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WHAT’S YOUR STORY GOING TO BE? INTRODUCING BIKTARVY® Ask your healthcare provider if BIKTARVY is right for you.

To learn more, visit Please see Brief Summary of Patient Information with important warnings on the adjacent pages.

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Do not take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains: ` dofetilide

Brief Summary of Patient Information about BIKTARVY® BIKTARVY (bik-TAR-vee) (bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide) tablets Important: Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with BIKTARVY. For more information, see “What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking BIKTARVY?”

What is the most important information I should know about BIKTARVY? BIKTARVY can cause serious side effects, including: ` Worsening of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. If you have an HBV infection and take BIKTARVY, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking BIKTARVY. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of BIKTARVY. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your BIKTARVY is all gone. • Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider. If you stop taking BIKTARVY, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking BIKTARVY. For more information about side effects, see “What are the possible side effects of BIKTARVY?”

What is BIKTARVY? BIKTARVY is a prescription medicine that is used without other anti-HIV-1 medicines to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) in adults: ` who have not received anti-HIV-1 medicines in the past, or ` to replace their current anti-HIV-1 medicines for people whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain requirements. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

` rifampin

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking BIKTARVY? Before taking BIKTARVY, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you: `have liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection `have kidney problems `are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant during treatment with BIKTARVY. Pregnancy Registry: There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. ` are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take BIKTARVY. • You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. • At least one of the medicines in BIKTARVY can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in BIKTARVY can pass into your breast milk. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Some medicines may interact with BIKTARVY. Keep a list of your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. ` You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of medicines that interact with BIKTARVY. ` Do not start a new medicine without telling your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with other medicines. Continued on next page.

BIKTARVY contains the prescription medicines bictegravir, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide. It is not known if BIKTARVY is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.

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Continued from previous page.

How should I take BIKTARVY? ` Take BIKTARVY exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. BIKTARVY is taken by itself (not with other HIV-1 medicines) to treat HIV-1 infection. ` Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food. ` Do not change your dose or stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking with your healthcare provider. Stay under a healthcare provider’s care during treatment with BIKTARVY. ` If you take antacids that contain aluminum, magnesium, or calcium, take BIKTARVY on an empty stomach 2 hours before you take these antacids. ` If you take supplements that contain iron or calcium, take these supplements with food at the same time that you take BIKTARVY. ` Do not miss a dose of BIKTARVY. ` If you take too much BIKTARVY, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. ` When your BIKTARVY supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may develop resistance to BIKTARVY and become harder to treat.

What are the possible side effects of BIKTARVY? BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including: ` See “What is the most important information I should know about BIKTARVY?” ` Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine. ` New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys when starting and during treatment with BIKTARVY. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY if you develop new or worse kidney problems.

What are the possible side effects of BIKTARVY? (continued) ` Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Too much lactic acid is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat. ` Severe liver problems. In rare cases, severe liver problems can happen that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, lightcolored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain. The most common side effects of BIKTARVY are diarrhea (6%), nausea (5%), and headache (5%). These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

General information about the safe and effective use of BIKTARVY. Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Patient Information leaflet. Do not use BIKTARVY for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give BIKTARVY to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about BIKTARVY. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about BIKTARVY that is written for health professionals. For more information, call 1-800-445-3235 or go to Keep BIKTARVY and all medicines out of reach of children. Issued: February 2018 BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, GILEAD, and the GILEAD Logo are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. © 2018 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. BVYC0004 02/18

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24 The Crown Alex D. Rogers centers Black hair in photos. We talk to model Kenny Knowles. 28 Barbershop Culture Black guys and barbershops: our history. 30 Barber Blues Being gay in a barbershop isn’t always the greatest.

38 James Bland How the mastermind behind Giants created a show and a movement. 40 No Limits Hamilton and Empire star Bryan Terrell Clark is a real life superhero of the arts. 42 Preacher Lawson America’s Got Talent funnyman has us ROTFL.

44 Word Guys from Love & Hip Hop open up about music, relationships, and reality TV. STREETWEAR 32 Hot Child In The City Fashion designer James Brown III’s fav streetwear trends. APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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LIT LIST 10 Dig These Black Lightning and an NFL star. 12 Power Pens These superstars wrote their way out Plus: right reads. 14 Spin Me ‘Round The best DJs showed up and showed off.


FITNESS 16 B-boyin’ 101 Breakin’ it down to basics, bros. 20 Yoga, Bruh Peace of mind isn’t just for white chicks. GROOMING 22 Shave Time Finally, a product made for us. SNEAKERS 56 Kickin’ It! Spring sneaks put a pop in your step. VIEWS 50 #BlackIsBeautiful The nuanced beauty of Black Brazilians. NUTRITION 58 Vegan Queen B Bey and Jay-Z offer up a meal service kit. SEX & DATING 60 PrEPers HIV pevention is sexy. 61 Oral 101 Can you get an STI from a BJ? SPORTS 62 B-Ball Dreams Two college players on their way up.


TRAVEL 64 Black Hotspots Silent discos, grub, and Jazz Fest in NOLA.



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Editor in chief GERALD GARTH is a writer and former editor for The Rouge Collection, a Black-owned digital urban media outlet in the South; and former editor of Black AIDS Weekly. He’s written for Heart & Soul, Sheen, The Advocate, Plus, and Griot, a popular media hub celebrating the cultural and creative diversity of the African diaspora. A longtime health advocate, Garth also works with communities of color in South Los Angeles at the AMAAD Institute. arth ot erald

Chill’s managing editor, DIMITRI MOISE, is an actor, activist, and cofounder of TORCH, an organization dedicated to uniting marginalized communities through arts entrepreneurship. If you missed him in The Book of Mormon on Broadway, he’s currently touring the U.S. in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and appearing alongside Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish on the TBS series, The Last O.G.

Our breakin’ guide, REBECCA HIDALGO, is a Brooklyn-based creator, choreographer, performer, and fitness instructor. Her work and collaborations— all of which aim to spark controversy, conversation, and communication— have been performed throughout New York City and Europe. algo

THIAGO BORBA is a São Paulo-based photographer whose work focuses on highlighting the beauty of Blackness. His photography has been featured prominently around the world. or a

New York City-based THOMAS FREEMAN is a staff writer at Maxim magazine who covers Hollywood and menswear. His work has also been featured on,,,, and homas reeman

imitri oise fficial @DimitriJMoise


anna read our intervie ith cover star, performer KENNY KNOWLES and see more photograph le ogers hec out hill us

FOL LOW US ONLINE mag themag

us themag



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@GarthDotGerald ,

Joe Valentino Paige Popdan

Diane Anderson-Minshall Gerald Garth

@DeliciousDiane Raine Bascos Dimitri Moise James Brown III Thomas Freeman Khafre Abif Jacob Anderson-Minshall David Artavia, Savas Abadsidis Desirée Guerrero Rebecca Hidalgo, Dr. Segun Ishmael Thiago Borba, Alex D. Rogers Donald Padgett , Dave Johnson Christopher Harrity




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Michael Luong, Tevy Khou , Mayra Urrutia Nicholas Alipaz, Sr. Kevin Bissada , Laura Villela @BeSafemeds , , @LucasGrindley Greg Brossia , @TevyKhou Stuart Brockington , Tara Dabuni, Adam Goldberg, Noreen Murray , Brandon Grant @ADRog1983 , Jamie Tredwell , Greta Libbey, Casey Noble , John O’Malley , Michael Lombardo , @BrandonHugh Hayley Yates , Stewart Nacht , Tiffany Kesden Levi Chambers ,

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2SWLRQVVKRZQ7KHEDFNXSFDPHUDGRHVQRWSURYLGHDFRPSUHKHQVLYHYLHZRIWKHUHDUDUHDRIWKHYHKLFOH<RXVKRXOGDOVRORRNDURXQGRXWVLGH\RXUYHKLFOHDQGXVH\RXUPLUURUVWRFRQoUPUHDUZDUGFOHDUDQFH Environmental conditions may limit effectiveness and view may become obscured. See Ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Manual for additional limitations and details. 2. Drivers are responsible for their own safe driving. Always pay attention to your surroundings and drive safely. System effectiveness is dependent on many factors including road, weather and vehicle conditions. See Ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Manual for additional limitations and details. 3. Based on 2018 NX 300h (AWD) EPA 33/30/31 city/hwy/combined MPG estimates versus 2017/2018 EPA estimates for competitors as of 8/16/2017. Actual mileage will vary. Š2018 Lexus.

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Are You Chill?

GERALD GARTH Editor in Chief


From day one, the Chill team has been very intentional to look at many of the intersections of manhood—from fashion, music and events, to nutrition, health, and sex. The Chill man has layers. The Chill man can turn up. The Chill man can be vulnerable. One man encompassing what this means is Prince Michael of Love & Hip Hop: Miami. I had a great time talking with the Fresh Prince of South Beach: the aptly self-described “cool, smooth, and all about the high life” Jamaican-American party promoter. While we chatted, I also got a chance to explore more levels of humanity with him, tackling topics like emotional health and fear of rejection. (Check it out on page 45.) At Chill, we want to continue to create healthy and inclusive spaces and encourage dialogue that rea s arriers and redefines norms, hile also celebrating our experiences. We understand there are many levels within the experience called manhood. Chill is here to continue to look at the many makings of urban men, and how we can evolve together.

There’s Levels to This


The first question I get nowadays is, “What is Chill?” Since you picked up the magazine (thanks!), let me tell you what I think it is—or what I want it to be and why you should be a part of it. Chill is the premier men’s quarterly magazine featuring authentic voices that entertain and empower the lives of urban men. And I say urban on purpose. Urban is not just a group, but a lifestyle. With editorial focused on health, fitness, grooming, streetwear, sneakers, entertainment, pop culture, sex & relationships, technology, and travel, Chill is for guys of all races, ages, religions, and income levels who are empowered by living label-free. Chill is a place to find camaraderie, to source ideas and topics that appeal to our unspoken needs—a single spot for men from a variety of cultural, racial, and sexual groups to share ideas without the baggage of definitions. Often the intersections of the Black male experience get lost, so we’re creating spaces of diversity and inclusion for Black, Latino, and other men of color as well as their friends. Chill is about breaking barriers with editorial content that’s provocative, actionable, and informative. Every aspect of Chill and our website,, will be curated for the Chill man. Chill is a movement. Chill is now.


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UNBC4027 11/16

See how we can all help stop the virus in our bodies and communities. Talk to a healthcare provider. And find out more at

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NAFESSA WILLIAMS, because she’s our fave TV badass. Over two million people tuned in to watch actress Nafessa Williams ma e histor pla ing the first lac les ian superhero on television, on The CW’s Black Lightning. Comic book fans had waited eagerly for weeks to see the Marvel character come to life on the small screen— and superfine illiams made it orth the ait illiams pla s nissa, a Harvard grad who channels her superpowers to become Thunder. long ith her sister ennifer a a ightning , the inspire their dad the original lac ightning to rise up and help save their cit from crime and corruption er role in eing part of s first lac superhero famil doesn t come ithout humilit have al a s anted to pla a superhero t s a od thing, she told The Advocate gre up in the inner cit hiladelphia , so this means a lot to me for oung lac girls to see me come out of the same place they are in, and go off to be a superhero… Ultimately, my goal is to inspire little brown girls that look like me, who are sitting on the porch earing cornro s, to see me and sa , can do it can ma e it out of here ord —DIMITRI MOISE AND DAVID ARTAVIA



COLIN KAEPERNICK, because the dude does not quit. You gotta give mad props to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of his unwillingness to back down, even when caught in the crossfire aepernic , ho helped his team ma e it to the uper o l, received death threats ecause of his decision to ta e a knee during the national anthem as a way to protest the racial injustices of merica hough much hatred as thro n aepernic s a , man other athletes, activists, performers, and students banded together in support of his cause a e nee ecame a hot trend on itter, hile neeling protests in support happened around the nation aepernic no a free agent sho ed that ta ing a stand and agitating via social media can prove to be incredibly powerful. We’re still kneeling with ya, Colin.


