Name: Bryon Summers
Profession: Photographer and Content Creator
One Word That Describes You: Thinker
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
Specifically with The We Love You Project, I know the impact won’t be immediate. It’s an ongoing mission that won’t yield results for years. It’s a project that has to grow with a generation. Even more than that, having the opportunity to speak about these experiences to different audiences is an awesome educational moment. The extraordinary thing about it all is witnessing the “aha” moment when people find understanding through the images.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Black Enterprise has always been that distinguished institution of black excellence in my household. As an artist, you often veer off the beaten path while others wait for you to “get it right.” Having this recognition is an honor and one that I know my family with recognize immediately.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
When I was a child and even sometimes still, I stutter when I speak. It was worse as a kid but with practice and patience, I pushed myself to publicly speak and even produce and host several podcasts. Now when I speak, I aim to give inspiration to others with similar setbacks or disadvantages.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
It’s not really something I think about but if I had to say, I probably look for drive. I believe you should surround yourself with people who motivate you but a very important piece to this belief is to reciprocate that motivation.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
In addition to The We Love You Project, I host a photography-based podcast called Shooting With Shooters. It started as a hashtag to celebrate photographers since we rarely highlight or get shots of ourselves and has grown into a podcast and live event.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I heard my mom tell someone to “listen to what people have to say but take what you need from it.” Everyone has an opinion and some might share them with you. Whether you want their advice or not, if you care enough, you might take something useful from the thought.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Identify your problem and then attempt to solve it with your own talents. When I started The We Love You Project, I knew my problem was the negative imagery of black Americans. I didn’t set out to end racism with 1,000 photos, but I knew my specific talent could tackle a visual element that has falsely reinforced hate.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Before an important meeting or event, I research. A failure to plan is a plan to fail.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
I like to travel, but I don’t think unwind is an accurate description. Recharge might be more on point. Even if it’s just a road trip to a nearby state, when I see new things or have new experiences, in a sense, I feel wound back up and ready to create a new project.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve had the privilege to travel out of the country a few times. In that handful of times, I’ve only managed to visit one African country—so there are 53 more to see. On that trip, for a brief moment, I had a sense that I, along with my cousin, had found clues to our ancestry. We do, however, know a part of our family migrated from the Caribbean. Our documented family history stops in Antigua so it’s definitely a “must go” at this point in my life.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.