+ Grayson Bell.
THE IN HIS SKIN PROJECT SERIES & GRAYSON BELL.
One: What is your name and where do you currently reside?
GB: My name is Gray Bell and I reside in Southern California.
Two: Who influences your life the most?
GB: This is a hard one. I am influenced by a multitude of people. I would say my tribe, that’s what I call my family and friends.
Three: What is your purpose in life?
GB: Still figuring this out. We all want to change the world or leave our mark on the world in some way. Mine is through my creativity. I want to help people. educate yet entertain.
Four: What are your thoughts on the place that black men hold in society?
GB: I think that it is sad. We are Kings and are constantly made to feel less than in some way. Look at how they treat our President. Society continuously gives us bittersweet hope. Meaning they will let us become powerful but will constantly remind us as Black men that we will never be good enough in their eyes. we have to uplift ourselves.
Five: What do you hope for people to gather from your work?
GB: Hope. All of my work has an underlying message of hope. I want everybody to enjoy my work but the message of hope is something that the Black community needs to hear.
Six: How has love helped you become a stronger man?
GB: I have never been in love in the romantic sense. The few relationships I have had have not been successful but I still have faith I will be in love one day, when I am ready. However I have come to know love through God and my tribe. Love is unconditional, comforting and powerful. This has helped me to be a better man because I not only know what it is to receive love but to reciprocate it. Love truly is the answer.
Seven: When did you realize that you were comfortable in your own skin?
GB: Not until about two years ago did I settle into my skin. Growing up, I felt awkward because I was skinny (still am), brown skinned and shorter than the average height. I also suffered from colorism. I come from a family where both of my Grandfathers are of mixed race. Therefore while there are a lot of relatives who are brown or dark skinned, there are many who are light skinned. I saw the distinctions that people would make between me and my light skinned relatives. Noting how attractive they were and discrediting me. My family never made distinctions but outsiders did. Ultimately in college, I grew to accept myself. I love my complexion. I love my spirit. I’m not completely there yet but I can say I love myself. Fiercely.
Eight: What do you love most about being a man of color?
GB - I love us because we are magical. We are resilient, diverse and overall dope. The definition of cool. We have royalty embedded in our DNA.
Nine: Name some lessons that a woman has taught you. . .
GB: Love, kindness and respect. My mother taught me those three words and instilled in me the importance of them. She told me to treat others with love, kindness and respect. Do not be a punk but be the best version of myself that I can be.
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