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Myke Archie, WorkForce Comics
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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Myke Archie

Get to know a brilliant emerging artist named Myke Archie

Happy #MCM Taji readers! Taji Mag is happy to introduce Myke Archie because we love his work & now you will too.

First of all, we’ve been fans for years. Myke Archie is the Perfect Man to buy a holiday gift from If you’re looking for a unique option this season. Check out our #MustLoveBeards profile features a down to earth Southern brother with a knack for creating beautiful works of art. He is the creator of WorkForce Comics who has been stirring up controversy all over social media. Today’s #MCM is a comic prodigy with a lot to say. His work has beeJ. Dilla x Myke Archien featured by Polite Conversation, All Real Radio, and now Taji Mag. Especially relevant is his drive to make economic autonomy a stronger part of how his fans live.

Graphic designer Myke Archie is on the rise. He illustrates book covers, album art, posters, and logos. This Atlanta native earned his BFA from Georgia State University. Consequently, he is not the biggest fan of traditional education. He prefers to think critically rather than follow trends. Perfect Man Designs, his privately owned company, has lots of fans. The first volume of his critically acclaimed series WorkForce Comics was released 2014. It looks at the crazy ways we think about life, making money, and politics while scratching and surviving in a society that cares more about loot than love.

Art x Myke Archie

His work has a certain quality that is not the same as other designers. The style, the stroke, and the scope is different than any comics out there. Other influences for his work include classics like Ice Cube’s film Friday and another favorite: old school Sci-Fi thriller called They Live. Myke invites fans to listen to his playlist of artists like Isaiah Rashad, Yani Mo, Denmark Vessey, and Knxwledge. The man something special.

#MustLoveBeards feature Myke ArchieMyke is part of the #BlackBusinessSelfie campaign via Nay Marie’s Black Owned Business Collective. He showed off several businesses including: Freedom Paper Company, Rooted-N-Nature, Dash Motor Oil, The HXLM Collective, and of course Taji Magazine!

Support Black Owned Business – Buy WorkForce Comics

WorkForce Comics Volume 4 is set to be released this month. Until then, customers can buy copies of volume 1, 2, 3, or all three on his blog: Perfect Man Designs. Like his fan page for the latest news and exclusive content. In conclusion, respect the man’s grind.

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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Derrick Weston Brown

If you have ever visited DC’s famous Busboys & Poets for their poetry night, you have this man to thank. This week’s #MCM is Charlotte’s own Derrick Weston Brown, author of the acclaimed poetry book, Wisdom Teeth. His talent has taken him all over the country including San Francisco, Oakland, Vancouver, upstate New York, Philly, Seattle, and of course DC. This week’s #MustLoveBeards brother is the always delectable Mr. Derrick Weston Brown.

Derrick Weston Brown, Wisdom Teeth author and poet

Smooth jazz made sweet love to classic prose and Derrick Weston Brown was born. Our #MCM #MustLoveBeards feature will remind you why good poetry matters.

He is more than just a nice smile and thick beard you could fall asleep in. Brown is an insightful poet with a passion for education. He has played a number of roles including poet-in-residence, teacher, lecturer, and performer. He goes by many names on social media: Fatback McGristle, Neegrolicious Jones, Nipsey Rustled, Rad News Brown. No matter what alias he sports, this brother is beyond talented. With inspirations like the Black Rooster Collective, Gaston Neal, Risikat Okedeyi, Amiri Baraka, and Sonia Sanchez, his work was always destined to shine. He credits his mother and Black women for much of his success. Let’s be real though, Taji Mag loves this bearded man because of his willingness to be emotional and vulnerable in a world that tells Black men they’re only allowed to be hyper-sexual, ignorant beasts. Word after word, his art is unlike any other creator we have come across. It also doesn’t hurt that his locks and chocolate skin are the gateway to heaven.

Advice for Future Authors

If others want to publish their first book, Mr. Brown has some sound advice. “Have a good support system who can help cut through the insecurities and doubts. Let them talk you down, and keep your ego in check. I actually turned down the initial offer to get my book published. I was worried that people would assumed someone was doing me a favor. It took me a while to come around. My loved ones gave me that reality check that I may not get that opportunity again.”

The publisher approached him again and he finally accepted that the book deal was based on his merit rather than his connections. His story is a testament to the necessity of support in our community. Support systems matter. His experiences taught him that real friends will let you know when you’re being a knucklehead. That’s what love is: when your friends are clear and honest. He admits that he would not be where he is without his close friends, family, and mentors like Dr. Tony Medina (Howard University professor), Alan King (new book Point Blank comes out in November), Fred Joiner (Center for Poetic Though in DC).

