Hello everyone! This piece will be the first in my newest series titled “Da Hood Prospects”, where I’ll introduce readers to inner-city youth that are rising stars in their respective fields of work. Enjoy, and please share it with your friends.
• This piece is dedicated to Shaiquan Wilson aka “Sha Glizzy” (1999–2020).
Aside from my senior year, seventh-grade was by far the most fun I had in school.
During that period I enjoyed a growth spurt, finished with a ninety-overall grade point average, & was brimming with confidence.
Not to mention, I was arguably the top thirteen-year-old basketball player at the Eagle Academy for Young Men, my middle school.
And being an all-boys academy, the competition each day was fierce.
Whenever we had gym class, my friends and I would rush from the lunchroom to the locker room, to forty-five minutes of straight hoops.
The highlight of our day, it got to the point where we’d create our teams of five, & keep tallies of our victories.
Our gym class felt like the NBA Finals.
And being one of the top athletes in my grade, I would cook most defenders with an array of moves driving to the rim, and a streaky, but steady, mid-range jumper.
However, there was one person I could never figure out.
My boy Moustapha.
Moustapha, or Sta as I call him, was by far my toughest competition.
Back then, he was this skinny & lanky kid who quickly moved down the court. He used his long wingspan to his advantage, and to my disadvantage.
Each time we went head-to-head, I would fail to get in a rhythm.
Sta blocked or altered all my attempts, and being underrated offensively, would finish every shot near the basket.
Despite my troubles, these were some of my favorite memories playing the sport.
As I got older, I discovered my niche outside of basketball, which is writing. I became aware of my passion for putting pen to paper, which led to this blog you’re reading today.
And, due to unforeseen circumstances, Sta would find his niche outside of basketball as well: clothing.
During his high school career, Sta attended multiple schools without a uniform policy, forcing him to assemble outfits each day.
Despite being outside his comfort zone at first, that time period is when he discovered his love for fashion.
He would attend school with the sole purpose of impressing classmates with his evolving wardrobe. Every day was a fashion show for him.
Those four years were crucial in helping Sta find his unique style.
The two encouraged Sta to begin designing clothing himself, and discover where that could lead him.
However, it wasn’t until he met this one person, where he realized the heights he could potentially reach.
It was a chilly February day in the Bronx.
For some time, Sta had been keeping tabs on someone who’d been making waves throughout the borough.
That someone was Michael, or Mike, as his friends refer to him.
Mike is a deep-voiced fellow, who’s smooth & laid back by nature. Once you get to know him, he’s the coolest guy you’ll ever meet.
He’s also the CEO of the clothing line titled “Fearless Boyz”, which began its inception in January 2020.
Sta, Mike, and I share the distinction of being Eagle Academy alums, despite not attending simultaneously.
On this February day, the two met through a mutual friend, so Sta could purchase a yellow hoodie, one of Mike’s earlier releases.
During the transaction, the two shared a lengthy dialogue. Mike was familiar with Sta’s social media and was intrigued by his style. Their conversation would spark the beginning of a strong friendship, & partnership.
Six months following that interaction, the Fearless Boyz brand is better than ever.
And formerly an admirer, Sta now finds himself as the line’s first & only brand ambassador.
Mike selected Sta because he believed in Sta’s growing potential, and ability to effectively promote the line.
The two were able to create a bond through their support for one another, & through clothing.
In spite of that, Mike’s life story began with hoop dreams as well.
Born in Queens, he lived in the infamous Queensbridge Houses until the age of nine, around the time his father passed away.
He moved around until landing in Soundview, where he still resides today.
With his father absent from his life, he credits the older heads in his neighborhood for playing a big-brother role in his life and helping him grow up faster than he wanted.
Throughout middle school, Mike was always taller than his peers. Even today, he stands at six feet five, the size of an NBA shooting guard.
Despite this, Mike never had serious aspirations of playing ball professionally, explaining why his tenure at Eagle Academy got off to a rocky start.
He enrolled at the school with the intention of playing varsity basketball, after being recruited by team coaches & friends.
However, early on in the season, he realized that competitive basketball wasn’t his passion. He preferred playing recreationally.
He left the squad midway through his freshman year, much to the dismay of his teammates.
Instead, his stint at Eagle is where he discovered his love for clothing. The school’s uniform gave him a chance to be versatile with complementary pieces like shoes, sweaters, & jackets.