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NAS AND LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA PROVE WRITING CAN IMPACT YOUR LIFE’S TRAJECTORY. The phrase “I picked up the pen, and I wrote my way out” was at the center of the song“Wrote My Way Out” by rappers Nas and Dave East, singer Aloe Blacc, and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda off The Hamilton Mixtape. The recently released music video features the men singing on the rooftop of a New York City building, interspersed with shots of them with kids from Harlem and Inwood (Miranda’s own neighborhood). The song samples portions of “Hurricane,” from Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton, with each of the artists sharing their respective upbringings, and how putting their pens to paper and writing their stories of struggle led to success in their present lives. Each verse is an individual nod to Alexander Hamilton, who wrote a letter about the devastation of his hometown of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, following a hurricane, which inspired his community to raise the funds necessary for him to attend school in New York. Hamilton’s peers were also individuals with immigrant backgrounds—a fact nodded to in “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done),” a song featured in the hit musical. Nas, Dave East, and Miranda are examples of artists who wrote their way out. These musicians were able to expand on their personal selves, and use their stories to get out of the neighborhoods in which they were living to find better lives. Writing your way out, in the context of the song, is a message to marginalized youth everywhere that there is power in personal narrative. Your story may not be a fairytale, and it may have some brutal twists and turns, but that shouldn’t stop you from needing to share it with the world—because your story matters. Not only can you write your way out of a threatening lifestyle, but you can also inspire others to do the same. For someone like me, writing has helped with depression. There were times in my own life where issues I came up against, particularly surrounding community discrimination and lack of acceptance of my sexuality, brought me to places from which I thought there was no return. Writing helped me to cope with the pain I was feeling. A 2013 New Zealand study found that writing and talking about difficult experiences can lead to physical healing, in addition to emotional healing. After working with a group of senior citizens who wrote for 20 minutes a day about the most traumatic event they experienced, researchers took skin biopsies of the participants, leaving small wounds on their arms. Research found that eleven days after the biopsies were taken, 76 percent of the participants who had been consistently writing saw their wounds fully healed. Sounds like science fiction, but it’s true. Writing may seem arduous, but in some instances, it can help you overcome a personal struggle. Attempting to write for a few minutes each day can bring you a sense of healing in your life. Maybe you, too, can write your way out. It never hurts to try.


Are Black Men Doomed? by Alford A. Young, Jr., is a Black sociologist’s rumination on whether America can “ever come to terms with Black men.” The slim, 100-page, volume is a powerful reminder of what Black men are up against as they face truly insurmountable forces. Answering his own rhetorical question to the affirmative, Young avoids the twin traps of assuming Black men are inherently incapable of redeeming themselves, or that they are responsible for making the changes necessary for their own salvation. Instead, Young argues, the redemption of Black men must come from the same external forces that have doomed them. @PolityBooks

What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth by Rigoberto Gonzalez is the prolific poet and memoirist’s latest, and an introspective look at the struggles of immigrants in California’s Coachella Valley—as well as the legacy of toxic Latino machismo—through the struggles of his own family. Gonzalez and his brother must deal with the early loss of their mother and the later abandonment by their father. He writes about how those events and others impact the decisions the two make later in life. This is the story of their struggle and perseverance, of the emotional trauma of abandonment, and of the bonds of family. @UWiscPress




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Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards at Carnegie Mellon University, edited by Jim Daniels, is an anthology of more than 80 works written by high school and college students in the greater Pittsburgh area for an annual writing contest. The students write about their personal struggles with race and discrimination through a range of topics, including stereotypes, bullying, homophobia, and identity questions. Written in both prose and poetry, this collection brings fresh voices that encourage and extend conversations about racial, political, gender, and cultural issues. @CMUPress

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart is the definitive iograph of the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke was a philosopher and author who coined the term “New Negro” to describe African-Americans who were proud of both their ethnicity and heritage. Stewart explores Locke’s childhood and education, his travels to Europe as the first lac hodes Scholar, and his struggle coming to terms with his identity as a gay Black man in a racist and homophobic society. A prolific author on race relations, Locke was an inspiration to future leaders , including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. @OxUniPress

We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, this collection of essays from different communities share the authors’ experiences dealing with forms of passing. Passing, or being seen as something one is not (often in regard to race or gender), has a long and complicated history. Whether it’s a Mexican-American raised to believe he was Native American, or renowned Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page writing of “economic passing,” this anthology provides emotionally engaging stories about the diverse and evolving nature of passing in America. @BeaconPressBks

Higher Is Waiting by Tyler Perry is an engaging personal memoir that reveals the actor-producer’s deeply spiritual side. The intimate writing reveals how faith came to guide and impact every facet of his life. The world famous Black man is also a screenwriter, playwright, songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist—and was once the highest paid man in the entertainment industry. Through Higher Is Waiting, Perry offers questions designed to help readers on their own journeys, providing a spiritual guidebook designed to inspire others to find their o n personal redemption. @SPIEGELandGRAU

Black Man in A White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, M.D, an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University, explores his experiences as a Black man in the traditionally white medical profession. Tweedy uses personal anecdotes to show that despite progress being made, the medical profession still falls short in providing consistently high levels of care specificall tailored to their patients of color. Tweedy makes recommendations to help improve the health delivery system and offers inspirational thoughts and observations. @PicadorUSA


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By Desirée Guerrero Photography by Johnny Nunez

ressed in an all-black tux and an over-thetop fur coat, Global S p i n Aw a r d s host and rap icon, Snoop Dogg— known these days as DJ Snoopadelic—presented top honors to DJ Khaled, DJ Camilo, DJ Carisma, and Diplo at the Sixth Annual Global Spin Awards, which took place at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles. The majority of the other male artists in attendance at this year’s hiphop music awards show leaned toward restrained attire, and black reigned, as it has at numerous recent awards ceremonies (often in honor of movements such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #BlackLivesMatter). But let’s be real, of course plenty of the stars opted for color and glitz. Former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger was looking especially fly in an all-white, tummy-baring ensemble. Then again, the night, which was presented by REVOLT, really wasn’t about fashion at all. It was about the performances. During the event, the crowd went wild when Ludacris took the stage for a surprise performance with industry legends Snoop Dogg, Usher, Diddy, and Jermaine Dupri to perform the “Welcome to Atlanta” remix for the first time altogether. Fans were also treated to an epic performance by Fabolous and Jadakiss, as well as killer sets by Nipsey Hussle and A Boogie. The show also recognized two legendary producers with special awards: Dupri was presented the Breaking Barriers Award by Usher, while Timbaland recieved a Lifetime Achievement Award. “I’ve worked with so many talented artists and DJs to produce great music over the years,” Dupri said. “The secret to breaking musical barriers is simple: practice makes perfect. For all the DJs out there that have supported and accepted me, I thank you for playing my records and sharing it with the world.” “I love music,” Timbaland said. “I was a DJ first, and when I didn’t like the music out there, I decided to make beats and create music for the fans. It feels a little weird receiving this Lifetime Achievement Award, because I feel like I’m just getting started.”


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reaking (or “b-boying” and “b-girling”) evolved among Black and Latino teens in the South Bronx four decades ago. Once the media caught hold of this captivating and hyper-athletic dance form, it spread internationally. Today, you could even call South Korea one of the epicenters, after it uilt the orld s first fulltime breaking theater, SJ B-Boy Theater. Breaking is popular everywhere (including on reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance). But even if you’re not in on the b-boy game, it’s easy to teach yourself some breaking—or at least the basics.

THE TUNES There are literally hundreds of great songs to rea to, ut these five ill get ou started N N N N N

Beats to the Rhyme by Run DMC Made You Look by Nas The Learning (Burn) by Mobb Deep Spanish Hustle by the Fatback Band Ooh Wee by Mark Ronson (ft. Nate Dogg and Ghostface Killah)

Check out those videos at Or check our YouTube playlist APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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FIT NESS TOPROCK Start with the basics: footwork and style. Toprock is done in an upright position. It’s where you master your rhythm and coordination, and find our o n personal are ithin our upper body. Developing and practicing your Toprock will get your cardio going, and warm the body and brain up for hat s to come aster this first (there are tons of great tutorial videos online) before you go for those elaborate headspins.

DOWNROCK This is where you can play with and test your center of gravity low to the ground. In Downrock, your hands and feet are in contact with the ground the majority of the time, supporting the weight of your body. Your feet move in complex patterns, such as the basic “six step.” Drill that step over and over for a serious fullbody burn.


POWER MOVES These acrobatic moves rely on speed, momentum, and a whole lot of limber muscle control. eadspins, ares, indmills, oats, swipes—what are these, you ask? he re moves ou should tr first with an ice pack nearby. You’ll thank us later for the suggestion.



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FIT NESS FREEZE rea ers ill often finish a po er move ith a sic free e holding a alanced, sometimes contorted position as if the have fro en mid motion hese re uire cra amounts of core strength, upper od strength and control racticing our free es ill add a punch to our or out routine, especiall for our iceps, triceps, and deltoids t ll also test and increase our ac and shoulder e i ilit

HEADSTAND You pro a l can t picture a classic rea ing routine ithout a headspin on an old piece of card oard, ut let s master the headstand first Your hands form a sturd triangle on the oor ith our head as the point, and ou engage our core to lift our od and legs ith control his ill or our postural muscles li e no other You ll loo etter standing upright standing on our head first


UM, GOOD LUCK? nless ou re unusuall lessed, some moves ta e ears of finessing his is one


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t’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and the pressure is real for guys to get jacked. That may mean buying protein powder in bulk, adding an extra hour (and more weight) to your gym training, or being sure to count those calories. But there may be a better way to strong muscles— one that comes with a strong mind, too. According to a 2015 report presented at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America conference, yoga lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that gives you the blues and lowers your stamina at the gym. (Who doesn’t want to fight that?) A Brazilian study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice also showed that yoga increases selfcontrol, self-perception, well-being, and body awareness—uniting mind, body, and spirit in health. Broadway star and yoga educator Randy Aaron (pictured) knows the benefits of yoga firsthand. But it took a while for yoga to find him because it wasn’t pervasive in the South. The New Orleans-native took his first class in 1998 when he was attending New York University and studying acting. “My acting teacher used it as a way to warm up the body and to find the connection between the body, mind, and breath,” he remembers. “I fell in love with it instantly and I have been hooked ever since.” The hustle is real for those of us living in urban environments, whether it’s New York, Chicago, or Atlanta. For Aaron, who teaches hot yoga during the day at Modo Yoga NYC (—and hits

the stage performing in The Book of Mormon on Broadway at night— yoga is key not only for stamina, but also an enriched perspective of the world. “Yoga has the power to decrease stress and chronic pain,” he says. “[But] it also helps you to not take yourself so seriously, thus allowing you to forgive more and love harder.” He adds that most people “find a deeper connection to the world around them and a deeper more loving connection to self.” And no, it’s not just for white suburban housewives. “Yoga is for everyone,” he


DDP YOGA Now ( is an app and DVDbased yoga workout program created by WWE legend Diamond Dallas Page, who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017. The former WCW World Heavyweight Champion wanted a workout to help heal from an injury and has since worked with U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as disabled vets and the usual assortment of yoga fans. The no-impact DDP Yoga system combines traditional yoga poses with slow-count isometric exercises.

stresses. “There are even classes geared specifically towards men and issues that we struggle with as far as tight muscles from working out and chronic diseases.” Misconceptions aren’t entirely new to yoga instructors like Aaron, who says beginners often enter his classes with preconceived notions. “I offer free classes to most people I meet as an incentive to introduce them to the practice,” he says. “[What] I come up against mostly is the idea that you have to be flexible in order to do yoga or that yoga is too static. People want to move their bodies. Yoga is for everyone, especially those who are nonflexible. You practice yoga in order to increase your flexibility. There are also different kinds of yoga offering varying speeds and intensities. For those wanting to move at a slower pace I would recommend a Hatha or Yin practice. If you’re looking to pick up the pace I would suggest a Vinyasa practice.” The great thing about doing yoga is that you don’t need a fancy studio. You can find a workout on YouTube and there are even apps catering specifically to different styles. If you want to practice, it’s only a click away. “Yoga has made me a more mindful person,” Aaron says. Currently he’s in the process of opening up his own yoga studio: Modo Yoga Downtown Brooklyn. Yoga, Aaron says, “has shown me how to love myself more than I ever thought possible. It has given me the strength to release those things that no longer serve me and to reinvest in those that lift me higher. Yoga has not just freed my body from injury, but [has] freed my mind from limitations. I am limitless. I can do anything.” APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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COARSE HAIR? INGROWN FOLLICLES? NO SWEAT. THANKS TO FOUNDER TRISTAN WALKER, MEN OF COLOR EVERYWHERE CAN HAVE THE SHAVING EXPERIENCE THAT WAS MEANT TO BE. BY DIMITRI MOISE “Tristan Walker created the company as a way to make health and beauty simple for people of color,” Alafair Hall, a company spokesperson, says about the founder (left). “Fueled by the innovation of Silicon Valley and by Tristan’s own personal passions, Walker & Company introduced the Bevel Shave System a few years ago, which is designed to help reduce razor bumps, irritation, and other issues many men of color—and those with coarse or curly hair—experience when shaving.” The company produces the Bevel Trimmer, the most advanced hair trimming device I’ve found (and has Nas bragging on social: “My signature fade with the Bevel blade”). Hall says the company also has a haircare collection called Form (, which is “for women with curly and coily hair who wear their hair in natural, straight, and protective styles.” Looking for that close shave without nicks or bumps? Think Walker & Company. You may even want to surprise a special someone with a trial to Form or Bevel as well. It will be a very smooth decision.


s someone who needs to shave at least three times a week, I’m always looking for products that will take care of my skin while considering my ingrown, coarse facial hair. For years I would deal with products that nicked my skin and left marks for days. I never understood what was so wrong with my skin—or with me. The truth was, I realized, these were products for white men with smooth, easy to get rid of hair. That’s just not for me. It’s not for us. As Black men, it can constantly be a struggle to find companies who cater to our shaving and grooming needs. Thanks to Walker & Company, we don’t have to look much further. I stumbled upon a New York City subway ad for a shaving service called Bevel ( The ad featured rapper Nas as an official sponsor of the product, so I did some digging. I saw that these were products clearly aimed for Black men, so I decided to give it a try. I’m now three months into the service, and I am never turning back. (The Bevel Starter Kit, which comes with creams, oils, balms, and 20 blades, can be found at Target or Amazon.)



