Black men are kings. Regardless of how little we often come from, the souls of our ancestors who fought through unthinkably horrid circumstances fuel us. We are powerful forces to be reckoned with, which is why they try to keep us down.
With all of the forces working against us in society, it’s important that we lift and inspire one another as we climb. Marquelle Turner is a black king that has been climbing and lifting through his journey for years now. Without further ado, let’s hear from him.
What do you do?
I am a men's rtw buyer and commercial manager for the largest department store in the country of Qatar. My job is to help develop and execute the men's experience for the store. This ranges from product selection and brand partnerships to concept creation and service management.
What is "Pray. Eat. Style."?
It's a life mantra I adopted about 6 years ago. Someone once said that I reminded them of the movie "Eat Pray Love" but more like "Pray Eat Style" because I'm always talking about my love for God, food, and style. It made perfect sense and it stuck.
Tell us about The New Stereotype
The New Stereotype (TNS) is a project I started, along with 8 others, to celebrate and highlight the many diverse layers of black life in America through fashion, photography, and film. Our aim and what we did was help to tell our own narrative through the lens of fashion. TNS spanned a few extensions such as London, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Birmingham. In August of 2016, we had our very first event to help celebrate our blackness. I hope we were able to inspire many men and women to love the skin their in.
How did your upbringing influence your work and passions?
I grew up in a small, rural town so all I had was my imagination as a kid. I would say before anything else I am a creative. My first love, before I knew how to define the emotion, was music. I would always sing and dance around in my room and wanted to be a singer initially before going into fashion. I also grew up poor so having limited resources forced me to find creative ways to dress in a way that didn't show it.
How have you managed to travel so much/see so much of the world?
Fortunately, I travel a good 40% of the time for work, which is exciting. Primarily, I travel to the same cities because they are the major fashion markets such as Milan, Paris, NYC, and London; however, I've been able to also travel to smaller markets such as Dubai, Copenhagen, and Beirut as well. I am also challenging myself to visit two new countries each year. In 2017, I visited four. This year, I am aiming for South Africa and Japan.
What's your favorite city in the world?
This is an easy question and I don't think it'll ever change. New York City is at the top of my list. This city helped change my life. Although I only lived there for two years, the impact has been and will be everlasting. From the hustle of the city, to the ambition and persistence of the creatives, I am my most inspired and I feel my most alive while there. I've been to and plan to travel to some amazing places but I haven't found an energy that matches that of NYC!
Talk to me about your thoughts on dreaming/the imagination
I consider myself a hope dealer, dreamer, and believer. I am also a man of action. I believe in a vision and strategy. Unfortunately, the same place that the dreaming takes place so does the doubt, which is our mind. Conquering those thoughts are paramount and make the difference between breaking and breaking records.
What inspires you the most?
At this moment, I am inspired by authenticity. For me, it's liberating, beautiful and life-changing. When you live life on your own terms and without looking to fit into the confines of others thoughts, you tap into another level of connection with God and with your potential. When I meet people who may be very different from me but they are true to who they are, they are automatically given my respect and my admiration. This is a journey I am currently on and it's like I'm finally living whereas before I was simply existing.
What's the biggest thing you would tell a young black boy who comes from no money?
I am that black man who was the black boy who came from no money. I would tell him that where he is currently is not where he has to stay. I would tell him that the money will come in the future but in the meantime don't allow it to determine his worth. No matter how bleak it looks, it can turnaround if you believe. I would tell him to keep believing even if he can't see it.
You can do it. What’s your wildest dream? What’s the furthest out of your financial means? You can do it. Marquelle serves as living proof that neither your past nor present can stand in between you and your dreams.
Whether you grew up poor, have experienced incredible traumas or loss, etc., you can still do it. You can create a future for yourself more beautiful than you ever imagined. And when you do, inspire others simply by letting them know that it can be done.