Being a young and yearning man, I’ve began taking steps toward laying out a foundation on how I want to present myself as a man in America. Approaching my mid-twenties, everyday has become an adventure. “Do I look like a kid in this?” and “What kind of woman am I attracting?” are questions I ask myself on a regular basis. I’d like to represent that young adult with a good head on his shoulders, not come off as a college kid or even someone who doesn’t have a solid five year plan. When answering theses matters, I look to others for examples and solutions. From family members and community leaders to celebrities and reality favorites, I’ve been given many examples on how to transition into manhood with dignity and class, and still maintain the swagger that allows me to have my own identity.
I found my prime example on how to present myself in this elegant, masculine way on B.E.T. While watching a tribute performance dedicated to Al Green in 2008, I received inspiration from the performance of
Maxwell. It was not necessarily his voice, which was magnetic, but it was his presence and the response he got from the women in the audience that gained my attention. How he gracefully entertained the crowd, never in a rush and seemingly never broke into a sweat made me realized the true confidence this man had. Not the typical large chain hanging pride or shirt-off attitude of the typical celebrity artist, but he had the respect of the men by this un-glorified attitude.
After this performance, Maxwell made a strong resurgence in his career. I grew up with older siblings, so I experienced Maxwell when
he originally came out with the sultry sound and smooth ad-libs. With therelease of his latest critically acclaimed album BLACKsummersnight, it wasn’t just the music that caught me, but also his confidence and being a vulnerable asset to the female audience that made me respect him as a man. Now growing from a boy to a man, I’m experiencing more essence of the artist in a whole new light. I see him as a mentor on how to present myself and show respect to women that I come in contact with by having an impeccably appeal, masculine presence, and never being off kilter.
These cues I have taken from Maxwell have been applied to my own life and have seen amazing results. I never rush for anything now, just like when I saw him grace the stage at the B.E.T. awards performance. I always stay on kilter and have the self-assurance that
allows the next person to feel secure in my presence. Being in the fashion world with sense comes easy to me as casual clothing and wearing suits that fit me compliments by taste. But through Maxwell’s example, the common man can easily meet this quota by accessing pieces at a time, instead of full outfits every weekend. And the most important thing I’ve learned from Maxwell during his resurgence is the way he allows himself to seamlessly have a strong self-confidence that doesn’t come off as abrasive or even slightly annoying.
This man has become my theoretical mentor, by simply setting a quality persona that any young man like me can follow. So when I leave the house, approach a woman at the club, select a drink at the bar or shake a possible future associate’s hand, I always try to consider the obvious: What would Maxwell do?