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Taking the Crown This series by photographer Alex D. Rogers reveals the beauty and subjugation of Black men’s hair.

hen Atlanta-based portrait photographer Alex D. Rogers first began photographing guys with cool hair he had no idea the images in his Crown series would end up as a sociopolitical statement that would help others understand Black men’s struggles. Rogers, a New York native, studied video filmmaking for his bachelor’s degree and later went on to get a master’s in instructional design, before moving into still photography after a Janelle Monáe concert. Now, he says, he tells stories in a single frame. Rogers talks to Chill about the Crown series, his inspiration, and experiencing Blackness in America.



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Kenny Knowles: Freeform locs that have since been cut. Photographer Alex D. Rogers says he and Knowles are documenting the process of the locs regrowing. He’s the only model from this series that Rogers has continued to photograph. Catch the full interview with Kenny on

Cover star KENNY KNOWLES started modeling two years ago, around the same time he had a role in Barbershop: The Next Cut. The 22-year-old was born and raised in Georgia though his family hails from the Caribbean. “I always dreamed of being in movies, modeling, making my own music, and being able to create... clothes and art,” he says. “I knew if I could get my face to be recognized via the Internet, that was just as good as knowing the ‘right’ people,” Knowles says. His photos blew up online (Google “sexy Black men’s hair”) and he admits, “I didn’t think it would make the type of ripple effect that they did.” Then he cut his hair. “I wanted to be able to get any role or job that I needed, but to tell the truth I wish I would’ve stayed true to my hair. ... I want to leave my own little print on the world and my Black beautiful hair will be back soon. I don’t plan on ever cutting my strength again!”

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Randy: Shorter locs that were formed into a sort-of Mohawk. They have since been cut.

Phill: Worn as a curly afro during the sittings, his hair is sometimes braided or pulled back into a ponytail.

Sydell: Long locs that have since been cut.



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Matter was gaining prominence. I was becoming more aware of my Blackness in America than I had ever been as an adult. While the original intention for the project was to present ordinary Black men as these sort of artful versions of themselves, it also became a sort of bait and switch to help other people understand our struggles. I had these beautiful portraits that sometimes told heartbreaking stories. How have people responded to the Crown series?

One thing that really struck me was the way people reacted to the stories of these guys when I presented some of the photos at a local art stroll. In general, people would remark about how beautiful and interesting the hair was. Once they learned about how the subjects were forced to cut their hair to conform to bias, they were dumbfounded. I could tell that I’d exposed them to a concept they hadn’t ever given much thought to—something they never had to think about before that day. That was pretty fulfilling. Alex, tell me about your inspiration for focusing on Black men’s hair in your Crown series.

My choices for this series were based mostly on variety of shapes and styles. Part of the reason I began the project was to capture what I’d been seeing online at first—and then in the world around me. Black guys seemed to be more and more willing to try different things with their hair. I’m sure there have always been guys who did. I imagine they were spread out in their cool corners of the world and the Internet brought a lot of them together in one place. It became more normal for this generation as people saw a variety of styles executed in cool ways more often. There have been periods in American history where Black men made more “daring” choices with their hair, but that seemed to have slowed in the ‘90s and early 2000s. Some of the hairstyles and colors worn by Black men today would have been the source of ridicule in the not-so-distant past. We rarely talk about Black men’s hair in the same way—or with the same scrutiny—as we do Black women’s. Why is that?

I’m not exactly sure why the conversation around Black women’s hair is so much louder than that of Black men’s. It could be that Black men haven’t been faced with the notion that they should adhere a certain standard of beauty as it relates to their hair in ways that Black women have. On the contrary, Black women haven’t been faced with the notion that they should maintain a certain appearance of masculinity in order to avoid being preyed upon. One thing I know for sure is that we police women’s bodies and choices a lot more, in general. Yes, and American “beauty standards” have often been at odds with Black hair to begin with.

I’ve been aware of the bias associated with Black hair my entire life, but it was amplified as a few of my subjects were forced to cut their hair to gain or retain employment. That cast a darker shadow over the project pretty early on. Some of these guys had a connection with their hair that they were forced to part with to be able to get jobs. Cutting their hair didn’t make them better at their jobs. It made their physical appearance more acceptable to their employers. That was sobering. Wow, that provides a really different perspective.

The meaning of the project broadened from there. I went from capturing something that I thought was cool to feeling like I was making a case for accepting different forms of beauty. This was occurring as instances of police brutality were more widely reported on and Black Lives

Did you grow up going to a Black barbershop?

I did not grow up going to the barbershop. As far back as I can remember my parents cut my hair. I wore it long for a lot of my life, too. It wasn’t until later in high school that I remember going to a barbershop regularly. I grew it out again in college and wore braids and eventually locs. After my senior prom, I didn’t get another haircut until just before the time that I picked up a camera, ironically. I don’t know that I missed having that barbershop experience, because there were other places—like church—where I was exposed to social environments with other Black men. I recognize that a church can be a pretty homogeneous social experience in and of itself, though. I’m definitely intrigued by the barbershop dynamic. It’s very easy to be my natural fly-on-the-wall self there. I just watch and just listen. I heard a Janelle Monáe concert hooked you on photography.

That is true. I’d been a huge fan of Monáe’s shows after having seen her play a few times around Atlanta. Back in 2010, she played a two-night show in support of her major label debut album. I decided—on a whim—to purchase a better camera in time for [it]. I had no clue what I was doing. Most of photos were not that great. But the ones that did turn out were what hooked me. The fact that she’s such a dynamic performer probably had everything to do with that. I don’t photograph as many live shows as I’d like to, but artists are my favorite subject. It’s even more fulfilling when they are intentional about how they want to portray themselves or their message visually, like Monáe is. Why is it important to center people of color in your work?

Over the years, I accumulated a pretty large collection of reference images from fashion editorials. At one point, I realized that of these thousands of photos, only a small percentage included subjects of color. I’d like to help fill someone’s reference folder with great quality images of beautiful people of color one day. … It [is] important to produce work that [portrays] people of color in the ways that I’d seen them in those thousands of reference images I’d saved. What it all boils down to is representation. I try my best to avoid stereotypes in my portraits. I want people to feel proud when they see my work—whether they’re the subject of the image or not. How does being in Atlanta play a role in your work?

In general, I think being in Atlanta helps me a lot on the business side. I really enjoy the niche that I’ve been able to plug into here. And there’s no shortage of musicians and artists. Why is entrepreneurship important for men of color?

Simply put, I don’t believe there’s a more effective way to level the playing field—in terms of opportunity—than to actually be one of the ones handing them out. What’s next for you?

I love personal commissions, but ultimately I’d like to focus more on photographing artists for publications as well as their projects. I do most of my work in my studio here in Atlanta. I really enjoy working with up-and-coming artists and the budget isn’t always there to cart me and all my equipment around. I don’t mind it, though. Like with Janelle Monáe at those shows on the eve of her big national debut, there’s an energy that you just don’t get in other situations. There’s a photographer named Richard Corman who recently published a book of portraits he’d taken of Madonna in 1983 before she became Madonna. I always joke that in 30 years, I want to be one of those guys who has a folder full of portraits on an old hard drive of an artist who turned out to be just as groundbreaking. APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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How Black men and barbershop culture are inextricably linked. B Y D I M I T R I M O I S E

Michael Stiggers



Black Men & BarbershoPs

etting a cut, getting lined up, sitting with a barber—it’s a spiritual experience. The ability to sit back, close your eyes, and trust that the barber’s got you, is a special luxury. As Black men, this experience is universal. But we wondered: What happens when you bring together a group of Black men from different states to share their takes on this singular experience? We spoke with a trio of men—Jamaal Wilson in New York; Charles Jackson in Texas; and Michael Stiggers in Georgia—and were surprised at how similar, and yet different, their barbershop experiences were. Geographic differences seem to show up in contrasts around where (and how) hair was cut. New York City-bred Wilson found that accessibility to barbershops was dependent on what neighborhood of the city one was in. Living in Brooklyn and Queens provided greater access than was found out in the suburbs of Long Island. Jackson talked about his access to barbershops being influenced less by geography, and more by socioeconomics. Most of his barbers in Texas were located in lower income neighborhoods. “Everyone knew that if you went to an upscale neighborhood,” says Jackson, “they were going to mess up your hair because they aren’t real barbers—real meaning that you can cut every kind of hair, not just white people’s.” Stiggers, from Georgia, grew up with barbers mostly working out of their respective homes. For example, he would often get his hair lined up by his cousin, but “would switch it up every now and then, as he wasn’t the most reliable.” If not going to a person’s home, Stiggers said guys he knew would most likely head to their small-town barbershop, Mr. Myron’s. Overlapping barbershop experiences were most common in two areas: conversations and community. All three men talked about their favorite barbers taking more time on their hair, and viewed getting a haircut as a social event, centering around community gossip and conversations about news and sports. Wilson was happy that his barber took great care in making sure every cut was as sharp as the last. But sometimes, he admits, “barbers would take their time with clients talking, watching the game, getting into heated arguments about the latest events— and that can stretch your appointment from half an hour to an all-day event!” “Growing up in a small town, I think the barbershop was very much a place where Black men would gather—outside of church—where I spent most of my time as a youth,” Stiggers said. Wilson spoke of the masculine energy that would fill the barbershops he visited, and the


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Charles Jackson

way an attractive woman could completely alter the vibe. He recalled that when a woman walked into the shop, the flirting would skyrocket and excitement filled the air. Even the barbers would watch her use the shop as a personal runway, knowing the power she held in that space. The men would have to stop everything they were doing and catch their breath. Jackson also talked about a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie in his local shop, but he says things have changed a little since he grew up. “Now that I’m older, I have opinions on the debates and controversial conversations that are started in the barbershop, and my barber and some of the customers have had some opinions that I completely disagree with and I just have to play it off and not put out my opinion because it’ll make everything awkward.” “Shop dynamic” was something that came up multiple times in our discussions, in that any one person could change the mood of the barbershop, for better or worse. “It would sometimes be a jovial environment where men could be men,” Wilson said. “Well, until someone like an openly effeminate gay man would enter the space and the mood would completely change. Suddenly, cryptic looks were bounced around and the energy would struggle to find its way back.” But when someone well-known would come in to keep the party alive, energy was up and spirits were high. In small-town Georgia, everyone knew everyone. Stiggers, the son of a pastor, talked about the difference in the shop dynamic when his father was present, saying it was “common that most conversations around sports, news, and general gossip would became a little more tame when my father was around, just because most brothers didn’t want to look disrespectful to the pastor.” Nowadays, these men have settled (mostly) on a regular barber. Wilson travels frequently

