Eric K. Thomas, Founder The Quintessential Gentleman — thecnnekt
Eric Thomas is the Editor-in-Chief of The Quintessential Gentleman Magazine. Similar to thecnnekt, TQG is a media outlet dedicated to shining light on Voices that need to be heard regarding career, personal experiences, art, music and so much more.
However, Eric ensures that his platform stands out by focusing on men of color and their achievements, specifically ones that advance the culture and shed positive light for others to follow.
While Eric believes in sharing other’s narratives, we are here to share his.
Eric, can you explain your “ah-ha” moment that started The Quintessential Gentleman?
I started the idea for The Quintessential Gentleman at the end of 2015. This was a time where black men were being killed in the streets by white men Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Alton Sterling. That’s all I heard in the news and all I heard in the media in reference to black men were dead-beat fathers, abusers, and rich dumb celebrities.
I read somewhere that if you wanted to see change you needed to be the change you wanted to see. So I created The Quintessential Gentleman as a blog for where people who looked me and lived me could read stories of achievements that have been made by our community.
They could be inspired by these stories and could seek guidance on topics entrepreneurship, professional development, and overall – growth.
I also wanted to create a brand that represents men who the nice things in life. Luxury brands tend to not market to people of color even though we are tastemakers and trendsetters. I want The Quintessential Gentleman to also show that we nice things as well.
Your goal is to contribute to the advancements of men of color. Why do you think it’s so important for this to exist, especially right now in such a politically crazed climate?
For me, I believe it is even more important to acknowledge the advancements of men of color in this political state. The country is divided, and I feel that the only way we will come together is if we hear each others stories. We are no different than our counterparts, but our achievements, our wins, our successes are not always publicized. That is no longer the case.
The Quintessential Gentleman is here to not only display the progression men of color continue to make day-end-and-day-out, but to also guide modern-day men into modern-day gentleman.
Your main contributor, Ericka Bates, is a woman. Do you think her voice brings something unique to the table? Have you ever received criticism on this?
Ericka contributing to our media platform has been an added bonus. Not only is her writing skills amazing, but there is feeling in her writing when she speaks on men of color. She actually reached out to us to start writing because she was interested in helping to change the narrative and stigma of men of color in our society.
We haven’t received criticism on her writing about stories that have to deal with black men. Our content is created to be read by men of color and her thoughts and questioning brings a different perspective to her interviews and stories. All while still being interesting to our readers.
Speaking of, do you require your features or contributors to have certain views? (Ex: they have to believe in gender equality.) Do you ever deny a feature their ethos not matching TQG?
We don’t require our features or contributors to have certain views. The only requirements are that it must resonate with our target audience and it cannot be negative.
There are enough places on television, social media, and online to find negative news or reports.
We are only interested in the positive achievements, projects, and stories of men of color, and that is the void in the market.
Would you be open to featuring a transgender (female to male) on your site? What about them, non-gender/non-binary persons?
I would be open to featuring a trans-man on our site. We feature men of color, so if you identify as a man then I would be interested in featuring you. Our target audience is men of color. Regardless of your sexual preference – this content is for you.
As a leader in your community, what is your best piece of advice to those looking to become leaders themselves?
Be inquisitive. Everyone close to me knows that I speak to everyone from the doorman to the CEO and I’m always asking questions. I feel that everyone has a different perspective and your perspective is your environment and your experiences. If you want to be a leader in your community, you need to learn more from people not always books.
I’ve started this thing where I ask people on my social media if they would be interested in meeting up for coffee. Once a week, 10-15 minutes just meeting new people. Having conversations with them. Learning more about what they do. Maybe there is some synergy between what we are both doing or maybe there is some way that I can help.
It’s great to just put yourself out there!
What’s next for you, Eric?
I want to continue to bring awareness to The Quintessential Gentleman. I want to develop community service initiatives, conferences, workshops, and events for men of color. I always say my inspiration for building this community of men of color is Black women.
Black women have found a way to come together and help each other. You see it everywhere. They have conferences, workshops, meetups, support organizations, etc. But you don’t see that as often for men of color.
The Quintessential Gentleman will fill that void!
You can find Eric on social media at @theqgentleman on instagram.
Interviewed by Emily