What else has he learned on this journey?

  • Avoid any book contests you have to pay for! That is a trick for them to fund their publishing so they can often be shady. Use the resources/connections that you have as you’re establishing your book tour. Be very selective about your free copies and where you send your book for review.
  • Libraries are you friend! Get a good relationship with the local library. It will be cataloged and could end up in libraries around the country. Be aware of your publishers’ strengths and weaknesses. How do they treat other authors? Do they have the means to push your work? Are they too big? Does your book fit their format.
  • Connect with Black women! Black women are the biggest reading demographic. Get in good with the sisters and you are set. They get their children reading. They get their men reading. They get the community involved. Black women are about 60-70% of my audience.

Derrick Weston Brown is currently working on a new manuscript called “Halo of Arms“. It’s not in book form yet, but he is looking for a place this new work can call home. For the people who already know and love Wisdom Teeth, they will feel the growth in this second book. The subject matter has changed. He is less guarded and more willing to take risks. For people who don’t know him, this book breaks some misconceptions and brings awareness regarding vulnerability and Black men. He will deal with doubt, anxiety, and seeking balance.

For all the latest on Mr. brown’s upcoming book, follow him on TWITTER and check him out via ColorLines.

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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Thomas C. Knox

You know what’s sexier than a Black man with a beard and a plan? A humble Black man with a beard and a plan. #MustLoveBeards

This week, Taji Mag sat down with one of Brooklyn’s finest: Thomas C. Knox, CEO of Date While You Wait. What started off as one brother at a table with a game has turned into an exciting potential prospect for New York commuters.

#MustLoveBeards

Most people don’t realize that the dates are not about romance at all. These dates are the first few steps to change the world. One question we will probably get from our readers is getting handled from the jump. If you want to know whether he is single, please email: info@DateWhileYouWait.com

Thomas C. Knox embodies the perfect balance of confidence and perseverance. A conversation with him is a refreshing reflection. Ask him how he got so famous and he’ll admit that he doesn’t really know. “Maybe people just have deep feelings to let out. We are all searching for ways to connect beyond a computer screen or a tweet.” As easy going as and approachable as he is, he won’t let anyone dictate the purpose of his project. In the beginning, there weren’t really any barriers. Every person did it without being solicited. They saw him sitting at a table and approached him. These days, though, the major obstacle is finding the time to make it happen.

Thomas is the kind of man who challenges everything. Equipped with the heart of a weirdo, he has managed to avoid following trends. Reciprocity, integrity, and respect are the core of everything he does and that’s something his parents taught him from an early age. Funny enough, his family has mixed feelings about him talking to strangers on the subway. “some of them are so proud of me and some of them think I am crazy.

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As a 29-year-old man who cares about the community, Thomas is on the verge of greatness. Mental health among you people is an issue he takes very serious. This project aims to address some of the issues while inspiring others to strive for the same. He plans to uplift a generation and deliver messages that make a difference. Date While You Wait continues to grow along with the spirit of what he’s doing. One major goal is to spread the good vibes so that more of us can connect in real life.

Thomas believes that building a community matters so much and we have the power to be a catalyst for real global change. Thanks to the work he has put in, more of us are willing to look up from our phone and get to know the beautiful world around us.

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If you’d like to know more or want to join the movement, visit DateWhileYouWait.com or email Thomas directly: info@DateWhileYouWait.com

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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Gilbert Mathews

MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE BEARD #MustLoveBeards

If you loved marveling at the regal beard of past feature NESTLE SNIPES then let us introduce you to the man who made the pomade that made us gush over that beautiful beard.

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Gilbert Mathews, creator of the high quality, all natural product line Noir Classic is today’s #MustLoveBeards feature. This South Carolina family man is passionate, purpose-driven, and prosperous. In his adult life, he has almost always rocked a stunning beard. When he started in management years ago as a teenager, he was looked down on for rocking a beard. Black men already have to deal with racism in the workplace. Gilbert felt uneasy about expressing his aesthetic preference in the office because of the negative reactions from colleagues and supervisors. Eventually he cut his beard. Over time it grew back along with his resolve. Rather then continue feeling professionally insecure, he taught himself more about grooming. It was difficult to find products that worked for him. Non-Black bearded men would suggest waxes that dried out his hair. He started realizing that others were struggling with the same issues. Just like many other great inventors, Gilbert Matthews created Noir Classic to address a need.

