Actor & Entrepreneur, AJ Carr on His Power In One February 11, 2018 – Posted in: Culture, Doing Good, In the Community – Tags: Actor, Boss, entrepreneur, Power In One, streetwear fashion, The Chi, Youth
To have Power In One is to be inspired to create effective change and growth. I believe it is that one thing that really helps to identify your truth as an individual.
As a creative, I am always eager to understand the perspectives and inner workings of other creatives’ minds. As a fashion designer I seek inspiration from literally anywhere and I love to get a sense of where that flow comes from within others. My power in one is the ability to create, innovate, and evoke change, primarily through the platform of fashion, but I am always interested in playing with and questioning things as we know them to be. For me, fashion is all about self-expression and using individual style as a platform to represent who you are or how you feel. It is an attainable goal to be comfortable and confident in the skin you’re in so why not wear things that reflect those sides of you.
In an interview with AJ Carr, a young actor and entrepreneur, I had the opportunity to gain his perspective on fashion, and what encapsulates his power in one. AJ is a proud Power In One brand ambassador from the Midwest, growing up between Illinois and Wisconsin. He truly embodies what we represent. As a 15-year-old SAG Actor with a recurring role on the new hit Showtime series “The Chi,” AJ also cultivates his business Building Bosses. He created Building Bosses, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, “to help empower young people to recognize their self-worth.” His power in one incorporates the influences of black excellence from the past and present. The likes of “Huey Newton, Tupac Shakur, Malcom X, Angela Davis, Jay-Z, Angela Rye, and many more” allow him to “see how much so many of our people have sacrificed so that we can be free,” which in turn inspires him “do the same thing for future generations.” His childhood friend and “brotha from another mother Gavin Doby” is just one of the many peers that influence him. “Gavin influences me because he constantly perseveres through obstacles while keeping a smile on his face. Whether it be racism, health issues, or difficulty in school, he’s always staying persistent and positive about everything life throws at him. A true soldier.”
When it comes to fashion, AJ believes it is “way more than just some cool expensive outfits or jewelry. Fashion can be revolutionary. People like Dapper Dan, Pharrell, Kanye West, etc., have all done amazing things with fashion. They’ve really pushed the culture forward by showing everyone that they can be themselves, even if it’s different than what everybody else is comfortable with. They paved the way for a lot of inner city kids to switch their style up in a way that didn’t seem cool at first, and now people all over the world follow that trend. It just goes to show you how much black culture influences the whole nation.”
When I asked what excites him most about fashion, AJ really loves how much it allows him to express himself. “Fashion allows me to proudly scream who I am out loud without even opening my mouth. I love to wear things that represent who I am and say something meaningful. That’s why I love Power In One so much. The brand really represents me.” Finding fashion that speaks to and represents you and what you’re about is a great way to use it as a platform for expression.
His favorite Power In One piece is the grey “GUIDED BY THE ANCESTORS” crew neck sweatshirt. “It’s super comfortable, it has a powerful statement, plus it just looks really good. I get a lot of compliments when I wear it. But a very honorable mention is the “We Don’t Need Their Approval” T-Shirt. It’s very powerful because it embodies everything I stand for. Being ourselves at ALL times in ALL places as black people is so important because it forces people to accept who we are. To me, truly being yourself around people who would rather see you be someone else as a black person is very revolutionary. The best way to protest is to simply be yourself, without asking for approval.” He couldn’t have said that any better. Be your best you and live in that truth.
AJ’s favorite trend that he hopes wil become a classic in the future is “the new wave of distressed and ripped clothing. I love ripped jeans and the whole woke rock star look in general… because the style is so carefree, different, and confident.” The classics that he stands by incorporate a plethora of things, but one of the major ones he sticks with are the oversized styles, overalls, and fly boots from the 90s. He says that “even wearing all black like a panther is something [he] will always love to do.”
His go-to outfit encompasses “all black high laced boots, some ripped skinny jeans, a hoodie, his Power In One bracelet, and an afro pick [with a fist] in his hair. It’s just a mix of the influence I got from The Black Panthers [the movement] of course, and that rockstar look from people like Vic Mensa.
There are many different things that keep AJ motivated and empowered. “A lot of my motivation comes from watching interviews and speeches by Tupac, Malcom X, and MLK just to name a few. Also poetry and music.” “Hip Hop influences me the most,” because of its relatability and how his favorite rappers discuss reselience and the ability to “make something from nothing.” “Sometiems I can listen to one song and feel like I have enough motivation for the next 50 years like “It’s Your World” by Common. Plus the beat and Common’s bars go so crazy that it makes me want to make a song myself. I feel so motivated and determined after I hear it.”
Keep a look out for AJ Carr on future episodes of “The Chi” every Sunday on Showtime. The self titled documentary about him, “AJ Carr,” has been accepted into Beloit International Film Festival. He is “excited about attending the festival on the 23rd of this month.” Not to mention how he will be “appearing on the 2nd Season of the FX series “Atlanta,” which will be returning this March.
He is also “planning a Youth Empowerment tour with another talented, successful young boss by the name of Essynce Moore. Essynce is a 15 year old boutique owner who wrote books that are now required in different parts of the New Jersey School system. She’s so dope. I’m excited about planning a tour with her.”
Furthermore along the lines of Building Bosses, he will also “be taking 40 kids to go see the Black Panther movie on the 15th” which he is really excited about it because Madison, Wisconsin” has a racist climate, “so I’m happy I get to take Kids from Madison to see a movie that’s filled with Black Excellence.”
Feel free to check out his website to learn more about how he continuously inspires others through his business Building Bosses at www.buildingbosses.com/AJcarr.
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AJ uses his power in one to make a difference in his community and is an extraordinary example of the hope and promise that younger generations bring to the table. How can you use your power in one to cultivate an impactful reality? How do you rock your power in one? Let us know…share your thoughts below!
Written by Naomi Crumpley
Power In One Clothing
Fashion Designer and Blog Consultant