RISK MAGAZINE: What do you think about the hyper sexualization of the black body? Why do you think this exists and how can we combat it without desexualizing ourselves?
Jared Angelo: Well the hyper sexualization came from slavery, when we were forced to only work and be “used”. I think that with the conditioned fear of “black people'' it also created a fetish. To basically want what is “bad”. So that's been a stigma placed on the black body that's hard to shake. And frankly I don’t want to shake it. I want to own it. I will never be ashamed of my body or my blackness. If it causes fear in others then I simply say “Thank You, for that Power” because to fear any man is ignorant. That's how we combat it, we must own it. No hiding, no feeling ashamed, no toning down. Also not letting ourselves be available to the fetishes of those who can’t “see” us in the light of day.
"I will never be ashamed of my body or my blackness."
RISK MAGAZINE: How much does outside validation contribute to your overall self-esteem?
Jared Angelo: I would be lying if I said it didn’t. We live in an age where ideals, body images, and “keeping up with the Joneses” is constantly everywhere we turn. So for myself, I had to learn that outside validation doesn’t mean anything to me. I alone validate myself. The time put into my craft validates me. The joy I bring to my loved ones validates me. Any outside opinion is just that, an outside opinion.
RISK MAGAZINE: Why do you believe we only see certain body types in media?
Jared Angelo: Because the heads in the “Room” put out what they’ve been conditioned to believe is the “ideal body”. Something I want to change in my journey as an Actor, Writer, and Artist. I love fitness and looking like a Nubian God but I also understand that there are all kinds of bodies, and it's important to showcase them in the same light as we do the types deemed “acceptable”.
RISK MAGAZINE: What did (or would) it take for you to become comfortable with nudity?
Jared Angelo: Well, when I was on swim team it was my first time having to undress around other people, and during the summers I would swim on the white club team and we all know white people don’t care, they get naked. So being a swimmer honestly got me comfortable. I'm literally in front of a crowd with tight spandex briefs that leave nothing to the imagination. My journey through modelling also helped with being comfortable with nudity.
"I live to be happy and share happiness, not to please others or conform to their social norms."
RISK MAGAZINE: Where did you learn your idea of what is and isn’t “sexy”
Jared Angelo: Through film, fashion and art. Because they cover such different types of gazes it exposed me to understanding that “Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder”. Of course we have what the “masses” deem sexy/not sexy. But the masses don't have a mind of their own. I’m more interested in the individual that thinks for themselves regardless of what they are told.
RISK MAGAZINE: How does the desirability of masculinity affect the way you present yourself?
Jared Angelo: Early on I always knew I was different from the kids around me. While most were listening to Chris Brown’s “Run I” I was watching Stanley Kubrick films and Thierry Mugler vintage fashion shows. I struggled with myself thinking that what I liked wasn’t “masculine” or “what a boy should like" but I got to a point of WHATEVER FUCK IT. I present myself in a way that’s pleasing to me. I don’t care what the next person thinks. I live to be happy and share happiness, not to please others or to conform to their social norms.
RISK MAGAZINE: What does self love and self celebration look like for you?
Jared Angelo: For me it's self care, working out , eating well, dressing fly, constantly affirming myself. Speaking life into all that I do, am doing, and want to do. It looks grounded, like “I know who I am and where I want to go”.
Model Jared Angelo
Photographer Ahmad Barber
Stylist Vincent Smith
Grooming Bernard Askew
Interview LaQuann Dawson
Producer Jack Goldsmith