Jamaal Wilson

for work, so when he’s in New York, he’s able to reconnect with his favorite guy. They’ve got a great rapport, Wilson said, and his barber knows exactly what he wants, so Wilson is able to sit back, relax, and let his guy do the work. Jackson had always remained loyal to his barber at home, but admitted that, since the guy moved to a more upscale location and now works on a system where clients pay $500 (upfront) for a year’s worth of cuts he had to switch to another barber. In New York, Stiggers regularly sees an out gay barber who takes his time and treats every client with respect. Seeing him got Stiggers thinking about the toxic masculinity he sees in the Black barbershop world—gay or not. “Both are completely acceptable in the Black community, and I think we’re in a time now where those worlds can come together, to be inclusive of each other,” says Stiggers. “Kill the toxic masculinity that still exists in some parts of the culture and it will open up more opportunities…. At the end of the day, something as simple as a

haircut can change a man’s whole outlook, no matter who they are.” It seems as though the one frayed line of these linked experiences points to gender expectations about what’s masculine vs. what’s feminine, who is allowed to express masculinity or femininity, and whether such expressions have a place in the barbershop. Let’s hope the inclusivity continues, so the gap can be bridged. Jackson noted that, at least in some places, the barbershop culture has started to change: “A lot of barbershops used to be owned by someone like an older gentleman, who kept the other barbers in line and helped curate a family vibe that lent more to the culture. These days, the owners might be younger and are cultivating a more business acumen that might be detrimental to the laidback culture.” What will barbershops look like in the future, and will today’s Black youth still have the barbershop experience that our three guys shared? Only time will tell. APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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As a gay Black man growing up in barbershop culture, it took me a little longer than most to find a barber I could call my own. B Y D I M I T R I M O I S E

rowing up, fitting in wasn’t always easy. I was the American-born son of Haitian parents who desperately wished for their child to be attracted to women—which I wasn’t. I grew up in predominantly white spaces, often becoming the token Black friend my peers turned to when they needed a representative of Black culture. Not to mention, I was raised in a religion that actively told me I could never be accepted because of my sexuality. Fortunately, I was able to circumvent my inability to conform by learning how to become a social butterfly. I could float from clique to clique, and morph myself into whatever anyone else needed me to be—or what I thought people wanted me to be. My chameleon-like tactics seemed to work. But when it was time to face my own people— those who looked like me—the chameleon died, and my true colors were revealed. I didn’t know who I was. The most visceral deaths of my inner chameleon happened in the same place—a place that terrified me, and I was unwilling to brave alone: my local barbershop. Down the road from my childhood home, a shop was owned and run by Haitians, for Haitians. My parents were steadfast in making sure their money went to our people, tracking down every Haitian-owned business possible within a 10-mile radius. After years of getting my hair cut by my father, I was ready for a professional to keep my hair looking sharp and sleek. I wasn’t ready for was the level of disdain I would receive when I stepped inside the shop. I was pretty deft as a child. After all, a kid knows when they’re not liked or wanted. I understand now as an adult that the rejection from barbers and patrons came from discrimination based on my (assumed) sexuality. As a kid, all I knew was that I didn’t fit in, I wasn’t liked, and I couldn’t connect. I remember watching barbers crack jokes with patrons and share stories while talking sports, cars, and women. This was their culture. If ever I tried to chime in, I was completely ignored or immediately shut down. Sometimes comments were said out loud in hopes I would hear. What was I to do? How would I react? How else would I get shaped up? It left me feeling sad and empty, with so many questions. Was it the way I spoke? Was it how I dressed? Was I smiling too much? Did I not have a certain swag? All I could do was close my eyes and hope for a quick exit. Facing society’s microaggressions as a Black person in addition to the prejudice I faced within my own community is something not uncommon within Black culture, particularly in barbershop culture. It’s as though there is an unspoken code as a closeted gay Black man that I never learned. Getting a haircut is sacred in our community. It matters who does you up. Knowing which barber’s chair to sit in is important because your barber is your friend. Your barber becomes part of your family. Developing a relationship with someone who understands your hair, your kinks, and your style is important. It’s not something we as Black men can find everywhere. I came out of the closet at the end of high school. When I entered college, I began to gain more confidence in who I was, and started to own my gay identity. It felt empowering. When it was time to find a new barbershop, I stumbled on a place recommended to me by some classmates. As soon as I stepped inside, my childhood feelings came rushing back as I watched the eyes firing at me. Everyone could tell I didn’t speak the code. This was a larger shop with dozens of barbers, unlike my childhood shop that housed a humble four. Who was I to pick? Who could I trust? It took some bouncing around (three to be exact) over a period of six months. The fourth barber chair I sat in felt different. I was met with a man who greeted me with a smile and firm handshake. A man who could see I didn’t speak the code, but it didn’t bother him. He had a picture with the Old Spice Guy hanging up on his mirror! For some reason, that sat well with me. We got to know one another, cracked a couple jokes, and shared a few stories. He was the first barber who asked me where I was from. That meant something. Flash forward seven years, and Marcello and I are still friends today. Rest assured, he still cuts my hair. I found my guy and I’m never letting go. In fact, he was able to leave the shop where we met to open up his own place—and I was the first person he told. That also meant something.


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COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET APRIL 20–22 THE MUSIC CENTER’S DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION | (213) 972-0711 GROUPS OF 10+: (213) 972-8555 | Complexions Contemporary Ballet dancer Kelly Marsh IV. Photo by Steven Trumon Gray.

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It’s time to get our streetwear on with Chill’s new fashion editor, ames ro n ac of man trades, ro n splits his time between styling, designing, and performing—and can currently be seen as King Agnarr in Disney’s Frozen on road a You ma have also caught him handing out trips to ar ados on The Wendy Williams sho as the eloved ar ados ill ere he sho s off the latest trends and hottest looks in men’s fashion for the spring and summer. And trust us, it’s going to be a hot one. teve chepis teve chepis hotograph aco mith t ling and modelling ames ro n

ames ro niii

James and the Amazing Technical Dream Coat

The technical jacket (i.e. anorak or parka) has long been adored by nature junkies, and ignored by fashion junkies. Luckily, form is catching up with function, and this utterly practical garment is finall receiving the sartorial overhaul it so desperately needs. A nice alternative to the classic (yet, predictable) leather bomber, the new and improved technical jacket comes in daring colors and luxurious finishes ro n raves the elements in style with this DDUGOFF (pronounced d of overcoat White Chris Overcoat by DDUGOFF; navy/black Ellison Diaper Bag by E.C. Knox



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Tropic Thunder

Since it’s typically associated with middle-aged white dudes who have, in the throws of existential crisis, Tiki-torched the hell out of their backyards and drunkenly danced to “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” it’s easy to see how the tropical shirt gets a bad rap. But here’s a secret: The key to elevating this garment from tacky aesthetic cliché to sartorial homerun has everything to do with balance. When worn with a pair of well-tailored shorts and stylish sunglasses, this Scotch & Soda tropical button down looks playful, without looking clownish. Hooded jacket, button down shirt, polka dot short by Scotch & Soda; army green Chuck Taylors by Converse; tortoise/amber Desire sunglasses by Remo Tulliani



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Salute Your Shorts

One of this season’s biggest trends is less about the garment itself, and more about what lies underneath. The short short is back (and it’s shorter than ever). Pleated or with drawstrings, solid or patterned, it makes no difference so long as they’re worn well above the knee— and ith an air of confidence Brown shows off his gams in a pair of striped DDUGOFF shorts with coordinating button down. The old adage “don’t skip leg day” has never rang truer, because this summer, skin is most certainly in. Navy stripe bomber jacket, navy linen stripe Henry shirt; navy linen stripe boxers by DDUGOFF; navy Mercer double monk strap shoe by Noah Waxman; tortoise/blue fade Trust sunglasses by Remo Tulliani


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ST YLE American Dad

We’ve noticed an increase of classic “old man” pieces on the street: suits, cardigans, sweaters, polos, but with a less stuffy, more relaxed sensibility. Narrowing your color palette, as Brown does with this muted earth tone Stephen F suit and Miansai leather rucksack, gives you an opportunity to play up te ture he finished effect is both timeless and contemporary. The dad bod has never looked so good. Brown suit by Stephen F; White Henley by Scotch & Soda; in brown double monk strap shoe by John Varvatos; tobacco leather/ denim rucksack by Miansai


Makeup artist, actor, and writer Steve Schepis was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on Broadway.



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In Living Color

Everything old is new again, which means the ‘90s are back with a vengeance. For men’s fashion, this means color, color, color. Just where do you think the millennial pink craze got its start? This pink tee, worn under a teal blue double-breasted blazer and tan baggy trouser, feels nostalgic (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, anyone?) but without feeling dated. Now if only we could bring back our ‘90s president. Teal double-breasted blazer, tan slacks by Stephen F; millennial pink T-shirt by Top Man; tan suede tasseled loafer by Aldo; black Rhone Cole bag by JADE; sky/coral Ambition sunglasses by Remo Tulliani


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Part of the new Black renaissance, showrunner James Bland will make you believe he has superpowers. By Gerald Garth

f you take the Notorious B.I.G. and mix in some Chadwick Boseman, with a sprinkle of Cardi B, garnished with down South Christian values; who do you get? James Bland. Hailing from Titusville, Fla., the filmmaker, actor, and director serves as the executive producer and showrunner of the digital series Giants (, and he wants us all to stay focused on our dreams. “We are the manifestations, representation of a dream deferred,” he says, quoting literary great Langston Hughes. Bland is great in his own right, and he’s proving it time and time again. Giants follows three millennials determined to live life on their own terms, no matter the cost. Created, written, and directed by Bland, it’s no accident the entire series is also produced and distributed by people of color, including Empire star Jussie Smollett who acts as


executive producer. The second season of the series premiered earlier this year on Issa Rae’s (HBO’s Insecure) YouTube channel. Bland’s journey to Giants began at Florida A&M University, where he says, “I started auditioning for student plays and films. Once I discovered filmmaking, the rest is history.” Having written and directed his first film during his senior year of college, the artist then moved to Los Angeles a decade ago to pursue Hollywood dreams. “Giants is part of a renaissance, a resurgence,” he explains. “One of the biggest objectives is that Giants is a show for the culture—the cultural greatness and cultural excellence of Blackness.” Bland, who also stars on Giants as Malachi, is ready to see the show break barriers. “Giants tackles issues specific to the Black millennial experience.” The show is an intimate look at the unconventional lives of three friends and the obstacles they encounter.

For one, Bland hopes to use Giants to build storylines around mental health. “We don’t talk about [mental illness] much in our communities. Giants is really shedding a light on what it looks like to deal with it. And to normalize it.” On the show, actress Vanessa Baden Kelly powerfully brings to life the individual and collective impacts of bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) through the character, Journee. The show also addresses sexuality and traditional views of Black masculinity. “We know the Black community is inherently homophobic, because of our religion, our upbringing, and culture,” he says. “We want to break down some of those barriers and walls perhaps to make it easier for younger boys and girls to come out to their parents and to have that conversation. I believe Giants will help people be more tolerant and more understanding of the struggles we all face. And to normalize it.”


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Scenes from Giants, an online drama series following the lives of three Black millennials. Series regulars include Sean Samuels (2nd from left), Vanessa Baden, (2nd from right) and James Bland (below).

Viewers follow Ade (Sean Samuels) throughout Giants as he battles with his identity and sexuality. “Black men can explore sexuality without labels and judgment,” says Bland. “Also, Black men can be intimate with each other without sex being involved. Black men don’t get the freedom to express ourselves and to be vulnerable.” By so vividly looking at issues that for many years have been taboo in Black communities, Bland is arguably becoming the face of a movement. “I’m just walking in my truth. My mom says God can do more with an honest heart and I’m leading with my heart, aiming to tell stories from a very honest place. God is in the driver’s seat, I’m just along for the ride.” So how does it feel to be the face of a movement? “It’s not heavy on me, because I’m working on being in the moment and creating from an honest space,” Bland says. From the church to the trap, Bland cites Black brilliance as inspiration. “Blackness

inspires me. Kendrick Lamar is a visual genius. Every music video [he does] makes me want to throw my entire catalog away and start from scratch. Chance the Rapper, not only his musicianship, but also his business savvy. The way he’s been able to release an album and win Grammys without a label. Black excellence all around inspires me.” Bland cites a favorite Biblical passage (from the Hebrew version) as another inspiration: “Habakkuk 2:3: ‘For the vision is yet an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it lingers, wait for it; because it will surely come.’” He takes the importance of patience and perseverance to heart, explaining, “They say it typically takes about 10,000 hours to become a master at anything. So, I really want my walk, my art, my journey to be a testament of being in the gym. Working out. Even when you feel like people don’t see you. Just know your time is coming. ‘Vision awaits an appointed time. Though it lingers,

it shall surely come.’ It’s about tenacity. Be diligent. My journey as an artist, particularly here in L.A., is a testament of that.” He’s not about to stop now, and that tenacity is sure to keep Bland reaching his goals, like the feature films he dreams of writing and directing. “Right now, I’m in the episodic digital space,” he admits. “But I plan to write, act, direct, all around—depends on the story. I want to be in Black Panther 2, too.” Imagining Bland as a superhero is no stretch—for him or us. “I believe I have super powers,” he says. “Since I was a kid, I’ve always felt I’ve had the ability to do things that are supernatural. And I experienced it through church, like speaking in tongues or being prophetic or laying hands. My super powers hadn’t come to me yet, in that sense, but I believe that one day, I’m gonna tap into them.”



