“Grey is the wonderland we’ve learned not to trek to because displays of black male affection are strategically met with seeds of suspicion that sprout this myth that if black men are touching it means we’re either fighting or fucking.
For us, there is no grey.”
Seye Isikalu, a London-based fashion & beauty photographer, whose lens has captured artists like A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora, is stamping film with Skinny Jeans.
Skinny Jeans is a potpourri of poetry, narration, interviews, and visuals of the topics that orbit black masculinity, with a focused zoom on queer black masculinity.
Monochrome, a previewed scene from the upcoming film and exhibition, carries a spirit similar to the one that gleamed in Moonlight. In only four minutes Isikalu, pinpoints intimacy as the barber hooking his brothers up with fresh cuts, carefully using his razor sculpting skills, the shared silence of study as two men read from Wole Soyinka’s Ake and Bell Hook’s We Real Cool, and the recreation of Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler’s epic embrace for Vanity Fair in ’16.
Its brilliant commentary on black masculinity declares that the intimate celebration of love and brotherhood between black men is heavily policed, only to be barred under the charge of being gay, among other assumptions. The social laws governing the ways in which black men can express intimacy within their manhood are too many and too narrow.
With Skinny Jeans, Isikalu wants to inspire black men to emancipate themselves from the narrow cells that keep them from wearing their masculinity in the ways that they wish, and understand that those ways have a valid home that should be celebrated in black manhood. The goal is to reclaim freedom within the spectrum of black masculinity and the black male experience.
Seye Isikalu is currently fundraising to pay for the film’s remaining expenses. Click here to donate.