When it comes to his style choices, Lakeith Stanfield doesn’t take himself too seriously — or care what anyone else thinks.
The Get Out and Atlanta star was at the center of a viral moment during the BET Awards in June, when he hit the red carpet wearing a voluminous wig featuring heavy bangs and pigtails. In a new interview with Carine Roitfeld’s CR Men magazine, the rising actor is opening up about the experience and why he’s unfazed by anyone who labels him “weird.”
“I think the BET Awards is a funny place to have a wig on,” he told the magazine. “I feel like a lot of the time, the black community or black groups of people put a lot of investment into the exterior and how we look. We touch on this in Atlanta: Who’s go the best shoes? I see it flipped on its head.”
He adds: “Those things aren’t very important and it isn’t important whether or not you view me as somebody you should take seriously. Very few people on the carpet took me seriously because I had a big ol’ wig and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. Maybe if we stop taking ourselves so seriously we can begin to express ourselves in a a wider way.”
Stanfield says he remains focused on expressing himself, especially when people feel the need to stifle his creativity.
“It [being called weird] implies that there is such thing as being normal and that I’m deviating from it. I just think we haven’t seen enough black men who express themselves in a certain way. I’m not special, I just express myself. I think if more people did that, we would see how beautiful we all can be.”
The actor is gearing up for a busy year ahead, adding a number of new roles to his repertoire. And he feels hopeful about the growing diversity in Hollywood.
“I situate myself in projects that may go one way or the other, a lot of the time. I’m drawn to things that challenge me or that can challenge an audience,” Stanfield says. “Also, there is an increasing space for black voices to explore many caveats and aspects of what it means to be black, and that’s exciting to me. So when something like that springs up, like [the idea of putting on] a white voice in Sorry to Bother You, that’s something we’ve been talking about forever, but we’ve never really had a platform the say it!”
And despite his new found success, the actor remains humbled by his reception into the industry and hopes to continue explore opportunities outside of his wheelhouse.
“Things have opened up for me quite a bit. There are some interesting things I’m thinking about moving forward with that I’m very excited about, projects that would be very, very challenging for me,” he says. “But that’s the thing I want to do is challenge myself. If I crash and burn, I want everyone to still believe in me, and think I’ve got something left. There are a lot of different perspectives now. I have a movie called Someone Great with Gina Rodriguez that’s coming out. It’s a romantic comedy but a beautiful take and a unique perspective. The things I’m diving into now, which I wish I could talk about, are so crazy. It’s getting much, much better.”
CR Fashion Book’s CR Men Issue 7 hits stands September 13, 2018.