Eye Candy: Men that March to Their Own Beat

Eye Candy: Men that March to Their Own Beat
ESSENCE.COM Nov, 19, 2009

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What won’t Andre Benjamin wear? We’ve seen the Atlanta-rapper sport everything from your grandmama’s turban to platinum wigs, overalls, a blow-out that would make a good beautician proud, and Oompa Loompa color-combos. We always wondered, “what the heck is he wearing?” but that was quickly followed, “and how can he still be fine wearing it?”

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Between the nipple ring and the uh…other places he has pierced (think lower…no, lower…stop), boho rocker turned actor Lenny Kravitz leaves no doubt that he likes to experiment…on the guitar, on the microphone, and (hopefully) in the bedroom.

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Even without his signature unkempt ‘fro, Maxwell, is more than just your average soul crooner. From his ethereal falsetto to his perfectly tailored suits to his throwback sound—heavy with bass, funk, and soul—he’ll always stand out from his competition.

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Producer, songwriter and crooner Ryan Leslie is an unlikely multi-platform music mogul with a 1600 SAT score and a Harvard degree, which he earned at age 19. He’s navigating new terrain in the music business and literally making the unique beats he marches too.

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His untamed hair and ever-present bowtie have become the signature style for NFL Linebacker Dhani Jones. Off-season, this 2007 Essence Do Right Man can also be found trekking around the world for Dhani Tackles the Globe, a Travel Channel series where he learns how to play international sports that are unknown to most Americans.

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Controversy might as well be his middle name. In his NFL career, Wide Receiver Terrell Owens has pulled a Sharpie from his sock, danced on the opposing team’s logo after scoring, engaged in countless battles with his teammates (and a few coaches too), and bawled at a press conference. (That’s the short list.) Despite his perfect chocolate hue and flawless smile, he was getting the side-eye from us with all those antics… until his Vh1 series The T.O. Show where we saw his softer side. He— and those washboard abs—are now back in our good graces.

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Kanye West faced-off with 50 Cent (and won), made the suburbs cool in hip-hop again and rapped about Jesus on the radio. This uh… opinionated MC has a history of speaking his mind (Taylor Swift? George Bush) and his, uh…confidence is the stuff of legend. But there’s no denying West’s unlimited creative genius—from his distinctive sped up soul beats to his love of auto-tune to his hair (remember the mullet?) to his personal style.

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Diddy’s ex-assistant was once known as The Guy Holding His Umbrella, but this Morehouse-grad and undeniable cutie is best recognized these days as dapper man about town with a well-tailored and timeless style. On his Vh1 show From Gs to Gents, he helped those with inferior fashion sense step up to his level. He also wrote a book about the same topic, ‘Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence and Style to Get Ahead.’

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Three-time Grammy Award winning producer Pharrell Williams is as known for his beats and falsetto as he is for his unique personal style. For years, you couldn’t catch this baby-faced artistic genius at a casual event without his signature trucker hat and or throwing up the Vulcan salute to signify his label name, Star Trak. He was also known for his array of tattoos, most of which he had removed earlier this year.

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NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (more on the name in a sec) is insanely fine…but for awhile, we didn’t know as he’d grown his hair out into mohawk, dyed it blond, and sported a grill that made it nearly impossible to see all the chocolate-y goodness lurking underneath the excess. These days, he looks like a clean-cut guy, but just before the 2008 season he legally changed his last name from Johnson to “Ochocinco” to reflect his football jersey number, 85. He’s as equally good at making us go “Huh?” as he is on the field.

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This mixed bag of bachelors might be found rocking untamed ‘afros and even blond mohawks. You won’t be surprised to catch them in bowties, mismatched patterns and color combos, or even heels ( see Prince, pictured left). Join ESSENCE.com in our ode to ten captivating Brothers who march to the beat of their own drum and keep us tuned in to see just what they’ll do next.