Name: Lloyd Boston
Profession: TV Host & Brand Consultant
One Word That Describes You: Creator
How HE Extraordinarily Impacts: For more than 20 years, Lloyd Boston has shown not only the world but black men how to dress—for the success you desire, for the job you want, for the swag you love, and for the respect you deserve. From appearing on red carpets and New York Fashion Week shows to working for multibillion-dollar brand Tommy Hilfiger to authoring four style books, including the L.A. Times best-selling Men of Color, to hosting segments on The Insider and The Style Network, Boston’s mission has always been clear: to use his numerous platforms to create content and opportunities for black men in the name of style, brotherhood, and culture.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being included on this list feels like validation from a legendary touchstone in our community, and after nearly 25 years working in fashion, it means that I’m doing something right as an entrepreneur.
What are you doing as an Ambassador to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
Mentorship may sound cliche, but it’s exactly how I got to where I am—as a hand-picked mentee of successful men and women in design and media such as designer Leonard Bridges, literary phenom Faith Childs, and, of course, Tommy Hilfiger. I pass the very same lessons along to a select group of mentees who I feel really want success as badly as I did, and who most importantly, are not afraid of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I was offered a full-time job by my internship boss, designer Tommy Hilfiger, in the middle of my senior year in college. Fearful of taking the job and not finishing my degree, I accepted the position and did double-duty. I worked super-long days for the hot brand, while finishing my degree at night. Tommy rewarded the decision by paying for the balance of my education.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I instinctively look for people who know how to listen and connect while engaging in conversation. If you are multi-tasking your time with me while constantly checking your phone, it’s a bright red flag.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I’m currently a regular contributor on The Wendy Show, where I have appeared for eight seasons. The role has expanded into work as her first red carpet correspondent, as well as co-host of her one-hour spin-off specials, Wendy’s Style Squad. Behind the scenes, I consult for a variety of top lifestyle brands such as eBay and Family Dollar.
What is the best advice you ever received?
One of my favorite professors once told me that the best ideas usually come after you push yourself past dozens and dozens of easy, obvious, immediate ideas. Just when you are about to give up, that final idea you draft is usually amazing.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Don’t focus on success, focus only on what you are passionate about. If you keep at your craft and continue to keep your approach fresh, the right amount of success will find you, and it may not look the way you have always envisioned.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I do three things:
1. I research every player involved, and know what they bring to the table.
2. I create a killer outfit to wear, because the right clothes make me feel invincible.
3. I remind myself at the door, to listen more than I talk.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Rio has always felt like a second home. I went once and wound up going five years in a row from there. The combination of spirituality and sensuality are intoxicating. Being able to see people in all shades of brown thriving, and not completely impacted by American culture, is a real inspiration and treasure.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’m dying to get to Bora Bora and relax in one of those floating bungalows!
Anything else you’d like to say?
Reading Black Enterprise in my twenties inspired me to begin working for myself before reaching 30, write four popular books, and consistently appear as a national TV host and expert for nearly two decades. It’s a full-circle moment to now be in the very pages that inspired me to bet on me.
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.