Original Post – Special Edition: Dress Up/Dress Down with Lyndell Williams [November 8, 2019]
Marcus Kent’s Closet
In the urban romance, Sweet Love–Bitter Fruit, Harlem lawyer, Marcus Kent wakes up each morning before the crack of dawn. He kisses his sleeping wife snuggled next to him and slips out of the bed, heading into his walk-in closet. The small room contains a spectrum of clothes reflecting the professional and personal activities filling his busy life.
The first thing Marcus does is slap on some sweatpants, tee shirt and hoodie before grabbing a pair of running shoes at the bottom of the wall filled with high-end sneakers. His morning run ensemble complete. He passes walls of designer business suits and ties. Everything in its place, just the way he organizes the rest of his life. Carrying his sneaks, he brushes his lips against Toni’s cheek, quietly stepping to the apartment entryway before putting them on and heading out the door.
After running through the New York City streets, Marcus returns home for a quick shower and to change into one of his tailored suits before going to work at the community center he opened and is the executive director. A muscular Black man who is well over six-feet tall, he doesn’t have the luxury of shopping at just any store. Not that he would ever do so. He puts a lot of stock and money in making sure his clothes make the right impression. He has a list of tailors in his cell phone that he uses to construct a professional appearance that shows he is all business and success.
After breakfast, he grabs his gym bag and goes to work as a community organizer. Throughout Sweet Love–Bitter Fruit, Marcus’ clothes serve as a motif for the layers of social demands on a person. His wife, family, friends, employees and community have expectations for him to be what they need. Additionally, because the clothes hang on a character impacted by some of the same stereotypes as real people in society, he has to be constantly aware of what he wears.
The realities of assumed criminality when someone like him dons a hoodie remain in the back of his mind. He is a large Black man in America. A Gianni Campagna won’t keep people from being bigoted. He encounters a lot of people who reduce him by the color of his skin, but he doesn’t let it stop his flow. Whether he is shrugging into a Thomas Pink dress shirt or playing ball with his friends in a pair of IconX Joggers, Marcus is unapologetically himself.
After a long day of fighting for social justice, Marcus returns home, slips on a pair of pajama bottoms and makes sure to prepare the next day’s attire. He likes to walk around the apartment and hold Toni in the bare minimum, one of the reasons why everybody knows not to have the nerve to stop by unannounced. At home with his wife is where he finally gets to be relaxed and vulnerable, shutting out the demands and stresses of the world. It is his peace and when he gets to decompress, making a bare chest and feet a must. Whatever he wears, Marcus Kent is the quintessential alpha, who will be strong for those around him and gentle with the woman he loves.
Check out some of Marcus’ clothing choices at the Sweet Love Bitter Fruit novel inspirations Pinterest board.