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What inspires you?

I’m a storyteller and a student of life. Life and all of its experiences feed my soul. Also, great art [and] artists inspire me. I celebrate my fellow artists and it pushes me to walk in artistic excellence, as they do. Is there advice you live by?

LIVING WITHOUT LIMITS Hamilton and Empire star Bryan Terrell Clark on standing centerstage in the world’s biggest Broadway show, overcoming racism in the industry, and fighting Donald Trump’s attacks on arts education. By Dimitri Moise

Follow your heart. Your passion and the things you desire are the compass of your life. Life is the journey. Your talents and your gifts and your intellect are the vehicle… but your heart is the compass, always follow that. Let’s talk about the charity you founded, InDefined.

InDefined started with me and my business partner Robert Raeder. All we knew is that we wanted to make a difference. We created a fashion line and the funding went towards helping at-risk youth have access to arts education. This was [early 2017], and we had no idea that when Donald Trump was in office one of the first things to be attacked was funding for the arts. Since then our work has expanded. We have helped to raise over $90,000 for various charities and organizations impacting and empowering people around the globe. We are now more than just a fashion line. We are an empowering movement—finding ways to empower people through what we call “incentivized altruism.” When you shop InDefined, you really are making a difference. How has being a man of color impacted your work as an actor and musician?

My race has fortunately and unfortunately been part of every aspect of my career. Because there is a cultural experience that helped shape my point of view as a creator, there is a wealth in the experience of this melanin. Unfortunately, people that run these industries often exploit that wealth, or limit and restrict it. Those restrictions are often limited to genre or often opportunity.


Take us through a typical work day for you.

ryan Terrell Clark lights up Broadway as George Washington in Hamilton. His turns on TV shows like Empire have cemented his icon status, but when he’s not on stage or screen, this actor and musician turns his focus toward activism with his new charity,, a social fashion brand whose proceeds ($90,000 last year) go towards helping atrisk youth get exposure to the arts and access to arts education.

My days are jam-packed. I start my day writing down what I’m grateful for, and I pray and meditate. Then I’m off to the races. During the day, I’m usually in meetings for philanthropic endeavors, auditions, interviews, writing in the studio, or [in] script development sessions. Sometimes we’re called to “brush up” rehearsals for Hamilton. I try to hit the gym before my show every night. Then it’s three hours on stage, meeting guests after the show, and before I’m off to sleep I’m usually learning lines for the next audition or writing for future projects. It’s a busy life, but I love it.

How’s your creative journey been so far?

Tell be about an amazing moment you’ve had on stage.

I asked my mother recently, “When did I first say I wanted to be an actor?” She said, “Before you could talk. If you heard your favorite song, or your favorite show on television, you would immediately start smiling and bouncing.” The journey of life is hard at times. My career has had great highs and great lows. But all of the journey is valid and helped shape who I am. The hardest part of the industry is being patient and handling rejection. Once I allowed myself to learn the discipline of being present, and I accepted that rejection is often times life’s direction, I’ve enjoyed the journey a lot more.

One of my favorite experiences was my first night on as George Washington in Hamilton. I was singing “One Last Time” and I realized in the middle of the song, that President Barack Obama was in Chicago giving his “One Last Time” speech at the same time. When I got to the end of the stage and finished the song, I was shaking and weeping, and the audience was in tears as well. I think we collectively had an awareness of the moment at the same time.



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ENTERTAIN MENT rom the moment Preacher Lawson answers the phone—his booming, boisterous “Hello!” followed by an awkward-yet-hilarious moment of him pretending to be someone else named Jonathan—you realize the comedian is in the right line of work. When I tell him it’s too late and that I recognized his voice, he responds, “Man, I should’ve been more quiet, but [singing Broadway style] that’s not possible!” All this in the first 30 seconds. Some people were just born to make us laugh, and Lawson—one of last year’s America’s Got Talent finalists, who started sneaking into clubs and doing standup at 17—certainly falls into this category. But growing up, standup wasn’t even on his radar. “I didn’t have a huge influence of [standup] comedians. I used to watch sitcoms… my influences were Will Smith, The Jaime Foxx Show, and… Martin,” Lawson recalls. Things took a huge turn when he discovered a particular standup special. “I didn’t know Eddie Murphy did standup until I was 17,” he admits. Then his mom gave him a DVD of the legendary Eddie Murphy Raw for his birthday. “I watched that maybe a hundred times.” From there, Lawson says he was hooked. Still a teenager, he had to use his wits and charm to get past bouncers at clubs in Memphis, Tenn., where he wanted to perform. “You know, Memphis doesn’t have a comedy scene, so I was doing standup in laundry mats, and random cafes, and in these random bars.” “I used to sneak in,” he admits with a laugh. “I would talk to the bouncer. I would just talk to him like, ‘Yeah man, like, yo, where do you go to school at? Oh, my friend went to school there, that’s great,’ and then I would just slip in like ‘Alright man, I’m gonna go in and I’ll see you later.’ And I would just go inside, and they wouldn’t even notice. And then, after a while they just kind of knew who I was.” Eventually, the lack of a true comedy scene in his hometown, and the long sleepless nights driving to different venues took its toll on the young ambitious comedian. “I fell asleep when I was driving and then I got in a really bad car wreck,” he says. “I just [needed] to start anew.” So, he moved to Portland, Ore., where he had family. The Pacific Northwest comedy circuit was a big improvement, but Lawson says he never felt 100 percent at home there. “I have family there, but a lot of your family isn’t blood, you know,” he explains. “I had a lot of blood family there, but I didn’t have a lot of family down there.” Eventually, Lawson says he decided to try his hand in Los Angeles, and “then America’s Got Talent [happened]. Bam.” Considered by many as the funniest comedian to ever take the AGT stage, Lawson,


Funnyman Preacher Lawson keeps it real, splitting your sides with cracks about his pray-the-emergency-away grandmother and his obviously gay brother (needlessly) coming out. By Desirée Guerrero now 26, still finds it difficult to explain the feeling of going onstage for the first time on the talent competition show. “It was pretty insane,” he says, sounding somewhat serious for the first time in our conversation. “I don’t know if I can explain it… it’s like your first time ever being on a roller coaster, and you know you’re not going to die, but before you’re like, ‘I might die!’” He says that as soon as he got onstage, “I wasn’t nervous anymore. ... I didn’t care if I went through or not, to be honest with you, because… being on the show, I’d already won. Everything else was just icing on the cake.” Beyond his boisterous voice, cartoonish facial expressions, and hilarious flair for physical comedy, Lawson’s success can be attributed to his brutally honest, sometimes heartwarming, material. Most of his jokes are family-friendly—often about his family—and very relatable, especially for people of color. One joke that helped Lawson win over the judges during his first America’s Got Talent performance was about his God-loving grandmother, who will pray in emergencies rather than call 911.

“My grandfather had a heart attack one time… and she really started praying. It’s like, you can pray on the way to the hospital! You can multi-task: 9-1-1, then ‘Help me Lord, Father, God.’ That’s a true story.” There’s also a portion of his routine dedicated to his brother’s coming out as a gay man—though Lawson admits he started telling the joke onstage before his brother knew about it. It centers on the idea that friends and family have often already figured out someone was gay long before that person comes out. Lawson says the response from LGBTQ folks has been very positive, he thinks, because “they can just relate to coming out, and that people already knew. Because we already knew… we was waiting on ya!” Since his time on season 12 of AGT, the rising comedic talent has been traveling the East Coast with his aptly named Big Sounds and Loud Voices Tour, which runs through August. Lawson, still in his 20s, is already a veteran performer and bona fide TV star—and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.



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“If you’re an outsider,” Prince Michael says, “You’re the one who’s really breaking barriers and doing monumental things in life. If you feel like you don’t fit in a box, you might want to explore your talent, because you just might be Kanye. You never know.” 44


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Love & Hip Hop: Miami star Prince Michael speaks the truth on fame, mental health, homophobia, and the future of fashion. There are unexpected depths to Christopher “Prince” Michael Harty, also known as the Fresh Prince of South Beach. Leading conversations about emotional health and bucking stereotypes, Harty is breaking barriers and shifting norms—and having a good time in the process. He was no stranger to the fast life before his appearance on Love & Hip Hop: Miami, but the show certainly kicked it up a notch. “My life was already pretty crazy as a [party] promoter, but being famous has a different effect on your life,” he shares. “It still hasn’t hit me. And I’m like D-level, like C, D. People are [star] struck and I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m just a regular person!’” Harty also adds that TV and media aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Like so many his age, the 28-year-old is still figuring it out. “People assume that just because you’re on TV, you’re rich, your life is perfect,” he

says. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. I think TV makes it that much harder, because now I’m under a microscope.” And all that glitters is not gold. As Harty points out, life is not as lit as it looks on camera. In the entertainment industry, public scrutiny and rejection take their toll on emotional health. “I’m actually very insecure, despite the bravado I give off on TV,” he says. “I’m 100 percent authentic—wild, eccentric, all over the place. I struggle with inner battles: between being emotional, slightly bipolar, or just trying to keep my thoughts together. There are things I wish I could change, but there’s nothing I can do about it, just try to improve on it.” Harty says that “Black and brown men deal with much more than other groups. Also, the stigma surrounding emotional health and treatment, the need for support. All that.” By initiating conversations around once taboo topics, Harty is set on creating change all around.

“I’m a walking oxymoron. For one, my best friend is gay. Super gay. Flamboyant. Bobby Lytes [his co-star on Love & Hip Hop: Miami], that’s my best friend and I don’t care what people say about me hanging out with him. ‘Oh, a heterosexual male has nothing in common with a homosexual male.’ Well, actually we have a lot in common. We both like to party, we both like to go out and have a good time. It’s about good vibes. We both like to shop.… The only thing we don’t have in common is he likes one body part and I like another. That has nothing to do with our friendship.” Harty isn’t afraid to change the aesthetic of hip-hop, too. “Another thing is how I dress and how I talk. Hip-hop for a long time has looked like one thing, and it didn’t look like me. And this isn’t me patting myself on the back or tooting my own horn, this is just me stating facts. Look at the world today. Everything is completely different and outside the norm. I’m trying to spread positivity and help people live their best lives.” So what’s his advice for others who live outside the norm? “You’re a visionary. You’re the one who’s really breaking barriers and doing monumental things in life. If you feel like you don’t fit in a box, you might want to explore your talent, because you just might be Kanye. You never know.” Right now, the star is working on his clothing line, Roielte (pronounced “royalty”), described as very high-end urban fashion. “I’m trying to get signed to a modeling agency,” he adds. “Ten years ago, to be a model you had to look a certain way, be a certain weight, a certain height. But now different is where it is. And if you’re still in that old mentality, you’re lost.” APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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BREAKING THROUGH Since his big break on Love & Hip Hop: New York, Jonathan Fernandez is becoming a major entrepreneur. And he’s only just begun.

How has life changed since you started the show? When you sign up to do a reality show, you basically sign up to have video cameras there all the time. For the first three years, I was able to share the platform with my best friend, Anais. And the focus was her. I was just there to give advice. But this experience did help me to get comfortable being on camera. Once the cameras are on, it’s like, “Oh, crap, I can’t hide.” They want your thoughts, your opinions—and I have a lot of opinions, [but] it can get you in trouble, especially if you’re sitting at a table of, say, eight other people, who also have strong opinions… Personalities change once the camera comes on, because a lot of times people want to do what’s called “steal the scene.” People will lie on you, throw you under the bus, they’ll do all kinds of things. I had already witnessed that for seven years, so I walked into the situation prepared, because I’ve seen it all. What made you decide to share your traumatic experience of being sent to gay conversion therapy when you were 10 years old? [During] casting, [producers] ask you questions on camera—all the way from your childhood. I mentioned [the experience] in passing and choked up and skimmed past it. The producers said, “Well, don’t skim past it. If you’re still


choking up, then there must be unsettled issues.” And the more I talked about it, the more I broke down. I could not stop crying. They stopped the cameras and asked me why have I never talked about this before? I said, “I’ve always had to be the strong one, and I didn’t want people to feel bad for me. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me.” The producers said they would never force me to talk about it or do anything, but they did believe that by sharing my story I could help heal people who may have gone through the same thing. Or that I could possibly dissuade somebody from doing this to their child. That changed it for you? I said, “You know what? You’re absolutely right.” But first [I needed to] have this conversation with my mom and ask if she would be comfortable coming on television to talk about what really happened to me [in conversion


Love & Hip Hop: New York star Jonathan Fernandez began working in makeup at 15, while living with his large, tight-knit family in Washington Heights, N.Y. He quickly proved his value after working with big name clients like Anais Martinez (also from Love & Hip Hop). Now, with the launch of his new makeup line, By Jonathan, the star is ready to take the world by storm. Fernandez opens up about his childhood, the show, and what’s next.


