Queer men of color share their personal struggles with body image issues
By Erin White
September 14, 2017
The EveryMan Project is the ongoing visual series that chronicles the relationships queer black men have with toxic masculinity, body image, celebrating trans inclusivity, and taking hyper-masculinity head on. The series was created by Brooklyn native Tarik Carroll, a commercial and documentary photographer whose bold aesthetic and cinematic approach to storytelling has been featured by The New York Times, NYLON, Paper, Complex, and many others.
“We created The EveryMAN Project to empower and inspire,” says EveryMan Founder and Creative Director, Tarik Carroll. “This project is geared toward creating a safe space that I hope will serve to liberate men worldwide from self-hate. This book will challenge society’s standards of what the REAL male aesthetic is through the lens of re-imagined iconic 90’s fashion ads.”
“With our first shoot, our goal was to start planting seeds of body positivity & self-acceptance. We are beginning to see those seeds grow into new life, and by collaborating with Allsaints, we offer a new perspective within the fashion industry to showcase a diverse “real male aesthetic.”
Eric Arceneaux is a singer/songwriter and vocal coach. Eric’s insecurities with his body began to take form as he met with record labels who would look past his music and be more concerned with his body type. They’d tell him without the right look, they could care less about the music, they have records to sell. Eric joined the EveryMan Project in order to take part in shifting culture for people like him to be seen and their artistry to be celebrated beyond the way they look.
Lamar is a high school teacher in Brooklyn. He attended the same elementary school as Tarik. He internalized a lot of negative emotions feeling like he was too effeminate and “not a good enough son.” This in turn showed up in the way he saw himself and became self-hatred.
Jordan is originally from Providence, RI. He moved to New York because he wanted to find more acceptance and a place to feel free to express himself. He says being a gay black man growing up in Rhode Island was a huge struggle. Jordan struggled with his body greatly. In taking the steps to build community with other queer people of color in NY, he’s learned:
“Authentic self-expression and loving your body are critical steps to actualization.”
Jordan says kids like him growing up in rural towns need online communities like The EveryMan Project in order to feel seen and recognized.
“Growing up I never saw men who were the same as me,” Jordan says. “I think showcasing who I really am and being free in myself is the most important thing I can do right now.”
Marquis Neal is a plus size queer Instagram blogger and model known for his gender-fluid style and colorful/inspiring outfit posts for plus size individuals. His work has been featured in Buzzfeed, The HuffPost, Mic.com and he has collaborated with brands such as ASOS, Brandon Kyle Collection, and Bando.