THE PRODUCT

Noir Classic offers Black men natural products with healthy ingredients made specifically for coarse, curly, and thick hair. The following products are available for purchase:

ManWash– Our sulfate free, pH balanced shampoo and body wash.
Conditioner– pH balanced, moisturizing and light weight.
Pomade– Vegan and can be used for waves, curls and to tame beards.You can even apply some to your hands to fight ash.

The sulfate free shampoo and body wash are great. These cleansers clean our skin and hair a bit too well, stripping them of the natural oils they need to remain soft and moisturized. Moisture rich conditioners made of natural ingredients that restore moisture and give our hair and beards some sheen. The conditioner will help your beard look fuller and shinier in 1 wash. Bet. Natural moisture sealing pomade with Jamaican black castor oil. Jamaican black castor oil is great for thinning hair lines, as it helps naturally reverse hair loss. You can also purchase the FULL SET here.

All of products from Noir Classic are VEGAN, paraben-free, dye-free, and detergent-free with ingredients you can pronounce.

THE GIVEAWAY

Be sure to follow Taji Magazine on Instagram RIGHT NOW for an exclusive giveaway from Noir Classic.

THE MISSION

Through Instagram and barbershop talks, Gilbert Mathews is teaching Black men how to take care of their beards naturally while supporting a Black owned business. he is changing the face of male hair care and helping to give more Black men the confidence to rock their beards. We are created from the earth, so we use all the products from earth. From an environmental standpoint, natural products are key to sustainability. In growing my beard, I searched for natural products.

MAKING MOVES FOR THE FAMILY

Gilbert talks about the importance of being an example for his children and being the type of man his wife is happy to be with. As he reflects on life before and after being married at 22, he realizes that his wife has made him a stronger businessman.. “When I was younger it was all about me. I moved to the top in my career, but as I got older and started having children I realized that the world doesn’t revolve around me. We are interdependent. My children made that clear. My wife reminds me of that when I see her shine. Now I am more engaged in helping other Black men. Black male hair care is still a niche. Black women have led the way and we have to do the same. I have gained a sense of selflessness and peace of mind through this process.” As a man who loves his family dearly, Gilbert invests time into making sure his customers are happy. Any good business man knows that treating people well leads to great results.He noted that Black men have insecurities no matter how hard they are taught to hide it. “Our head may be shaped funny, we worry about feeling vulnerable–and men who don’t use my product may have dry or patchy beards–Noir Classic is a step towards a more confident man. That confidence leads to success and I want all of my brothers to succeed.

TESTIMONIAL

“Before trying Noir Classic Pomade, I had a hard time growing out my beard. I have tried numerous other beard oils that weren’t generated towards men of color. I experienced the dreaded “patchy beard” and searched high & low for the remedy. It wasn’t until I started using this product that I began to see those patchy areas fill in. It also helps that this product smells & feels amazing! I strongly recommend this to anyone looking to obtain that ideal beard of distinction.”

BUSINESS ADVICE

What tips does Gilbert suggest for emerging business owners? It’s simple: SERVICE. Service to our people is imperative. Service to the customer is essential. Put your customer above yourself and do it to genuinely take care of your people and they will take care of you.

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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Milly Vanderwood

Baltimore is a mecca of Black creativity. There have been an astounding number of artists over the years who embody that spirit. Our #MustLoveBeards profile series at Taji Mag has introduced readers to Black men doing great things around the country. It is only right that for Labor Day we introduce one of the hardest working brothers on the East Coast. Today we had the chance to converse with the creator of THE INCREDIBLE CREATION, Milly Vanderwood.

Milly Vanderwood

The Incredible Creation is more than meets the eye. It is an umbrella brand that works with community members to uplift entrepreneurs and help them reach their potential. The organization deals with artist management, branding, culinary arts, and professional development. When young Brother Milly was 12, he wanted to break into hip hop. He was an ambitious rapper, even from an early age. Thirteen years later, he traded in the mic for management. At 28, he is now working with a number of artists doing the behind the scenes work it takes to be successful. On top of that, he opened an art gallery last year and has become a real force in his community. Along with the recording space and a thriving cupcake business, The Incredible Creation gives life. If you’re wondering about the caliber of the artists he has worked with, check out the incredible queen YoNasDa Hill. You can also visit the site to learn more about the musicians and painters on his roster.

