We're setting July on fire by highlighting and showing love to the men of color (MOC) that we see grinding while also showing women love. First up we have Elijah, get to know him below!

Name: Elijah Horton 

Age you feel: I’m 24 and I think I feel exactly that

Tell us about your hustle: I’m an Editor at the New Station out here in Orlando, and I do photography on my spare time

Tell us where you grew up: I originally grew up in Long Island, New York. Specifically back and forth between Brentwood and West Babylon

What's your families cultultural background : All of my family is from NY, but my mother is Dominican and Puerto Rican and my father is Cuban and African American 

We’re celebrating men of color all of July! What’s your favorite thing about being a man of color? 

My favorite thing about being a man of color is being self aware on how it plays an important part in my field. It feels good to know that I am successful in a space where there a lot of men of color that aren't easily prospering. 

What’s a misconception or stereotype you feel people attach to you that you’d like to see vanish? 

A misconception or stereotype that I feel like is attached to men of color, specifically Black men, is that we are emotionless or cold. The Black men that I grew up around are very emotional humans. There’s nothing wrong with being emotional, as long as you’re not getting beside yourself. 

To the young fellas coming up behind you, share a piece of wisdom nobody told you growing up:

Growing up I wasn’t sure what I would pursue for a career. Now, I feel like the internet allows you to figure out what you want to do earlier in life, so my advice would be to start exploring early. What I’ve learned since graduating college is that the more experience you get, the further you go. If you want to be a photographer, videographer, or whatever else you have in mind - it’s never too early to start building your portfolio. 

What’s something a woman in your life has taught you that has made you better? 

I have been blessed to be around so many beautiful and inspiring women my entire life. All of the women in my family have shown me and taught me how much having unconditional love and support can affect you. They taught me how to love and support the people that matter to you the most. 

Tell us more about your hustle, what inspires and drives you? 

To be honest, what inspires me and drives me the most with my photography is knowing how much better I could be. I’m aware of my ability to be a great photographer, and it excites me every day to want to look back at my current portfolio years from now and see how far I’ve come as a creative. 

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be pursuing? 

If I wasn’t pursuing the visual arts, I’m not sure what I would be doing! I feel like everyone has those “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to be a lawyer” moments as a kid, but as a grew older I realized what excites me is movies and photography, that's what I love.

The world feels really shaky right now, how do you manage to ground yourself and not fall into a state of constant anger? 

As hard as it is to not feel engulfed by the overwhelming negativity surrounding us in the world, I always make sure I find time to do the things I love and make sure that all of this negativity doesn’t fully take over me. Wether it be calling a family member, playing video games with my friends, or watching a heart-felt movie. You have to find a way to escape from reality, for even just a little while. 

Women talk a lot about self-care, do you have any routines or things you practice? 

Recent years have taught me how important certain self-care routines are. As simple as it sounds, getting a fresh haircut is always a good self-care routine! All of my men out there know how good the 48 hours that follow a fresh haircut feel. I would say that, and cleaning my room or my car. Feeling clean and having your surroundings represent that are super important to me. 

What makes you feel vulnerable? 

Love makes me feel vulnerable. I’ve always been someone that loves deeply. Wether it be platonic or romantic relationships, I always love very deeply - and that can be a gift and a curse. Sometimes people don’t deserve the love I have to give. I am slowly learning who deserves my love and who doesn’t. 

Share something that moved you to tears: 

A few months ago I went to the local park to force myself to take pictures. I had been recently feeling super stagnant with my photography journey, so I forced myself to go take pictures of random things. People, street signs, art. Just whatever I could take pictures of to get my energy going. I came across a man that was sitting by himself enjoying the sunset. I asked him if I could snap a few pictures of him and he agreed. After I took the pictures, he asked if he could see them, which led to an hour long conversation about everything in life. We talked about photography, religion, relationships, people, and all things in between. The conversations we had were so needed that it made me emotional. It felt like that man was put in my life at that moment to tell me the things I needed to hear. 

What makes you feel joy?

Making other people happy makes me feel joy. It always warms my heart to know that I am in someone’s life and I make them feel special. 

Which woman(en) do you love to follow on social? 

I love following creatives on social media. I’ve always admitted that women are some of the most creative people on this planet. Especially women of color. It’s absolutely inspiring to see some of the things that women of color can create. 

Theme song to your life:

I don’t known if there’s one specific song that is the theme song to my entire life. I feel like with all things changing in my life, the music that defines me also changes. I will say that the song that I resonate with the most right now might be “Dog Years” by Maggie Rogers, OR,  maybe “In My Feelings” by Drake. Shout out to Drake, just because. 

If you could only own one book, which would it be and why?

It would have to be Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I am self-identified Harry Potter nerd, and that book is so damn incredible. It’s long enough where it would take me a little while to re-read it, and it ends everything so perfectly in that universe. I would also like to now take the time to say that it’s a crime what the movie did to the fight scene between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix. The real ones know what’s up. 

What you want your life legacy to be:

That I was an all around beautiful person. If I don’t get where I want to be with my photography or videography, I want people to know how loving I was. I want my legacy to be that I was a light in a time when people around my felt like they were in darkness. 

Shameless plug moment:

Follow me on Instagram @elijahhortonmedia. I’d also like to announce that I’ll be starting up my movie review YouTube channel this summer, so follow me on twitter for updates on that @elijahhorton94. Come talk with me about movies and music. 

Finish this sentence, the women in my life are____:

Everything. They are my inspiration, they are the standard for love, my source of happiness, and my understanding of hard work. 

all images curtesy of Elijah!