Aesthetic as Activism: Alex Hardy
Nia Hampton | Monday July 31st 2017
If “the personal is political”, then how you dress and adorn yourself says a lot about who you are. It can also say a lot about what you want to be and who you feel connected to. As technology pushes us all to master the selfie and think of ourselves as brands, people who may not have ever had to think about their “aesthetic” are developing language around why they adorn themselves. We here at AllthePrettyBirds.com invite you to read our interview series “Aesthetic as Activism” and be inspired by these activists who opened up to us about their looks, dreams for the future and self-care routines.
This month’s feature is Alex Hardy, (thecoloredboy.com) a hilarious writer, talented dancer, avid traveler, foodie and mental health advocate. Read about how butter crunch cookies are a part of his self-care routine and his upcoming 10 city wellness tour.
What does aesthetic mean to you?
Aesthetic encompasses all the things that inspire one’s style and presentation. It’s the message you’re presenting to the world. My mood. The season. Level of intoxication. All important factors in determining what the day’s vibe shall be.
What looks are you going for right now?
The simpler the better. As the summer unfolds and gets hotter, I’m about minimal effort and maximum comfort. I wear a lot of t-shirts and jeans. Tank tops are a way of life. I walk a lot, and my main concern is comfort.
What does activism mean to you?
Activism is using your time, energy, knowledge, and resources to advance a cause or work towards a certain end. Activism is something that each of us can do, with whatever you’re passionate about, no matter what resources we have. Doing good doesn’t require me to put on a cape or attempt to save the world. I just go about my business, sharing insights on my life and the world, encouraging others to acknowledge and work towards improving our mental and emotional challenges. Anything you’re doing to improve the lives of others is activism. Start where you are.
What are some internal/external changes you’d like to see in life this year? What changes are you making personally and what changes would you like to see in the world?
I’m working on being more organized and improving my compartmentalization. I want to be kinder to myself and not take on more responsibility than I should. I’ve overcome several major challenges this year, and I’m working on not beating myself down when things don’t turn out perfectly, or when I disappoint myself or someone else. Promised myself I would have more fun and laugh more this year, and I’ve been doing much better at that.
I would like for more Black and brown folks take their mental and emotional wellness seriously. I’d like to see depression, the bad days, therapy, stress, suicidal thoughts and all that discussed with the same ease with which we discuss physical ailments. I would like to see fewer reboots of shows and movies from my childhood.
What’s your makeup/haircare/skincare/self-care ritual looking like?
I drink a lot of water. Most days, I use a kush shea butter on my body and coconut oil in my hair and beard. I try to write in my journal every day. Butter crunch cookies are also part of my self-care.
What are your Muses/Inspiration at the moment?
I’m currently inspired by Solange Knowles, Cardi B, Donald Glover, and playwright Donja Love.
What creative projects are you working on right now?
I’m co-host of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast (theextraordianynegroes.com), on which Jay Connor and I use humor (and profanity) to address issues of interest to Black folks and others, from mental health and entrepreneurship to travel, parenthood, and sex. I’m also working on a year-long mental health awareness campaign to promote mental wellness among Black and brown folks. It’ll involve showcases, roundtables, mental Health First Aid instructions, an online wellness hub with a Black therapist directory, storytelling, resources and a 10-city wellness tour.
Graphic By Sophia Gach-Rasool