Even during dress-down days, he’d attend school in subtle footwear that still caught the attention of envious students.
Today, Mike considers high school to be the best years of his life.
At Eagle, he felt comfortable in his own skin, which was important following his father’s death.
There, he was surrounded by several young men whom he considers brothers, cut from the same cloth as him.
But, celebrity stylist Bloody Osiris is someone he idolizes.
Mike marvels at his spontaneous personality, the versatility of his pieces, and the confidence he carries in each of his outfits.
Bloody even inspired Mike to begin investing in stocks and finding different sources of income to subsidize his clothing.
The way Mike respects Bloody is exactly how Sta cherishes popular 80’s rock musician Billy Idol.
Billy is one of the few people Sta admires, both as an artist and a fashion icon. He adores how Idol was himself at all times and sought happiness in his life, rather than fame and fortune that came with his profession.
Idol was someone who didn’t care about the opinions of others and embodied the free, fearless lifestyle that Sta and Mike live each day.
The origins of Fearless Boyz stem from humble beginnings.
Mike’s vision for the brand came as a child. Growing up, he carried a notebook & jotted down sketches of any ideas he had, including ones for a potential clothing line in the future.
The inside of that book resembles the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He still owns the book to this day and looks through it occasionally.
The notebook represents a time in Mike’s life where he remained to himself. He feared opening up to others and lived through the book.
Now, those same ideas are coming to life.
He still struggled to open up ahead of his first official release in January.
Mike was worried about the initial reception of his clothing, especially since he dedicated tons of money and resources to create his pieces.
That fear quickly left after his first drop sold out in a few hours. From thereon, the line has been trending up.
As he continues to establish himself, he intends to diversify his garment collection by releasing bubble jackets, sweatsuits, skullies, and more.
Sta is on a similar trajectory.
Despite being committed to the Fearless Boyz, he has plans on venturing into his own brand, specializing in denim jeans.
Sta was customizing denim before meeting Mike but went on hiatus to regain focus and add to his asset base, in order to improve the quality of his clothing.
Sta has some special ideas he’ll unveil to the world in the coming months. It appears he has something brewing on his clothing Instagram page…
In spite of the accomplishments of the Fearless Boyz, there are always roadblocks to the path of greatness.
For Mike, the toughest part of having a clothing line is finding the balance between devoting time to the brand and enjoying life as a young adult.
And with the brand’s ever-growing popularity, keeping up with orders can become overwhelming.
However, he recognizes that the energy he’s exerting will ultimately help him, and the Fearless Boyz reach their goals.
Sta realized this as well. Back in March, he left the Bronx Community College to further pursue his passion for clothing.
With the newfound free time, he’s using it to help Mike cook up new ideas for the brand, and create attire for himself.
Don’t be surprised when you see Fearless Boyz being worn across New York City. This duo is working diligently each day to make that happen.
During our three-hour interview, Sta explained that the reason he became Mike’s brand ambassador is because of the vision he saw for the line.
See, Sta carries himself like a prophet. He’s quick to notice something before anyone else, and he always voices his opinion.
He sensed the potential of the Fearless Boyz, & wanted to be a part of the journey.
And although it is recognized as a clothing line on the rise, this brand represents a lifestyle for Mike & Sta.
In their own definition, to be a “Fearless Boy” is to be weird, and do what you believe is cool, contrary to how the majority thinks.
As a result, the duo lives life freely, and without any fear.
Ultimately, Mike wants his legacy to be defined as being one of the most influential, and well-dressed people on the planet.
His goal is to put the Fearless Boyz on the mainstream, and when his name is firmly entrenched in the clothing industry, he’ll return to Soundview and give back to the residents of his neighborhood, who think highly of him.
For Sta, he plans on continuing his upward ascent. He’s not sure of what the future will hold but says that time will dictate what his legacy becomes.
However, he guarantees that his denim brand will be one of the most sought out brands in the world.
They see their hard work resulting in a lavish lifestyle, filled with private jets, vacations, and lots of pampering.
With that being said, begin buying stock in the Fearless Boyz.
The year 2020 represents the beginning of a new era within the underground clothing industry, which prominently features Mike & Sta.
I could sense that hunger they have to destroy the competitors in there path.
After meeting with them, I left the interview with nothing but faith that the duo will surpass the marks that they’ve set out to reach.
Soon, all of New York City will rep “Fearless” across their body.
But in the meantime, from the words of Mike, get prepared for some real “weird shit.”
If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!