James wears all clothing model's own

James Corbin: "Being a young Black man is beautiful!"

Plus-sized model, activist, influencer and YouTube personality, James discusses the power of having your voice heard and your talent appreciated.

by James Corbin
21 September 2020, 12:31pm

James wears all clothing model's own

This story originally appeared in Up + Rising, a celebration of extraordinary Black voices, and is the first chapter of i-D's 40th anniversary issue (1980-2020).

i-D chronicled over 100 activists and artists, musicians and writers, photographers and creatives, in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, LA, London, New York, Paris and Toronto.

“Being a young Black man is beautiful!

My family comes from the Caribbean and I grew up in South London. There have been many times I have been judged, simply for the tone of my skin. I’ve been in many rooms of talented, powerful people, but not seen people who look like me and represent me.

I want my brothers and sisters to be entitled to the same opportunities, regardless of their race. To feel their voice can be heard and their beautiful talent is appreciated.

Our culture is beautiful, our lives are valuable. This generation of young impressionable people need to be embraced. The media and fashion world need to open their doors and allow more talent of every kind, sharing the voices of all cultures.

At this point, my people are tired. Mothers are tired of being in fear for their sons when they step out the door. Young queens are tired of being told their hair isn’t ‘appropriate’ for the workplace. I’m tired of having to have the best disguised phone voice to have a better shot at a job.

We march and stand, to share our stories because we don’t want to be tired any longer.”


Photography Jermaine Francis.
Photographed on Holloway Road, London, N7.
Casting Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Alexandra Antonova.

jermaine francis