Thank you for being a part of our special Father’s Day 2022 issue! This month we are highlighting Men’s fashion, entrepreneurship, fitness, and fatherhood.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
My name is Ernest Akres IV. Born and raised in Prince George’s County Maryland. I started with humble beginnings, raised by some of the strongest women on earth. Influenced by my uncles, grandfather, and all the people in my community that helped shape me into the man you see before you today. I am a father, a friend, and a son before all else and I have finally hit the pinnacle of my life where I have figured out who I am and what I want to contribute to the world.
Can you describe yourself in six words?
Man, Father, Friend, Caring, Passionate and Dedicated.
What motivates you?
My children and my granddaughter motivate me. Knowing that one day everything I have tried to do it for the betterment of their lives and future generations. I didn’t have that growing up, I was taught to work hard for someone else and finally realized I can do this for myself and leave a legacy for my family.
When did you realize entrepreneurship was for you?
I realized entrepreneurship was for me before I came home. I knew working for someone else would not likely be feasible considering my past. I wanted something I could call my own and not worry about being turned away based on my past. I am human and by that, I mean flawed. I had to learn some lessons the hard way. I took my lumps and realized that in everything I have ever done, I have always made a way to work for myself and do things my way. It’s very hard for men re-entering society to get a fair shot so I created my own. My methods and tactics may not have always been the most reasonable, but I realized that it’s always been in me.
How important is a support system when building a brand?
The support system is everything. Without my team I am nothing. By team I mean my family, friends, and community. They support me even when I cannot always see it. They want the best for me even when I am hard on myself. My children want to see me succeed and that alone drives me more than anything. The input from those around me to get my business off the ground and running has made the transition back into society seamless. They help promote my endeavors without me even asking and for that, I can never repay them. They teach me and help me bounce ideas off them. The support alone is immeasurable.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Men of color?
The biggest misconception would be that we are lazy, uneducated, and unmotivated. I am none of those things. I am up every day before the sun rises working on building myself mentally and physically and pushing those around me to do the same. The stigma is that black men CAN’T but we absolutely CAN! My brothers support me, and I support them. We want the best for each other and hold each other accountable to make sure we all succeed.
What is your favorite thing about being a Father?
My favorite thing about being a father is just that, being a father! I am active in my kids’ lives. The smile on their faces is everything to me especially because it’s like looking at myself. Remembering what I was like at their age and relating to where they are is what keeps me focused. I remember when I was their age and thought I had it all figured out. I was wrong of course but now I know how to help them navigate through life. Sure, they stress me out and give me a few grey hairs, but that’s part of the journey and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. They are the fuel behind my fire.
As a black man in today’s society, what advice can you provide for a young male struggling with acceptance and the temptations of life that could lead them in the wrong direction?
I would tell them I can relate to how tough it is and how much influence social media has on how they view life. It has its positives for promotion and marketing of course. However, it also has its pitfalls for making comparisons and feeling like you must have a certain car, house, or piece of jewelry to consider yourself accomplished. I just want them all to know that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be a positive influence and care about your family and community. That it doesn’t make you less of a man but instead more of one. I know the world thinks men mature later in life and that may be true. However, learn from my mistakes and want to be better than those before you. Understand that you can do anything you want if you have a vision. It sounds cliché but anything really is possible. Surround yourself with a good team of people who care about the long-term future and not the short-term pleasures because it will eventually fade and so will those kinds of people. Build your solid foundation now and learn to build with people who want to make sure your kids’ grandkids want for nothing.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be one of inspiration. Understand that it’s not my name I want to be remembered for but the impact I had on others. I want each person I encounter, whether in person or on a platform, to gain something from my experiences that they can apply to better their lives. Not just financial gains or tangible items but influence, that’s what I think carries the most weight. What someone can gain from an encounter with me on any level outweighs more than anything I could ever provide financially.
It was a pleasure interviewing you. How can our readers connect with you?
Everyone can connect with me on Instagram @ernestakers4th
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