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therapy], and I’ll make my decision based on that. She saw that I felt strongly about it and agreed. I know how sometimes these family conversations [on television] can go left. And I didn’t want my mother to feel ambushed. I wanted to repair our relationship, not make it worse. What would you say to the parents of non-conforming boys and girls? Instead of trying to change or hide your child, or teaching your child to blend in, teach your child that they are different, but they are not alone. And things will get better. Parents, don’t feel obligated to change your child. Don’t do anything that would make your children feel like they are not good enough. If you could, what would 33-yearold Jonathan say to 10-year-old Jonathan? Dry your eyes. They don’t see you now, but one day they will. You are great. Embrace that you are weird, but it’s magical. You are magical. And there are other magical kids just like you.


What’s next for you? I’m focusing on my makeup brand launching in April— available at But I am expanding beyond makeup. I realized what I love about makeup is being around people, talking to people, making people feel good. So, I’m also working on a radio show. I can’t say the name yet, but my on-air personality will be named Motor Mouth Johnny. It’s not quite a gossip column, but imagine if Mario Lopez, Andy Cohen, Ricky Martin, and Anais had a baby and he had a talk show— it’d be that—on the radio. I’ll also be managing artists. Yandy [Smith, of Love & Hip Hop: New York] has taken me under her wing. I want to give other LGBTQ entertainers like me opportunities. If I’ve been given a platform, why not share it? Actors, singers, dancers, artists, all that. I like to juggle a lot of balls—no pun intended. What are your words of advice? Past experiences don’t define us no matter what the world sees or how society treats us. We determine our own worth. We know what we bring to the table, and we matter. And if you’re in charge of that in every situation, nobody can make you feel any kind of way. You have the power to make them feel some kind of way.—GERALD GARTH

LOVE & HIP HOP TACKLES #METOO The honesty of Peter Gunz, one of the show’s charismatic leading men, has helped urge men to come forward about their own sexual assaults—and the impact on their relationships. Peter Gunz, star of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop revealed a shocking truth at the end of 2017 on an episode of Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars. In a session with Dr. Venus Nicolino (dubbed Dr. V), one of the show’s therapist hosts, Gunz opened up about his childhood sexual assault. Peter Gunz and Amina Buddafly at WE TV's “An older woman, she used to do some celebration season 7 of Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars at NYC's The Attic really inappropriate things to me… put her Rooftop & Lounge mouth in inappropriate places,” he said. “When I got older, 14, the girlfriends I had, I was pressuring them into having sex,” he added. “So I felt like I took the abuse that I got and put it on other people. I always will regret that.” Gunz acknowleged that he was intimidated by his abuser and frightened to admit the truth of what was going on. “Everyone has been victimized at some point, but unless those traumas are dealt with, they become time bombs in our relationships,” Dr. V replied. As a victim of sexual assault, Gunz felt too scared to talk about what happened to him, especially while he was still a young boy. When we can’t deal with traumatic experiences as they occur in our lives, and when we are unable to talk about the things that frighten us, we take those things and tuck them away. But we can’t keep the truth from eventually bursting at the seams to be revealed. And in order to keep a lid on our feelings about the trauma, we often find unhealthy—even abusive—ways to deal. We may turn to drugs or alcohol. Or like Gunz, we can end up potentially victimizing others. He felt he could only cope with his abuse by putting sexual pressure on girls when he was a teenager. It takes a brave man to both admit that and to express regret for his behavior. Men are not typically the focus of sexual assault stories. As we live in a world dominated by societal views of masculinity, a man admitting that he was sexually assaulted can be a very controversial thing. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, actor Terry Crews received backlash for coming forward about being targeted with unwanted and even aggressive sexual attention. In response, questions were raised about his sexuality and jokes were made about his “inability” to fight back. His response (on Twitter) included a reference to what he called the “man code.” “The man code is why I endured the male version of a female survivor being asked, ‘What were you wearing?’” he tweeted. The decision Gunz and Crews made to talk about their pasts required a level of courage and vulnerability men rarely have the need—or opportunity—to take. In my own communities and circles, I too found that I was silenced when I attempted to connect with my peers regarding my own sexual assault. It’s something that doesn’t seem to be talked about among men, even within the #MeToo movement, and in communities where hypermasculinity is king. It’s time to change that. —DIMITRI MOISE


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B O B B Y LY T E S UP THE WORLD This Love & Hip Hop: Miami star has big plansâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and not just for music. By Gerald Garth



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money, but I wanted to give the fans another free project—another good quality record that the fans would like. And I did it on my own. And I wanted to see what the record would do on its own.

Bobby Lytes, star of Love & Hip Hop: Miami, is taking the world by storm—and he’s not stopping anytime soon. The 27-year-old artist, singer, songwriter, actor, and entrepreneur says he’s “here to change the world.” How did you get connected to Love & Hip Hop: Miami? Well, one thing about Love & Hip Hop: Miami, you can’t audition for the show. Felisha Monet from 99 JAMZ in Miami ( actually reached out to me. From there, it just turned into an awesome opportunity for me to interview with the casting directors, and they fell in love. And they gave me an opportunity as a cast member of the show. And it’s been an amazing opportunity so far. What inspires you? My creativity inspires me. My drive for life and my want to be bigger than I am—to leave a legacy. That idea inspires me to go as hard as I do. And of course, my fans. People who find out about me and view me as an inspiration, that inspires me. It’s mind-blowing. My fans give me a surge to keep going. Shout out to the Lytes Mafia [Bobby’s fans]!


You make the point that you’re not a gay rapper, but a rapper who just happens to be gay. Why is that important to you? That’s part of the process to help people take [LGBTQ artists] more seriously and realize that everyone is human first. We’re all the same, no matter what. “Female rapper, gay rapper.” We don’t need labels. We should be a rapper first. It’s important to focus on the music, not who’s behind the music. The music is supposed to touch you. It’s a deep thing. As long as the music is good and has a message, things like race, gender, and sexuality shouldn’t matter. Your own music is really starting to make movement, including your track, “I Need Your Love.” How does that feel? Everyone thought I should put this song out to just make

You’re doing a lot to continue to break barriers for LGBTQ artists, particularly rappers. How does that feel? It feels awesome. I have thought about this for a long time. I’m not the first gay rapper or first openly gay person to pursue music, but I feel I am the first to succeed in how I’m doing it. I just want to use this momentum and ride the wave and see how things go. And I’m just getting started. What would you say to other aspiring artists who are learning to navigate being a talent first and whatever else second? I would just say focus on the craft first. Create music, create content, be able to give the fans something more than just pictures on Instagram. Give things that can last a lifetime. Whatever your lane is, focus on that—perfect that craft. And once you’ve done that, then you can focus on the fun stuff, like image and interviews. And of course, never give up. If you want it, you gotta keep going. Prince Michael, your Love & Hip Hop: Miami costar, talked about your friendship as a barrier breaker, because he’s straight and you’re gay. What are your thoughts as it relates to building bonds with other men? You gotta be yourself first, honestly. Truly. Prince and I became friends pretty naturally and mostly because of our natural bond. And in order for that to take place, I was just being myself and he said he respected my confidence. He says I’m like a gay version of him. At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with embracing yourself. If you’re over-the-top, if you’re effeminate, whatever—people are going to love you for you, people are going to hate you for you. Even the people you wish you could be like, people hate them. It’s up to you to be you, and up to the other person to take you for you. In order for relationships to happen, people have to embrace each other and break down those barriers, and people need to learn to accept people for who they are. People need to be confident within themselves and love themselves first, because ain’t nobody gonna love you if you don’t love yourself first. And that is true tea, in the words of RuPaul. Message! How do you plan to continue to use your platform as it grows? I want to continue to create good music. And in between my music, I see myself being a stronger LGBTQ advocate: taking a political stance, putting out statements, giving speeches. That’s something I’ve been considering. Tell us about your track, “Way Up.” It’s the single that’s about to change the world. It’s a very inspirational record and I’m looking forward to getting the reaction from the rest of the world. Once I get that energy, then I can live in the moment. It’s a new sound, it’s fun, it’s radio-ready. It’s uplifting. We’ve been spending a lot of time and money on mixing and mastering. It’s my baby and I know it’s going to inspire a lot of people. What’s something you want to leave with Chill readers? Love yourself, stay focused, and all things are possible. And y’all watch out for me—I have a lot of things in store that I would love for everyone to be a part of. APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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BLACKNESS IS Photographer THIAGO BORBA captures the beauty of Black Brazilians in his breathtaking photo series.




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P O R T R AY I N G B L A C K B E A U T Y in

the heart of Brazil, photographer Thiago Borba seeks to deconstruct racism while bringing Black Brazilian representation to the forefront in his photo series #BlackIsBeautiful. The series was born from an exhibit Borba produced last year called Hidden Paradise, which he says was created from a “need to give protagonism and identity to the Black body.” His passion to highlight the beauty of Blackness continues to drive his work today. Born and raised in the mostly Black Brazilian city of Salvador, the gay artist (who is half white and half Black) couldn’t find or , so he moved to o aulo, here he’s lived and worked for a decade. It was there he saw the disgrace of colorism. He sa s that in o aulo, the lac er one is, the more discrimination they face. That’s why he was inspired to return to his hometown and do the photo series.


Borba tells Chill that his photos are meant to offer a compassionate view of Black Brazilians, and throw “a naked look at social values, a look that recognizes what is beautiful regardless of color—and from there show that we need to change the way we were taught to look at us Black [people].” All of the models featured in the photos are either friends or friends of friends, which, to the 34-year-old artist, makes it all the more authentic. Last November, the government included his photos in the campaign Novembro Negro (“Black November”). For weeks his pictures were displayed on billboards, bus stops, and subways. “The work has been received by the eyes of identification,” Borba shares. “I receive numerous messages daily from Blacks of the whole world that felt touched in some way [by] the series—and this, for me, is the best feedback that I could have.”—david artavia


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The year’s sneaker trends will gradually reveal themselves in spring, efore the ecome full edged cra es the end of summer Check out all the footwear fads before they blow up the racks. Adidas FUTURECRAFT 4D Laceless Basketball Sneaker

COMME des GARÇONS PLAY x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

In their 2018 spring/summer collection, COMME des GARÇONS has included their latest collaboration with Converse: Chuck Taylor All Stars in either white or khaki green. Those recognizable CDG hearts feature heavily. I’m not mad about it.



Adidas is serious when it says 3D-printing is the future of footwear. The brand has now introduced a laceless, sock-like sneaker with Futurecraft 3D-printed soles. Expect them to drop in a very limited edition by this summer.


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Supreme x NBA x Nike Air Force 1

Supreme has once again teamed with Nike and the NBA for a new apparel collection, which includes warm-up jackets and jerseys. A standout is an Air Force 1 mid-sneaker decked out in Supreme branding and logos of your favorite NBA franchises.

Dior Homme B22 Sneaker

Dior is the latest top-shelf brand to jump on the purposefully over-the-top â&#x20AC;&#x153;ugly sneakerâ&#x20AC;? trend. The typically understated fashion house goes full maximalist in a black, white, red, and yellow option made of leather, technical fabrics, and absurdly thick rubber soles.


