Tyler, The Creator Talks Black Masculinity After Recent Fashion Show

Tyler, The Creator seems like a super chill guy. Every interview I’ve seen him give he has appeared relaxed and just content to explain how his mind works. His live shows by contrast are a mix of unmatchable energy during his tracks, then as soon as it finishes he’s all “yo, that was cool, let’s keep going,” in his unmistakeable baritone.

He also seems like a guy who knows what’s going on in the world. He may not look it at first glance, with his trademark Golf Wang style carrying an extremely heavy early-nineties influence that in previous years would have seemed either lame or ironic. Bright colours (mostly pastels) and clashing patterns may not exactly be something that would be considered fashionable by conventional standards, but Tyler doesn’t really care about conventional.

At his recent fashion show at MADE LA, he showcased a collection of clothes that continue to fit his “don’t give a fuck” attitude. It was a spectacle to watch, and if you think that it’s merely about what the models are wearing, that’s where you’re wrong. People laugh at the fashion industry for making some really stupid looking things, but much of the fashion world is using clothes and the rest of the show as a sort of social commentary. And that was what Tyler, The Creator’s goal for his show (which you can watch in its entirety below) was.

Following his successful show, he caught up with The Fader for an interview. In it, he discussed his reasons behind the liberal use of pink and lighter colours in his show, which he addressed in a statement during the show itself, stating he was “an inner city black kid [who] wasn’t the most masculine and liked pink.” When asked to explain this further, he said:

“The black community is very fixated on that hard masculinity, they always gotta be hard and fucking tough. I was never really a tough guy, I don’t like sports, I have some feminine mannerisms. The reason why I was just saying that is because society always tries to box everything up, and you always have to be one way or another. You don’t have to be the tough guy all the time. […] [In] the black community, everything is sus or gay or that’s not fucking hard, and we like face tats and gangbanging. No, not everyone is like that. It’s kids who’s probably growing up and don’t know themselves yet or have the strongest self esteem so they’re trying to fit, and hopefully they can see people who are successful and not following the ‘always have to be masculine, threatening, and hard’ way of life.”

Tyler also said that the point of the colourfulness of the show was to get people into his world. He dislikes the pedestrian and boring nature of standard fashion shows, and he wanted his to be different.

“I was just inviting people to my world. Most fashion shows just happen in a weird little room and people just sit in a very calculated way to make a technical runway and people just walk back and forth. And that’s it. I just didn’t want to look like the other guys. I’ve never been to one, I just looked it up. I just noticed they were all the same thing — except Chanel’s has cool set designs. I give Chanel props, and the last Louis Vuitton cruise [show]. But other than that they’re pretty boring.”

You can read the whole thing here, and I encourage you do. It’s a fascinating read.

Thanks, The Fader

Image: The Four Oh Five