Nana Kwame, 37
Goodbye #prisonbae, hello #africanbae! Brooklynite Nana Kwame is the latest eye candy sensation sweeping through social media. Last week, he posted an image of himself walking through New York adorned in traditional Ghanaian dress. “This is how I "pull up" and "stunt" in the city .Lol. #Entamagameissick” read Kwame’s caption.
The reaction to “the brownie with the biceps in the African print clothes” (as one friend who put Kwame on my radar described) was swift and had women swooning across the Internet.
“I’d prepare spice goat for him two times a day,” one viewer of the image commented.
From another: “That’s that real Coming to America”.
In under 24 hours, Kwame found his Facebook Inbox packed with private messages from appreciative women and his phone overflowed with texts from friends who were sending screen shots of one of the may unexpected places his picture had popped up.
ESSENCE tracked down the very single, Jamaican-born Brother flooding your social media feeds to find out who he is, the story behind this drool-worthy picture and if the man lives up to the hype of the image (he does!)
ESSENCE: What’s the backstory of this picture? Where are you going?
My fraternity brother and I did a similar photoshoot about 4 years ago on my rooftop in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn. I was wearing a similar entama, but with different colors. I always loved the energy from that shoot. Last fall, I was about to start up my new company, Purple Moss Paradise, Inc. and I needed some promotional photos. Talked to my man, Joe Casmir, and I said, “it’s about time that we did part 2”. We went down to the meatpacking district and he said, let’s walk down the street and take pictures and see what happens”. The goal was to depict an African king living in an urban jungle. It doesn’t get more “urban jungle” than the middle of the Meatpacking District in Manhattan.
ESSENCE: What was the reaction from the people around you?
That area is mainly a concentration of Europeans. The first thing I picked up was a lot of fear from white males. They were very defensive and tight faced. The white women were open. I could feel the attraction. Like I said, there aren’t a lot of Black people around there, but a guy from Ghana was driving by and he puled over in his truck to give me dap and compliment me on maintaining the culture.
ESSENCE: Why did you wait so long to share the picture?
I don’t know really. It was random. I realized I hadn’t posted a picture of myself on my Facebook wall in ages. I was like, I need to post a picture. I went into my archives and saw the picture that Joe Casmir did. It was an instant decision.
ESSENCE: What has the reaction been since you uploaded the picture? Just on your personal Facebook page, you have 3k shares.
You might be able to tell me better. I’ve been in a vacuum that last couple days in terms of the reaction. What I’ve been seeing when I do get online is a lot of beautiful love and energy coming back from the Sisters saying that they appreciate that I’m representing African masculinity. My friends have been sending me screenshots of African-centered Instagram pages, where my picture has 4 thousand or 5 thousand likes. It’s really beautiful to see people have that kind of reaction and embracing themselves though me.
ESSENCE: What’s the craziest reaction so far?
Probably the naked pictures in my inbox. I can’t think if anything else crazy. I’ve been in a vacuum.
ESSENCE: What have you been doing while everyone is going crazy of your picture? You’re not checking your shares or your likes?
I check in every now and then but the last few days, I’ve been working really hard. I have a full-time job as a nurse, but I also have my own business, Purple Moss Paradise, Inc., and I just got my shipment in, a fresh batch of purple moss. I also have some fresh herbs I just brought in from Maroon Town and I had to go through them and make sure they are packaged properly. I see the love, I appreciate it, but I have to focus and make sure I’m staying level. I’m not a person that’s about hype and getting caught up. I love to stay humble and grounded.
ESSENCE: That should mean you’re easily approachable. What is the best way to get your attention if you’re out and about and a woman spots you?
Be yourself. I like natural women, a woman who knows herself. She’s confident; she’s African centered. She’s about her community and family. It’s all energy that gets transmitted in a single moment when you encounter somebody. If you’re that woman, you’ll get my attention.
Photography: Joe Casimir
Painting by: Natalie Adzua Barnes