Man Of Substance – Cornelius Strong – Fatherhood

  • I love being a father because it allows me to look at myself from the perspective of my weaknesses and strengths as a person. When I interact with my children, I find out more and more about the essence of my character as a man. This allows me to see the relevant impact I have on their lives and development.
  • The most rewarding part of being a father is seeing the lessons you have taught your children manifest in their behavior and the manner in which they conduct themselves as positive members of society.
  • Being the father of 2 girls is rewarding, frustrating, challenging, confusing, emotional, and complex all at the same time. It has humbled me in many ways and taught me to deeply evaluate the kind of man I truly am. What I do, what I say, and how I react in every situation is vital to their perception of me.
  • Most importantly, I am the first man they will encounter in their lives. This being the case, I must set a standard that is high, so that hopefully one day they will be drawn to a man of high standard.
  • Being a foster parent has allowed me to understand that circumstances are not chosen, they are inherited. It has also shown me that circumstances do not define who you are, but what you can become. It has challenged me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
  • It has rewarded and humbled me beyond reason. Many have given up on the young, the lost, and the mistreated. But all they really need is a fighting chance.
  • I would like to think that I could be a factor in providing that fighting chance, or at least some form of hope. Above all, being a foster parent has taught me something very, very important. It is not about me, it is all about the kids. That’s a beautiful thing.

Black Thought

“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

So, granted, we are probably done with all the civil rights bills for our generation – pertaining to race equality that is. Nevertheless, the above quote can still be aptly applied to the current state of the African-American community. To be frank, some individuals need to stop talking about it and simply be about it. And to borrow another cliché: definitive action certainly speaks louder than mere words. So, if you have any specific issues that have been troubling your mind as of late, maybe it is time to bring an end to the lip service and commence a constructive plan of action. Because, believe it or not, government cannot remedy every problem that ails our neighborhoods. Which is why I admire a lot of things about the original Black Panther. They pinpointed the needs of the community and then they actively implemented community based programs to put forth solutions. Seriously, it is time that our generation does the same. Now more than ever, we have the power, the capacity to bring about positive change. We just have to get going and do it!

Gent Hints – The Necktie Roll

Ritual: a detailed method of established procedure that is faithfully or regularly followed.

Now, with respect to a gentleman’s wardrobe, maintaining a set of rituals can be greatly beneficial, especially with regards to preventative maintenance. Nothing can subtract years off the life expectancy of a particular item in your closet more than neglect and ambivalence. A gentleman must adhere to a rigid, set rule of practices that ensure proper upkeep and preservation, or he may witness a wardrobe that prematurely succumbs to irreversible disrepair. Today, we are focusing on the necktie. In the following paragraph, you will find a tried and true method that will definitely extend your necktie’s longevity. Every evening after work, I follow the same ritual as I remove my necktie. Trust, it works.

Now, neckties are delicate creatures to begin with, and the continual knotting process can administer a brutal toll on its fabric. Therefore, it is paramount that a gentleman develops the habit of rolling his necktie after he has finished wearing it. First, it is wise to loosen your necktie and carefully reverse the knotting to return it to its untied form. Next, and this is the important part, start at the narrow end and tightly roll along its length. Given that I have enough neckties to endure until the following week, I usually leave my neckties coiled until I unroll them, smooth out the remaining wrinkles, and either hang or place in my dresser drawer. The timetable is up to you. Nevertheless, the key is rolling your necktie nice and tight to hammer out those wrinkles. And never, and we mean never, leave your necktie knotted when you’re not wearing it. You’ve been warned.

Style & Substance – The Collar Bar

To be sure, a gentleman can attain a luxurious presentation without spending a luxury on his wardrobe. Some time ago, I became fascinated with a seldom used gentleman’s accessory known as the collar bar. Now, if you are a fan of the critically acclaimed series Mad Men, or even Boardwalk Empire, you would recognize there isn’t a shortage of these little stylish accouterments in each episode. Tucked underneath the necktie knot, securing the points of the dress shirt collar; it ever so slightly lifts the visibility of the necktie. It’s neat. It’s sophisticated. It has an old school flavor to it. And I wanted one. Thankfully, my lovely wife was visiting her sister in New York last year, and a Paul Stuart store was not far away. So, being the darling that she is, Stephanie was kind enough to grab her loving husband one for a mere $19.50. This is but a small example illustrating how a discreet accessory can alter the dynamic of your appearance. The slight hint of understated style can instantly upgrade a look and add a unique depth to one’s presentation. Now, I am not advocating collar bars for every gentleman, rather I am advocating the subtle power of the right accessory. Trust your sartorial instincts and select what works fine for you.

Style & Substance – Bullet Designs Bullet Cufflinks

Inherently, I am not a violent individual. No – seriously, sincerely I am not. So, some might find it a little peculiar that I be drawn to cufflinks that are made of – wait for it – bullet fragments. Yes, bullet fragments. Composed of recycled, fired bullets; these unconventional cufflinks drip bad boy appeal without any prerequisites that require committing a felony. Designed and manufactured here in the good old United States, we do love our firearms, this rakish gentleman’s accoutrement is available from Bullet Designs, LLC. Great for the environment and great for your own personal style, they clock in at an absurdly low $19.95. I might go ahead and bite the bullet – yeah, that was bad – and order a pair. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Heritage – Jesse Owens

  • Jesse Owens was born on September 12, 1913
    • Attended East Technical High School
    • Tied world record in 100 m dash at the National High School Championship in 1933
    • Attended Ohio State University
    • Won a record 8 individual medals in the NCAA
    • At Big Ten Meet, broke world records in 220 yd low hurdles, long jump, and 220 yd dash on May 25, 1935
    • Berlin Olympics: captured 4 gold medals: 100 m & 200 m sprint, long jump, 4 x 100 m relay in 1936
    • Inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1970
    • Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976
    • Living Legends Award in 1979
    • Died at the age of 66 on March 31, 1980
    • Posthumously awarded Congressional Gold Medal in 1990

Style & Substance – The Irregular Pocket Square Fold

With a charismatic corruption of the conservative presidential fold, this particular pocket square presentation conveys an atmosphere of brash confidence- a presentation only reserved for those gentlemen trained in the art of effortless, slightly disinterested elegance. And yes, I am penning another entry that champions the serviceability of the devoted chest pocket companion. Why? Well, because those gentlemen without the luxury of disposal income deserve every stylish, affordable tool in his arsenal to be well-dressed. And the pocket square is a subtle, inexpensive option that should be wisely explored. Nevertheless, this dandy fold can certainly add a dash of debonair to your suit ensemble. Folded in an asymmetric square, this method is most suited for pocket squares with edges trimmed with color. Less structured. Gorgeously disheveled. Check your favorite men’s fashion magazines, this look is definitely trending big right now. And unlike most trends, this one will enjoy some well-deserved longevity. Rock it in style.

Black Thought

“Having been given, I must give.”

-Paul Robeson

Sometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love. Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.
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