As far as cultural currency in the Black community is concerned, cool ranks highly. We hold on to that shit like big bills in our pocket. It’s for that reason that I think that we are constantly the most boring attendees annually at the Met Gala. Last night at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s marquee event, Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Rock, Trevor Noah, and others looked great! But more-so like they were entering a really nice fashion dinner than what was essentially a costume party celebrating the museum’s new exhibit around Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp.’”
They looked chic, suave, and—sadly, safe. Safe from teasing. As I played armchair fashion critic, I joked on Twitter last night that it looked like most of the Black straight men were dressed like maybe they wanted to be a bit more eccentric but stopped way short it, fearing they’d earn the ire of magazine editors’ Worst Dressed recaps on Tuesday morning. Or worse: Getting roasted in that viscous (albeit sometimes hilarious) way our culture does in the barber shop, on radio shows, on Bossip, or in Instagram comments is scary in the most trivial way.
On the pink carpet, Jordan rocked a dope satin and sequin tuxedo. He was asked about his look by E! Online and said that he wanted to find something that was “masculine, but [didn’t] run away from the theme.” Michael found that balance. Good for him. You can’t tease him for looking “weird,” though he won’t be praised for going wild either. Jordan was dapper, not camp.
That’s like coming to a Halloween party dressed as a football player. Sure, you wore a costume. But even if the jersey shimmers, that’s not the dude whose outfit will be remembered weeks from now. So I’m showing love to the handful of brothers who came to show out, not just show up. Most notably Billy Porter (above), the Pose actor who’s been bodying red carpets all year and Native Son and Moonlight star Ashton Sanders wearing that throwback silky wig and Telfar ‘fit.
Shout out to Odell Beckham Jr. for coming through with his arms and legs out in the Thom Browne kilt. Even French Montana, who repped his Moroccan culture, brought a little something different.
As I said last night:
Peace to all the dudes out there who make a little noise. That’s cooler than “cool.”