BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. With features of today’s leaders, executives, creatives, students, politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals, and agents of change—these men share the common thread of creating a new normal while setting the bar in tech, art, philanthropy, business, and beyond. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.
BE MODERN MAN ADRIAN OCTAVIUS WALKER
Profession: Photographer (Contemporary Mixed Media)
One Word That Describes You: Achiever
What does being one of the BE Modern Man 100 Honorees mean to you?
A true honor and boost, letting me know there is more work to be done. This isn’t just a win for me, but for those who helped me get this far, and stood by my side and believed in me. Being one of the 100 BE Modern Men is a reminder that without my community there wouldn’t be an Adrian Octavius Walker.
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
Community first. I’m a firm believer in building up those around you and helping other young professionals know that they will be successful. I make it my business to almost always connect with someone I don’t know and connect them to the right people so that they can align the goals they see impossible possible.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I’m going to continue being a strong advocate for the community and for those who look like me and have similar backgrounds. My hope is that my story opens doors for those who feel like things aren’t possible. I will continue to be 100% transparent with those who feel like they don’t have anyone to go to when it comes to career development, whether I could help them or not, I will be there to listen to those who simply need guidance or just need to vent.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Working a job I knew I was greater than. Once I left this particular job, I took on a temporary opportunity that would allow more doors to open to perfect and further my career as an artist. Another example is standing up for myself and knowing my worth as a young black professional within the technology space and art world. Closed mouths don’t get fed and it’s my duty to speak on what I know is right for me as well as my family.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
Those who have an open mind and are willing to push boundaries. I love being challenged by others because it helps me with own creative process.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I’m currently sitting on a lot of photo work and making sure I am taking the steps to get the imagery in the right hands and eyes. Taking my time shooting and being more selective with the works I am producing is very important to me. I am also working on building out my Fall/Winter 2018 and Spring/Summer 2019 Black Women Over Breathing looks, which you can learn more about at blackwomenoverbreathing.com or on Instagram @blackwomenoverbreathing.
What is the best advice you ever received?
My father used to always tell me “It’s not always about you.” Growing up I really didn’t think about what he really meant by that because I never asked for much as a child but after a few life experiences, and putting others before myself, I thought about how much I related to what he was saying.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Stay on course! Once you have thought of an idea and/or concept see it through until it has manifested. Just because it’s not happening at the pace you want doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen at all. Stay focused and connected as possible.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Researching and identifying who the decision makers in the room are important. I want to know as much as possible about a person before meeting them in person, not because I want to impress them, but because I personally have a hard time going into something with high standards of a person, place, or thing. I want to set myself up for success.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I personally haven’t been on any true vacations since my honeymoon, but with a newborn, I now would love to take the family out on a getaway for a few weeks with very little Internet access and just disconnect.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
South Africa, either Johannesburg or Cape Town. These are two places I’ve always wanted to visit with my wife. I feel we would connect on a level we have yet to connect on because we haven’t had the chance to make this travel destination happen, but once we do, I feel we will be filled with an enormous amount of creative energy.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Continue to grind hard and stay true to yourself as a creative individual. Only you can choose your destiny and where you want to be. Often remind yourself of where you once were versus where you are headed.
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 2nd Annual Black Men XCEL, Aug. 29–Sept. 2, 2018, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.