This is Bones –
A multi-hyphenate creative who refuses to call himself just one “thing” and a man who naturally insists on baring his soul. Maybe he knows he’s doing it. Maybe he doesn’t. I don’t ask him about that because I don’t have to. Everything I do ask, he answers immediately, honestly, openly… Wide eyes, raging in translucent ferocity, radiating his truth in every word and gesture.
The living room is dim. Rays of rose gold light fall through a sliver of empty space by the corner window, almost fully buried in a vivid heap of bright green plants. A cat lays peacefully on the couch, propping it’s body up on the only cushion catching the last of Sunday’s sun. It’s early Spring in Brooklyn, NY at a neighborhood infamous for bordering Queens, with a history of controversy in creating this bridge between worlds (*which makes perfect sense as the setting for our controversial paradox of a character, played by Bones). His two year old daughter toddles in, smiling his same smile; clever, mischievous, wildly unpredictable but clearly full of deep empathy, kindness and the innate desire to make you smile, too.
Bones and I sit together, talking the way you do when no one’s listening – except he knows I’m recording everything. But he doesn’t care. He’s just himself. On and off the mic, free-styling in pure authentic rapture of the present moment. He has the look and voice of someone who has lived through a lot of life, challenges, tests, always seeking the high road. By the way we’re talking, I can bet he’s still probably still going through a lot now. But he only ever brings that up to segway into his epiphanies, ambitions and visions for his life.
He doesn’t dwell on victimhood or vanity for a moment, because he knows what he needs: to focus on the blessing in every opportunity available to him and he does this with a loving vengeance. Toward any savage fear that tries to stake a claim in him, he laughs, bares down and digs in. He is an electric current of energy, crystallizing childhood dreams into a life that he hopes can inspire his child –
This is Bones.
BONES: I feel like by limiting myself to just one thing and saying “I just do this” – I’m limiting myself to so many possibilities as far as what could be…”
BONES: My father’s from Panama, my mother’s from Trinidad. There’s so much culture just between the two of them. And then my grandmother used to be a Black Panther… So I’m the person that won’t just look at the politics of the times, I also look at the Style. From everything in culture. And from everything that’s going on. Just me understanding my own culture, made me want to find parts of it in others. And it’s definitely there. You know what I mean… ?
If I said I was African, I would feel like a fake ass African because I’ve never been to Africa. But in the same sense, I love the culture so much and I see the power in it. There’s so much of it in everything.
BONES: Honestly, I would say I started with what I didn’t have…. I felt like I was much more than that and my wardrobe wasn’t expressing who I am, really. So I thought: ‘Why should I just wear a white T-shirt if that’s all I can afford. Maybe I could make something… What could I make?’
WGN: How did you go approach your first design creations?
BONES: Some DIY techniques. But honestly, just mistakes! Do you want to see a mistake that I have? I’m gonna show you all my mistakes… Like, this is an old hoodie I did not want to throw away, so I started distressing it in different ways… Everything on this jacket has a story. This patch here – have you heard of the movie The Warriors? This patch is from one of the lead actors. He gave me this patch, because we were there talking and we were just kicking knowledge with each other and he took heat to the gravity of my words. It wasn’t any deep political ish, you know, we were just talking about Style and like… the importance of it when you walk out your house.
…It’s all about how you carry it and present yourself. People will address you how you are dressed.
WGN: OK, last two questions! Why the name Bones?
BONES: When I was younger, Jack Skeleton was my favorite character. And as I was a kid, my mom used to call me skin and bones. So, the name just stuck.
WGN: And whose influence has changed your life?
BONES: My grandma was the one who actually inspired me to mix cultures on my clothes. She also taught me a lot, she always said:
Number one, build something that they can’t take. And she also said, if you want to get something done, remember it’s not the brute who wins the war, it’s the tactician. Power is limited. But knowledge is infinite.
Follow Bones on Instagram: @bonesxmvlone