Rare Sighting Photography.