Like many entrepreneurs, Milly does’t follow the rules and instead takes calculated risks. He is motivated by the success of others around him and keeping his customers happy. That drive to build up his network means that he is able to create endless opportunities. His aspirations to build his business into a multi-million dollar brand are certainly attainable at the rate he’s going. Any of his 8,000+ followers can tell you, this Black man puts in work.

“I just want to do better for us / by us because who else is gonna do it? I wanna show others that anything is possible.

You don’t have to be stuck in their system or way of doing things”

Despite some initial (and ongoing) struggles to find support, he has made it work. Finding hard working people who understand the vision can be daunting, but he handles the challenge like a champion. One lesson he has learned is that not everyone who approaches you will be capable or reliable. He has had to deal with his share of disappointments, but overall he and his business have grown from the experience.

What sets Milly Vanderwood apart from all of the other people out there chasing the same dream? In his words, “I basically do what I want…I get shit done.” One of his greatest influences is Master P. and it shows. He has a diversified portfolio, he cares about the community, his work is highly respected, and his empire continues to grow.

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Chaz Pope
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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Chaz Pope

Since GOD is everywhere, then THE MOST HIGH must be from where I’m from. #GodIsFrom

This week’s installment of our #MustLoveBeards series features Chaz Pope, “God Is From” apparel series creator. Taji Mag came across this king during our recent trip to Atlanta. We sat down with him at the Black owned business Boogaloo Lounge to find out more about this dope brother.

Chaz PopeThis Black man got into the habit of marketing when he was 13. Now at 38, he feels like he is in his groove. What most people don’t realize about him is that he taught himself how to screen print when he was 35. Most folks in their mid 30s are content to settle, but he was determined to step out on faith.

In his own words, “numbers don’t lie”. How did our #MCM get to this point though?

Once he got the idea that God is from everywhere, he reached out to a friend who owned a small corner store. The shirts sold out in an hour and he knew he had something special. He took his last $1,000 and moved to Atlanta to pursue his endeavors. After moving in with his uncle for a few weeks, his shirts quickly made that $1,000 back. He was printing bulk orders in his living room by the second month.

Once he came up with the term “God is from”, he searched for the trademark. Even with all the signs, he held on to the idea for all year before making any big moves. He started what he describes as all “shitty” website that stayed up for 7 months without really moving product the way he wanted. Then a big turning point happened. He met independent filmmaker Raxiel Sinz. From there, he met Big Tigger who got in touch via DM. Tigger, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ludacris, Adrienne Joi Johnson, and a host of other celebrities started rocking his shirts. You can even catch our ongoing #WCW Da Brat in his “God is from” gear.

Aside from building a brand that speaks volumes, Chaz also teaches entrepreneurship to youth. He acknowledges the other Black entrepreneurs he has met over the years for motivating him to aim higher. Unlike a number of young business owners, Chaz believes that we have to work together to be successful. Thankfully, his ideology is one that is starting to trend among the Black Owned Business community.

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#mustlovebeards nestle snipes
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#MustLoveBeards Profile: Nestlé Snipes

There is something eternally sexy about a Black man with a beard and a plan. The everlasting regality exhibited by today’s #MustLoveBeards king is my blessing to all of our Taji Mag readers. In his own words, “My lineage is rooted in greatness. The history of Africa is one of high achievement and excellence that has set the precedent for the rest of the modern world.” Entrepreneur Nestlé Snipes sat down with Taji Mag to share his story.

So who is this fine, chocolate brother? Let me tell you a bit about the debonair Mr. Nestlé.

Creator and lead photographer for Made For a King Photography, Nestlé Snipes is an emerging artist, photographer, and actor living in the New Jerusalem (better known as East Orange, Jersey). He is a well-traveled navy man with aspirations for greatness.

Nestlé credits his love and appreciation for Blackness for making him the man he is today. Through independent research, he grew to love the countless contributions made by the Pan African world. This dedication to celebrating our origins goes beyond the for-profit arena. He and a collective of dapper Black men organized a “Rebirth of Cool” charity event that showed us what a classic man is really about.

His images are a classy mix of traditional, modern, and futuristic looks that are simply breathtaking. Scroll through his IG for more than 5 seconds and you will fall in love with your Blackness all over again. With more than 3,000 followers, his work is undoubtedly the blues in many a left thigh, trying to become the funk in our right… and that’s alright.

#mustlovebeards nestle snipes

Whether it’s his gold medal beard, his Malcolm-X-turned-hippie appeal, or the sheer brilliance of his passion, Nestlé Snipes is an intriguing Black entrepreneur on the rise. We are excited to watch out for what he does next.

 

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