How did TPGent come about?
TPGent started when I was a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. I saw black men doing things that I had never seen before. It was intriguing and caught my interest. I grew up in a single parent household with my mom. I wanted to teach myself how to become this type of man. While at Morehouse, I started seeing these guys who were able to have this particular diction and articulate themselves clearly to convey a message. Their speech and their look all came together so I said to myself, “well, I can certainly teach myself how to dress the way they do.” I started posting about it on Instagram and people started calling me a gentleman. It evolved into this brand that I’ve identified myself with and has been about educating men. Since I’ve been doing that, women have caught interest, and I found a lane to educate them as well. Women want to know what an ideal gentleman is like.
How have you been able to turn your brand into a lifestyle?
My brand is me being myself. It started off as a hobby, and I taught myself the fundamentals of how to be a gentleman. I started getting coached by different people and then turning it into a lifestyle. I did it consecutively. I centered my life on being a gentleman which is the art of appearance, grooming, and mannerism. I am able to give content to people that comes from a real place through experiences.
Does the perfect gentleman truly exist?
TPGent is a standard. Men have to be willing to allow their self to be a perfect gentleman. Every guy is the perfect gentleman; some are just not open enough or willing to bring it out. Our environment has a lot to do with it. You do as you see, and see as you do.
Are chivalry and courting lost in today's society?
Chivalry and courting are not dead. It’s 2017 and not 1917. The roles of men and women in the workplace are different. There used to be a point in time where men go out and hunt, and women stay home. That is not the same lineup as today. We have women as leaders of the household and workforce, and men staying at home. Again, chivalry is not dead. It’s a matter of two things: men don't know how to express it and women aren’t being receptive to a gentleman. I can open the door for a lady and she might say, ‘no, I got it,’ which is completely fine because for me being a gentleman is about offering and always saying “May I…”. Some people don’t know how to necessarily do that or be comfortable with it. Texting is not dating and asking to go out over text is becoming a phenomenon. The interactions people make and how they meet is very different. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, but I think if men went the extra mile to pick up the phone to call the woman would think differently of him.
What is the greatest misconception women have about men?
That all men want is sex. It's much more than just having sex because at the end of the day we can have sex but if there is no connection, then I’m not interested in lying next to you or grabbing a bite to eat. I'm not interested if it's only based on sex. The relationship becomes bland when the sex is the same. If it's good, then it's good but if you can't bring anything else to the table but sex then I have nothing else to look forward to or venture off with you on. If I can't hang out with you, then I don't want to see you outside the bedroom. Our relationship is then formed between the overnight hours of 11 pm and 5 am. Not every man wants sex. Sex can be on a man's mind, but he might be willing to put himself on a back burner because he’s hoping to find a foundation outside of sex that makes him like her more.
What are your thoughts on the 90 Day Rule?
I will put it like this, I work at Coca-Cola full time and it doesn't take me 90 days to get my benefits. I don't think every relationship should have the 90-day rule. It’s a great mindset to have and also great if you don't have It. You can have the 90-day rule and he might be a good person but still leave you after 90 days. People leave marriages too, so the length of it doesn't make it any better. If you say 30 or 60 days then stick to it and don't feel ashamed if you have a one day or 90-day rule. Be who you are and let your partner know your intentions. If they aren't willing to work with you say thank you and keep it pushing.
You posted a quote on Instagram that read, “So many people are in love and not together, and so many people are together and not in love.” Why do you think people stay in relationships knowing that they don't love their partner?
That was actually based on personal experience. For many people kids, property and finances are invested together which makes it harder to cut somebody off which is they end up staying together longer than they should. People also like having someone next to them, that's part of being. A being represents shelter, food, and comfort. You want to be accepted by people and loved. Sometimes you have two people that belong together but they are single. They are single because one person might not be ready to commit or the other person doesn’t know that they found the one.
If you had 10 seconds to speak to a young man what would you say?
I would tell that young guy to be who you want and not to let anyone tell you that you can’t and don’t let anyone tell you that there is one way to do things. People are going to try to put you in a box and tell you this is your path when it’s not. You create your own destiny.
The most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far…
The most valuable lesson came from my mom. My mom is a big part of my life, and she always made sure to remind me that I would be someone in life. That really hits home to me because growing up wasn't the best situation. I was always reminded to never think of myself as better than anyone but to know that I was going to be somebody. Hearing that as a small child was very important. If I were told that I was going to be dumb or stupid, then I would have eventually started to believe it, as opposed to hearing positive and uplifting words. I made these words part of my day to day. So when I’m walking around throwing on my jacket or fixing my tie I say to myself, “I am going to be somebody.” It’s a part of my swag now.