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NUTRITION Jay-Z & Beyoncé Want You to Go Vegan

pioneering lac comedian and activist as a natural food enthusiast long efore the da challenge BY SAVAS ABADSIDIS

ne of my best friends growing up, Angie, had a famous uncle, the actor and producer Bill Duke, who would book talent in the area whenever he was in town. They’d often meet at Angie’s house after shows. My favorite of the many visitors was Duke’s good friend, comedian Dick Gregory. I didn’t realize the full weight of who Gregory was at the time, but knew he was a big deal, which was evident in the stories he would tell us about his friend Martin Luther King, Jr., and about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Gregory also introduced me to aspects of the movement that had never occurred to me (and still aren’t commonly known): environmentalism and the importance of a nutritious diet. Gregory would rail about how white hippies talked about the environment as if they owned it, but Black folks often lived in areas of towns and cities where landfills and incinerators were more abundant. “We should be the ones screaming about the environment,” he once said. His thoughts on the subject of environmental justice were remarkably prescient and would echo through the years in themes addressed by folks from Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On?) to Melissa Harris Perry (whose moving keynote at the 2017 United States Conference on AIDS explored expanding Blackness to encompass all “problematic bodies”). Gregory was also adamant about the importance of eating a more natural diet, instead of overly processed foods. He even wrote a book on the subject, 1974’s Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ with Mother Nature. Written with his typical comedic flair, the cookbook includes what we would today call vegetarian, organic, or slow-foods recipes and offers cleansing fasts, weight loss diets, and natural substitutions for favorite cocktails. Gregory passed away last year at 84, but his wisdom will continue to inform me, and many others, for decades to come.


Science has trumpeted the enefits of a plant ased diet for decades, ut fe generations have adopted it as holeheartedl as millennials and eneration n fact, reports sho that oogle searches for vegan increased percent in a single ear, et een and ince , lo al ata reports veganism in America has increased percent hat s a lot of veggies ut ust ecause ou no eating less meat is a healthier choice doesn t al a s ma e it eas to put do n that urger or step a a from a stea , hich ma e h arco orges, author of The 22-Day Revolution and The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook, argues it ta es da s to rea that meat eating ha it is goal is to help people get to that nd da , and he s getting ma or reinforcement from the li es of e onc and a hile not a fulltime vegan herself, e onc ants to help others ecome familiar ith the health enefits of a vegan diet o much so, that she partnered ith orges to launch a s utrition da snutrition com , a ne vegan meal deliver service he singer has since ecome an avid spo esperson for all things vegan n fact, she recentl announced that she s going vegan in preparation for oachella ith a focus on health , sustaina l farmed and sourced foods, a s utrition see s to inspire through taste, attitude, and a glo al conscience egan meals free of meat as ell as so , dair , and gluten are sold in either , seven, or five da plans, or a la carte hile the meal plans don t allo su stitution or customi ation, the can e chosen in t o or three meal dail formats or the a plan, prices range from to for the t o and three meal plans, respectivel or the ee long plan, the prices are and , hile the five da plan prices are and he site also sells protein po der and protein ars t s hard to ignore the compelling evidence supporting plant ased diets, or the fact that more and more people, from ever da fol s to ma or cele rities, are ma ing the conversion one step at a time, the compan rites on its e site egardless of our motivations hether it is eight loss, improved athletic a ilit , or simpl overall health it s important to ma e an informed approach to plant ased eating to ma imi e our chances of success



he concept that inspired the ro al couple to ta e on da s of plant ased meals has ta en the orld storm and is no easier than ever to emulate BY DAVID ARTAVIA


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In adults with HIV on ART who have diarrhea not caused by an infection In adults with HIV on ART who have diarrhea not caused by an infection

Tired of planning your life around diarrhea? Tired of planning your life around diarrhea?

Enough is Enough Enough is Enough Get relief. Pure and simple. Ask your doctor about Mytesi. Get relief. Pure and simple. Ask your doctor about Mytesi. Mytesi (crofelemer): • Is the only medicine FDA-approved to relieve diarrhea in people with HIV Mytesi (crofelemer): •• Is Treats diarrhea differently by normalizing thediarrhea flow of water in the GI HIV tract the only medicine FDA-approved to relieve in people with Has thediarrhea same ordiff fewer side eff as placebo clinical studies •• Treats erently byects normalizing theinflow of water in the GI tract •• Comes from a tree sustainably harvested in the Amazon Rainforest Has the same or fewer side effects as placebo in clinical studies • Comes from a tree sustainably harvested in the Amazon Rainforest What is Mytesi? Mytesi is a prescription medicine that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea not caused by What is Mytesi? an infection (noninfectious) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mytesi is a prescription medicine that helps relieve symptoms of diarrhea not caused by Important Information an infectionSafety (noninfectious) in adults living with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mytesi is not approved to treat infectious diarrhea (diarrhea caused by bacteria, a virus, Important Safety Information or a parasite). Before starting you on Mytesi, your healthcare provider will first be sure Mytesi is not approved to treat infectious diarrhea (diarrhea caused by bacteria, a virus, that you do not have infectious diarrhea. Otherwise, there is a risk you would not receive or a parasite). Before starting you on Mytesi, your healthcare provider will first be sure the right medicine and your infection could get worse. In clinical studies, the most that you do not have infectious diarrhea. Otherwise, there is a risk you would not receive common side effects that occurred more often than with placebo were upper respiratory the right medicine and your infection could get worse. In clinical studies, the most tract (sinus, nose, and throat) infection (5.7%), bronchitis (3.9%), cough (3.5%), common side effects that occurred more often than with placebo were upper respiratory flatulence (3.1%), and increased bilirubin (3.1%). tract (sinus, nose, and throat) infection (5.7%), bronchitis (3.9%), cough (3.5%), flatulence (3.1%), and increased bilirubin (3.1%). For Copay Savings Card and Patient Assistance, see For Copay Savings Card and Patient Assistance, see

Please see complete Prescribing Information at


NP-390-34 Please see complete Prescribing Information at


IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION This is only a summary. See complete Prescribing Information at or byINFORMATION calling IMPORTANT PATIENT 1-844-722-8256. This does not take the place This is only a summary. See complete Prescribing of talking with your doctor about your medical Information at or by calling condition or treatment. 1-844-722-8256. This does not take the place of talking with your doctor about your medical What Is Mytesi? condition treatment. medicine used to improve Mytesi is aorprescription symptoms of noninfectious diarrhea (diarrhea not What Is Mytesi? causedisbya aprescription bacterial, viral, or parasitic Mytesi medicine used toinfection) improvein adults livingofwith HIV/AIDS on ART. (diarrhea not symptoms noninfectious diarrhea Do Not by Take Mytesi ifviral, youorhave diarrhea causedinby caused a bacterial, parasitic infection) an infection. Before you start adults living with HIV/AIDS onMytesi, ART. your doctor and youNot should make sure ifyour is not caused by Do Take Mytesi youdiarrhea have diarrhea an infection bacteria, virus, oryour parasite). infection.(such Beforeasyou start Mytesi, doctor and you shouldSide makeEffects sure your not caused by Possible ofdiarrhea MytesiisInclude: an infection (such astract bacteria, virus, or parasite). • Upper respiratory infection (sinus, nose, and throat infection) Possible Side Effects of Mytesi Include: Bronchitis (swelling in the tubes(sinus, that carry airand to • Upper respiratory tract infection nose, and your lungs) throatfrom infection) Cough (swelling in the tubes that carry air to • Bronchitis • and Flatulence (gas)lungs) from your Increased bilirubin (a waste product when red blood • Cough break(gas) down) • cells Flatulence a full list bilirubin of side effects, please talkwhen to yourreddoctor. •ForIncreased (a waste product blood Tellcells yourbreak doctordown) if you have any side effect that bothers not go away. For a fullyou list or of does side effects, please talk to your doctor. Youyour are encouraged to report negative Tell doctor if you have any side effectside that effects of to the FDA. Visit bothers youprescription or does not drugs go away. or call 1-800-FDA-1088. You are encouraged to report negative side effects ofI Take prescription to the FDA. Visit Should Mytesidrugs If I Am: or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant? • StudiesI in animals showIfthat Mytesi could Should Take Mytesi I Am: harm anorunborn babytoorBecome affect thePregnant? ability to Pregnant Planning • become Studies inpregnant animals show that Mytesi could • harm Therean areunborn no studies babyinorpregnant affect thewomen ability to taking Mytesi become pregnant This drug onlyinbepregnant used during pregnancy • There are should no studies women iftaking clearlyMytesi needed •A This drug Mother? should only be used during pregnancy Nursing neededwhether Mytesi is passed through • ifIt clearly is not known milk A human Nursingbreast Mother? nursing, you should your doctor before • ItIf you is notareknown whether Mytesitell is passed through starting breast Mytesimilk human • Your will help to decide whether stop If youdoctor are nursing, youyou should tell your doctortobefore nursing Mytesi or to stop taking Mytesi starting •Under Your 18 doctor will help you toof decide or Over 65 Years Age?whether to stop or tonotstop taking Mytesi • nursing Mytesi has been studied in children under 18 years age 65 Years of Age? Under 18 orofOver studies notstudied includeinmany people over • Mytesi has not did been children under the age ofof65. 18 years ageSo it is not clear if this age group will respondstudies differently. Talkinclude to yourmany doctorpeople to findover out if • Mytesi did not Mytesi the ageisofright 65. for So you it is not clear if this age group will respond differently. TalkAbout to yourTaking doctor toMytesi find out if What Should I Know Mytesi is right for you With Other Medicines? IfWhat you are takingIany prescription or over-the-counter Should Know About Taking Mytesi medicine, herbal supplements, or vitamins, tell your With Other Medicines? before starting Mytesi. or over-the-counter Ifdoctor you are taking any prescription medicine, or vitamins, your What If I herbal Have supplements, More Questions Abouttell Mytesi? doctor before starting Mytesi. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information at or speak toAbout your doctor What If I Have More Questions Mytesi? or pharmacist. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information at effects or speak to your doctor or To report side or make a product complaint or forpharmacist. additional information, call 1-844-722-8256. To report side effects or make a product complaint or for additional information, call 1-844-722-8256. Rx Only Manufactured by Patheon, Inc. for Napo Rx OnlyPharmaceuticals, Inc. San Francisco, CA 94105 Copyright © Napo Inc. Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Manufactured by Patheon, for Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mytesi comes from the Croton lechleri tree 94105 Copyright © Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. harvested in South America. Mytesi comes from the Croton lechleri tree harvested in South America.


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LOVE IS CONTRACTIBLE. LUST IS TRANSMITTABLE. TOUCH IS CONTAGIOUS. WITH PREP, PEOPLE CATCH FEELINGS, NOT HIV, SAYS THE NEW #PREP4LOVE CAMPAIGN. AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Chicago PrEP Working Group’s new campaign #PrEP4Love is an admiration of Black and brown bodies—with a serious social message






HIV impacts Black people more than any other racial group (followed by Latinx), which is why HIV messaging should be aimed at engaging more Black people, though it often isn’t. But a few organizations have gotten the picture—literally. AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Chicago PrEP Working Group have developed a campaign specifically for people of color, called PrEP4Love, that uses bold images of starkly contrasting Black and brown bodies, and words written in white paint that focus on PrEP messaging. With just one pill, taken once a day, pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) lowers one’s chances of contracting HIV by over 99 percent. (There have only been two verifiable cases of transmission between someone with HIV and someone properly using PrEP.) But for years, PrEP use among men had been synonymous with affluent gay white men. PrEP4Love is hoping to change that by improving awareness of PrEP among those who are most vulnerable to HIV, which include young Black men (especially those who may have sex with men or are in same-gender loving relationships), transgender women of color, and heterosexual Black women. Often HIV prevention messages revolve around sex and scare tactics—as opposed to being presented as an element of loving relationships. But the men and women pictured in PrEP4Love ads are intimately and tastefully entwined, warmly posed with phrases like “transmit love” and “catch desire” painted on their bodies (one word on either partner). The campaign also earns praise for its intentionality in depicting expressions of intimacy, body diversity, and various gender couplings. Shot by award-winning photographer, Sandro, PrEP4Love deliberately sets out to highlight intimacy and how PrEP can play a role in developing intimacy within a relationship, while also creating a sex-positive experience for couples. Addressing fear and stigma, PrEP4Love’s tagline is “Love is contractible. Lust is transmittable. Touch is contagious. Catch feelings, not HIV.” By reinforcing the importance of creating messages that stir emotional and diverse experiences, the campaign is an intentional representation of intimacy among Black bodies without being oversexed in their expressions exhibiting love and presence. Intimacy is presence. Intimacy is connection. While sexuality should be addressed, humanity must be addressed in totality—and all of its many representations. Ads should aim to deliver more messages that speak to humanity, not just sexuality. An appeal that showcases Black flesh should be intended to celebrate all the diversity and humanity of the Black reality, not exploit it. PrEP4Love does that and does so for an important message: We must not allow HIV to displace the intimacy between people of color and those we love.


