I used to get in debates with my parents and granddad in my high school days because of the way I dressed and the style of my hair. They used to tell me that my baggy clothes, hoodies, and braids made me fit a certain stereotype. Another argument we would have is having too many of my "friends" in one car. As I got older I realized they were looking out for my well being, and they knew I could be considered a threat. Funny thing is now that I am college educated, pulled up the pants, and lost the braids I feel I'm a threat more than ever. I've been harassed twice in my adult years; once in Alabama for sitting in a car outside a club waiting on my cousins in lit parking lot, and another in Dearborn for looking suspicious by riding in a car with too many of my "friends" These encounters were completely unsettling to me. Recent events highlight just how vulnerable many may feel in simply going about their daily lives, and because of these recent events I was inspired to shoot and direct this video entitled "UNARMED." My good friend Baron Amato released this poem back in 2011 and it has always been one of my favorites. Check the video, analyze it, and share it. EVERYBODY needs to be careful out here. Special thank you my friend James and neighbor Norman for helping to bring my vision to life. Peace
A couple weeks ago I took my first trip to New Orleans. As soon I step foot in the city I could feel the vibe. Walked around for a couple hours and stopped at a bar to grab something to eat. I had fried oysters and the local beer. I was amazed by the architecture and bright colors around the city. The next day I went on a swamp tour through the New Orleans bayou's. Even had a chance to hold a baby alligator. I definitely need to make another trip to New Orleans. So many places I wanted to go and explore but just didn't have the time, two days isn't enough. Had a good time nonetheless.
PS. Bourbon Street only needs to be experienced once every trip to New Orleans, can't see how people go there every night lol
This Father's Day Bevel interviewed my father and me. We talked about what it means to be a father and son, grooming, and shared some of our favorite memories. Check the photos I took of my dad shaving with bevel's premium shaving kit and read the full interview below. Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there!
My Dad's answers...
1) What dreams do you have for your son?
It is my dream that Justin will reach the peak of his creative potential so that all will be allowed to enjoy what is yet to come.
2) What’s your favorite gift your son has given you?
Last year I received a Fitbit from both my son and daughter during the Holiday season. I would say this was my favorite because he knows how much I am into fitness (distance running). I use it on a daily basis.
3) In what ways does your son remind you of yourself?
His drive and desire to become an Entrepreneur reminds me of when I was growing up. I always wanted to own my own business. Even though I did not achieve that goal, I see his dream fast becoming a reality
4) When did you become a man?
My Grandfather was my father figure when I was growing up. He taught me how to fish, play cards, helped me understand the importance of team work and the art of reasoning. He also disciplined me when the need was there. By the time I reached my Eighteenth birthday, I was ready for the world. At that age I graduated from high school and went to college. It was at that time I knew I was a man.
5) When did you become a Father?
On December 28, 1988, Justin was born. With no hand guide or instructions, I became a father. My task was to assure that Justin was given the necessary tools to contribute to society in a positive manner, teach him right from wrong, and show him how to be compassionate when it comes to others.
6) What does being a father mean to you?
It means that by the grace of God, I had the opportunity to raise, mentor, teach, guide and enjoy a progression from childhood to adulthood. The steps along the way, I will cherish for my entire life.
1) whats your father's full name?
Otis Walter Milhouse
2) what brought him to the city you live in now?
He was born in Flint, MI and after he graduated from Eastern Michigan University he moved to Detroit for two reasons, job opportunities and my mom.
3) What did he do when you were a kid?
He always kept me in some extra circular activity and was my baseball coach when I played for the Detroit PAL League. He would also frequently take my sister and I to the movies. I still go with him til this day.
4) How has he sacrificed for you?
Whatever I needed my dad made a way to make it happen for me and my sister. Growing up in Flint, my dad wasn't as fortunate as others, but he has always been honest and a hard worker. He always ensured me that dedication and persistence would lead to me accomplishing my goals.
5) What does being a father mean?
Being a good father means leading by example, being trustworthy, compassionate, able to comprise, and not afraid to show love to your children.
6) What are the best 3 memories you can share that the two of you had?
Its so many memories my dad and I share but my favorite memory we share is when he helped me with my science project in 5th grade. He literally stayed up all night helping me build the bridge for my project. I now realize it showed how much he cared to see me do well, and would stop at nothing to ensure that I am successful.
7) What is the best gift your father has given you?
This might be cliche but the best gift my father has given me is him. If I ever need someone to talk to or need advice about something I know I can ask him. He's funny with a good sense of humor, kind to people, and a good listener.
8) What does being a son mean to you?
Being a good son means going above and beyond to make my parents proud. Especially when both of them have sacrificed so much for me. Make them feel confident that they've done a good job raising me and trust that'll I'll always make the right decision in any circumstance because of the values and lesson they've instilled in me.
9) What grooming lessons did you learn from your father?
My dad always told me to stay fresh, stay clean. You never know who's watching. lol
Early last month I had the opportunity to shoot Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander in the studio. When the opportunity was presented to me I didn't hesitate to take it. Growing up I would watch Hoopz on VH1's "Flavor of Love". Back then I would've never thought I would be photographing her one day. The day of the shoot we shot three looks and @BeatbyMo took care of the makeup. She was cool, down to earth, and funny. Not mention really easy on the eyes haha! We talked about a few projects she's working on, her show on Oxygen "It Takes A Sister" and how much Detroit has changed since she's moved. Four hours of shooting Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander equals a lifetime memory. Hopefully we'll connect again for another shoot.
This past Memorial Day weekend I went to Minneapolis, MN for two reasons. To visit my sister and shoot SoundSet 2016 Hip-Hop festival. I attended the festival last year but this time around was different because I got a photo pass and was able to visually document the festival. The line-up this year was superb with acts like The Roots, Common, Danny Brown, Future, Post Malone, Raury, Mick Jenkins, 9th Wonder, Goldlink and many more. ASAP Rocky headlined the festival which was personally my favorite performance. I stayed mostly at the main stage, wish I could've caught all the performances, but with so many dope artist performing at the same time it was impossible. Looking forward capturing moments of next years festivals. Great time, good music, and a lot of partying.
Back in February me and my brother Fred went to New York for a four day trip. Stayed with my homie Reggie who was low-key like our tour guide, and hit 3 out of the 5 boroughs. We ate good, explored NY, and did a little partying. Finally got time to put together a video from the trip. Check it out below.
Cyndia recently graduated from Oakland University and wanted to take a non-traditional approach to her graduation photos. She wanted a natural artistic look to her photos and commissioned artist Jamario to paint her skin. Gold glitter, white paint, and natural beauty were the key ingredients to this shoot. Congrats to Cyndia and best wishes for much success in the future.
Enida called me last month asking if I would be willing to take some family photos. Of course I said yes. This shoot was special to me because I've known Enida and Jason for a long time and I shot their 'Save The Date' wedding video a couple years ago. Check it out here. This was also my first time meeting LJ. I was honored that she asked me to take the family photos and I enjoyed shooting it. I can't wait until we do the one year birthday shoot for LJ. We've already started brainstorming ideas for the shoot!
Last month Shannon came to the studio to get some shots for promotional use. She's an aspiring actress in the metro Detroit area and I can tell from our shoot that this wasn't her first time in front of a camera. Be on the look out for Shannon in some upcoming projects as she continues to pursue her acting career.