When the video of George Floyd disgustingly being murdered on camera by a thug in uniform, an evident change in the mistreatment of African Americans went from being a conversation to a demand of action as protest of solidarity amongst communities around the world unite to show respect to the cause of Black Lives Matter(ing). A group of Black men showcased their voice in a unique style debunking the moniker of back men being the thugs of America. When black stylist Gabriel M. Garmon made a social media post calling for a collective gathering to remember George Floyd, he insisted on the flyer to wear “your best” with small notes to wearing a suit or shirt and tie. The moment would serve as a sort-of street home going for Floyd as it would coincide with his Minneapolis home going ceremony.
Garmon organized the event with fellow Black creatives Brandon Murphy and Harold Waight, arriving to 125th street to find a sequence of prestigious black men, and some women, dressed beyond casual exuding black class and elegance. Initially only expecting just 100 men to join, the trio arrived to see a couple thousand people gathered to share the memory of Floyd and push forward the culture of being recognized and respected. “It was such a peaceful experience, it was such a unifying experience and that’s all we wanted,” says Fisher to Vogue. “No matter our gender or what industry we’re in, it is upsetting to us on a deep level that our presence can be scary to people. Our chant was: We’re not to be feared. When people heard that, they were hanging out of their windows clapping for us, cheering us on.”
Almost everyone that participated took Garmon’s call for casual dress took the invitation seriously as many came in slacks, dress-shirts, and even 3-piece suits. Only the few that joined the movement on the march towards Central Park were dressed only with their signs of support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Black men flooded the streets in peace and appeal as they showcased the malling magic of what many attempt to deem as ghetto or problematic. “I asked myself, would I wear this to someone’s funeral? To a relative’s funeral? How would I bring myself?” says fashion consultant Elias Hightower. “I almost wore Vans with my suit, but I knew I couldn’t do this by halves. This was really about changing the narrative and showing the power of dress.” The union of Black men presented a further narrative of being in this all together with all/any personal lifestyle preferences aside as everyone is fighting the same fight.