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BY DR. SEGUN ISHMAEL Did you know that a third of Americans currently have a sexually transmitted infection? In fact, 50 percent of all sexually active people will have an STI by age 25, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what exactly is an STI? And can you get one from just having oral sex? Let me help break down the ins and outs of this not-so-commonly discussed, yet incredibly important, topic. STIs (also known as STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases) are infections spread from person to person through sexual contact. The term STI has been deemed more appropriate, being that an individual can have an infection that does not lead to a disease. You can’t get an STI without “sex,” but what exactly does that mean? Initially when it comes to sex, many think of vaginal or anal penetrative sex, but oral sex can also put one at risk of developing an STI. Oral sex is where the mouth (including the tongue) comes into contact with the vagina (cunnilingus), the penis (fellatio), or the anus (anilingus). Studies show that 85 percent of sexually active adults 18 to 44 years old have engaged in oral sex at least once with someone of the opposite sex. For some STIs, like herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), no penetration needs to occur and no uids need to e e changed in order for the infection to be contracted. So yes, a person can contract an STI through oral sex. The CDC estimates 20 million new infections occur every year in the U.S. That’s a lot of tongue action! While the risk for some STIs may be lower via oral than for penetrative sex, the more frequently oral sex is performed (especially with multiple partners), the higher the risk. Individuals should also consider their partners’ risk behaviors, such as whether that person uses injection drugs. A person can be infected with an STI, yet not show any symptoms. This can be both good and bad. Our bodies attempt to protect us from harm, but this can also work against the body when an STI is introduced. If we don’t have symptoms and are not routinely getting tested, we could have an infection and unknowingly pass the STI onto our partner(s). Also, the infection could be doing some une pressed, et significant harm to our odies Those who do have symptoms often experience one or more of these: · · · · ·

HPV (HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS) HPV is the most common STI, according to the CDC. The mouth, throat, penis, vagina, rectum, and anus can get infected. Infection does not always have symptoms but can show up as warts in any of these areas. The HPV vaccine can protect against certain types of HPV. The vaccine is recommended for young people (females ages 9-26 and males 9-21), men who have sex or relationships with men, and anyone living with HIV regardless of age. HERPES Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Type 1 is the strain that expresses as cold sores. Sores that are on the genitals, rectum, and anus, are caused by HSV Type 2. Herpes can be present without symptoms— however, symptoms may include painful sores in the areas of infection. Antiviral medications can shorten the duration and the number of outbreaks. Currently, there is no cure for herpes. CHLAMYDIA Oral chlamydia infections affect the cells lining the throat. The most common symptom is a sore throat, or pharyngitis, lasting several days. This discomfort can be continuous or come and go, and swallowing may increase the discomfort. GONORRHEA Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria, and an infection transmitted orally may not show any symptoms. The most common symptom is a sore throat. Gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics, though an infection of the throat is more challenging to manage than a genital infection.

Dr. Segun Ishmael is the founder and chief medical officer of, an online platform for the discreet diagnosis and treatment of STIs. He has worked in academic, hospital, and health insurance setttings, serving his community for over 20 years.

SYPHILIS Syphilis is caused by bacteria, and sometimes sho s no s mptoms mptoms ma include u like symptoms or painless ulcers in the mouth. Antibiotics can cure the infection. Infections not treated can lead to dementia, paralysis, changes in personality, and death. If you are practicing oral sex, be aware of your and your partner’s STI status (you can even do at-home testing together) or use barrier protection, such as dental dams or condoms, that can also help prevent STIs.

Cold sores and fever blisters Painful or painless ulcers or sores inside the mouth Swollen and red tonsils White spots at the back of the throat Pain swallowing

Here are some common STIs spread through oral sex: APRIL / MAY 2018 CHILL

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Hoop Dreams TAVRION DAWSON AND CARL BROWN— BOTH ON FULL BASKETBALL SCHOLARSHIPS AT CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE—PROVE THAT GRIT, HARD WORK, AND A LOVE OF THE SPORT IS THE GREATEST FUEL. BY DAVID ARTAVIA avrion “Tay” Dawson, 21, was born and raised in Southern California. Having bounced between Compton and Long Beach all his life, he admits basketball was one of the only things that provided consistency, as well as self-assurance. It made him the man he is today and gave him an awareness he carries to other aspects of his life. “Don’t let nobody stop you from fulfilling your dreams. You do you first, then worry about others. Don’t let nobody stop you,” says Dawson, who undoubtedly learned that lesson from his mother and grandmother who raised him. Even though they sometimes lived in rough neighborhoods, Dawson always went to private schools and he credits his single-parent mother for changing the course of his life. “She kept me away from all the gang stuff, you know,” he says. “She didn’t let me go out in the streets. She held me hostage inside… I don’t know how she did it, but she did it.” As a young teenager, Dawson’s main sport was football—until he broke his leg and spent the healing weeks getting taller. By the time he entered high school, he was 6’3” and decided that basketball might be a better fit. His talent shined quickly and by the time he was a sophomore, he was a star on the varsity team. Carl Brown, another 21-year-old junior at California State University Northridge, lived a similar experience. Having also been raised by his mom and grandmother, one of his main focuses outside basketball is to be a mentor to his 10 siblings (four brothers and six sisters). “I want to make sure they have a successful life, too,” Brown says. “They don’t really see the good side, all they see is the bad side where I’m from. I just want to show them a better life.” Brown was raised in Louisville, Ky., a far reach from the beaches and sunshine of Southern California. His uncle also played college basketball (for Ohio University), so in a way, sports is in his blood. But it also means so much more to him, and his family. “My mom would always tell me I need to be the one to set the example for my younger brothers and sisters,” Brown says. “So I always had the bigger responsibility. Then my granny would always tell me to stay focused with my basketball. She never let me quit.”


He adds, “I know at this point it’s the only way out for me. It’s a chance for me to do something special.” Dawson echoes his sentiment, adding that basketball kept him off the street. “I had friends that got stabbed in high school, shot at and stuff,” he explains. “[I saw] that and I didn’t want my life to go that way, so I looked at sports as an outlet. I got serious at basketball. I got good at it… and I got out with a scholarship.” Now with one more year at an undergrad level, the two athletes have their eyes set on the NBA. Brown’s dream team is the Miami Heat, while Dawson’s is the Los Angeles Lakers. While they’ve proven their value at an early age (both were averaging just under 20 points per game at the end of their high school careers), they’re the first to tell you it took tremendous sacrifice to sharpen their skills on the court. Dawson remembers the moment when he made the choice to push himself beyond his limits. In high school, he was part of the California Supreme team, a nonprofit youth organization that sends players to compete at the collegiate ranks, as well as the pros. “I was only averaging like two points on the team,” he recalls. “I’m playing these top guys from every state, and I’m thinking, ‘Damn, I’m not that good, like these dudes are really good.’” That summer, he hit the gym hard then came back to school and started killing it—going from three points per game to averaging 18.


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“That’s when my whole game changed, when I changed my work ethic,” he says, adding that a huge part of it was mental. “Some guys try to get in the gym and workout, but some guys don’t. They can just come and play. It’s all about how your mental is. If you’re very confident in yourself and you know how to play the game, then you’re gonna be fine.” The sports mentality also bleeds into other areas in life and inspires Brown to remain confident. “It helps me on my toes and on my feet, lets me know not to be satisfied with nothing, to always want to be better than anyone this day forward,” says Brown, who has vowed to remain “love free” while keeping his focus on sports and school studies. This year the team at Cal State Northridge saw a huge turnover, with mostly new players coming in, giving Dawson an opportunity to pay it forward and be the “big brother” that older teammates were for him when he was a freshman. “I’ll try to show them just the way to go about things, things they should and shouldn’t do,” he says. “It feels good to show dudes... what works for you. Especially me, because I’m like a leader, and they see how I work out, and how I am off the court. They gravitate to what I do, so I don’t even say things, they just go do things I would do. It feels cool to see that.” Brown also tries to be a mentor, but he has a different approach. “I try to mentor them the best I can, but most players want to learn on their own,” he says. “I know I wanted to learn on my own.” With graduation approaching fast, and hopes of the NBA edging

nearer, both athletes know the next few years will either be a giant payoff or a staggering disappointment. But their strength and discipline has them feeling more excited than anxious. “You just gotta relax, go about what you can control, just stay faithful to God, and let everything handle itself,” says Dawson. “Do your part and then everything will be alright.” His advice for young guys looking to sharpen their skills is to “work hard, always grind, and stay in the gym. You can’t always go to parties. You can’t always be with your friends. You gotta keep working and everything will fall into place. Stay in your books and stay out of trouble.” “I love basketball,” Brown says proudly. “When you find a game you’re good at, then you work hard and see yourself get better [and] you feel way better about yourself. You can accomplish anything good with work.”

Carl Brown (left) and Tavrion Dawson (above) both play for the Matadors of California State University Northridge and dream of making it into the NBA.


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TRAVEL Trombone Shorty is just one of the many artists scheduled to perform at this year’s Jazz Fest.


Check out three of my favorite hotspots in three of my favorite cities. Chill’s Editor in Chief, Gerald Garth, knows his way around. The Baton Rouge, La., native has traveled for work and pleasure and now lives in Los Angeles. Here are three of his favorite haunts, at home and on the road.

POST & BEAM IN LOS ANGELES, CALIF. In the heart of Baldwin Hills, Post & Beam brings down-home to the City of Angels. With offerings like a cornmeal-dusted catfish wrap and pecan pie French toast, Post & Beam touts mid-century architecture, an open kitchen with wood-burning oven, and stylish outdoor patio and garden. Whether it’s live music or a curated soundtrack, this chic eatery always satisfies! EIGHTEENTH STREET LOUNGE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. If you’re looking for great cocktails, good energy, and swanky ambiance, look no further than the Eighteenth Street Lounge. Tucked away near Dupont Circle in a converted townhome, the nondescript location is decorated with antique sofas for easy conversation on weekdays, as well as a spacious patio for mixing and mingling during weekend festivities. Whatever you fancy, this spot will leave you yearning for more. —GERALD GARTH

Jazzin’ it Up in the Big Easy Don’t miss this amazing music festival set in the heart of jazz.

Jazz Fest is a yearly pilgrimage for fans around the world, ho oc to e rleans, to cele rate the music in the cit here frican mericans first lended the tast gum o known as jazz from ragtime, marches, and blues. The late-April weather and scent of blooming magnolias in the air make it one of the best seasons to visit the Big Easy. Enjoy performances by industry legends such as Smokey o inson, harlie ilson, nita a er, aron eville, onnie Raitt, and the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin—as well as more cutting-edge artists like Khalid, Common, Jack White, Trombone Shorty (pictured above), and Big Freedia. or da s, he e rleans a eritage estival will also feature a plethora of arts, crafts, and food vendors (including in the Conga Square African Marketplace and on the Cajun Cabin Stage). You’ll be able to sample the best of a lins cuisine including cra fish oils, shrimp creole, jambalaya, red beans and rice, po-boys, and beignets—all while being serenaded with righteous music. A wealth of information on the event—as well as local art, culture, history, and nightlife—is available at


DANCING TO THE SOUND OF SILENCE Check out a headphone party to see why quiet clubbing is all the rage.

You don’t need to be in Y to en o silent disco ic o s silent trap parties in ouston, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. are legendary. Silent Trap Party ouston is at the ngine Room ($12 includes headphone rental) on May 27, and in D.C. April 27, at Lucky Strikes ($22). @vicandcos


If you’ve never been to a silent disco, where have you been hiding? It’s time to strap on some cans and join the hundreds who flock to one of the dance parties Quiet Events hosts around the country. In New York City, their headphone parties bring you a social experience like none other as two or three DJs battle it out for the attention of the crowd. Each DJ plays different beats on their assigned frequency and are given a color—like green, blue, or red—so everyone can immediately see who’s dancing to whose music (the headphones’ LED lights change color when clubbers change frequencies). Take off your ‘phones and the club is as quiet as a library, and great for chatting up that hottie. Catch a silent disco this spring and summer at NYC’s Stage 48, Studio Square, or Bohemian Beer Garden. (



FRENCHMAN STREET IN NEW ORLEANS, LA. Whether you’re looking for jazz, brass bands, Latin, funk, or zydeco, there’s something for everyone on Frenchman Street in New Orleans. And that’s not all. The entertainment district at the edge of the French Quarter offers 20-plus bars and clubs, featuring the best live music in the Big Easy. You can also find some of the city’s premiere restaurants, shops, and galleries all within a three-block area. Laissez les bon temps roullez!


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