The platform Boy.Brother.Friend, initially conceived as a limited edition zine in 2017, seeks to 'unpack diverse realities and urgent discourses within society and culture'. Taking the guise of the lived male experience across diasporas, Boy.Brother.Friend both interrogates and celebrates masculinity and intersectionality in modern societies. Conceived by creative director KK Obi and editorial director Emmanuel Balogun, the title uses fashion, contemporary art and theory to simultaneously unpack and instigate urgent discussions.
Boy.Brother.Friend's first issue 'Discipline' is curated around the themes of authority and control. It is '...an invitation to cross-examine intersectionality, male identities and transnational cultures in the world today', bringing together essays and theories on subjects including diaspora and displacement with the likes of cultural theorist Stuart Hall, a pillar figure in cultural studies, featuring. Curated together with fashion photography and artist commissions from creative visionaries and emerging talents, expect to see the likes of fashion designers Mowalola and Nicholas Daley, poet James Massiah, photographers Liz Johnson Artur and Campbell Addy, producer and performer Ms. Carrie Stacks and stylist Ib Kamara. Collectively offering up a multitude of experiences and interpretations, Boy.Brother.Friend's approach reminds us of the essential nature of community and varied perspectives, particularly pertinent to the times we now find ourselves.
Curated cross five chapters (Control, Community, Environment, Family and Post-Visibility), 'Discipline' aims to destabilise inherited notions of masculinity, race and gender. Johnson-Artur shares personal experiences of working on the streets, while 'Cartographies of the black male psyche: A deep-dive into mental health and masculinity' offers up findings in response to a roundtable discussion on mental health. These are just a taste of the rich investigations the title has to offer. In a nutshell, we're told to 'expect intergenerational debates, hyper-sexual bodies, feet, and a cock in a glove. High-level fashion abounds.'
The inaugural issue offers two covers in print. In one, French model Omar Ceesay holds a golden bullet in his mouth, whilst in the other the reflection of actor Damson Idris is caught by a hand-held mirror. An in-depth interview with Idris offers his introspections on sexuality and takeaways from growing up in Peckham, South London. The digital edition meanwhile features the work of Algerian-born artist Mohamed Bourouissa, who explores power dynamics, societal tensions and gang culture in urban peripheries. His cover image features a group of men gathered on a roof top, tower blocks forming the backdrop whilst their collective reflection is caught in a rain puddle.
Available to purchase via digital subscription now and in print, Boy.Brother.Friend has also launched their digital platform to host artist commissions. They've kicked off with a short film by visual artist and filmmaker Alexander Ingham Brooke, starring Damson Idris and Weston Gavin running on a treadmill as they show off different styled up looks.