Curtis Taylor, Jr.
With his new short film, What Flying Feels Like, based on the book Black Boy Fly by photographer and co-director Joshua Renfroe, the Los Angeles member offers a new representation of Black masculinity and joy
By Jess Kelham-Hohler Portrait by Joe Cruz Images courtesy of Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Enter Curtis Taylor, Jr., photographer Joshua Renfroe and What Flying Feels Like, an experimental short film co-directed by the duo that’s based on Renfroe’s book, Black Boy Fly. Released last year, the book compiled visuals that showcased the multi-layered Black male experience, including fatherhood, brotherhood, music, and police brutality. As he continued to work on this project, Renfroe reached out to Taylor, Jr. and together the pair came up with the idea for the short film. From the beginning, they were united in knowing that this work would be a love letter to Black masculinity, celebrating the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin.
‘This is a story that luminates 20 Black men from all over the United States. We really thought about men we’d seen on the internet who were doing profound things within their area. By profound, I mean just really excited about the life they lead, not necessarily in the sense of their talents within a trade, but just who they are as people.’
'One of the things that me and Josh say is that What Flying Feels Like has definitely made us better men, and ultimately better brothers for the world'
Currently in post-production, the film merges abstraction with realism, to put the emphasis on how the featured Black men perform in this world, rather than having them perform for film.
‘To imagine is a luxury,’ explains Taylor, Jr. ‘As a Black body, to even have the opportunity to mature, to experience adulthood, it is magical, it is light, and it is not a fixed thing. This film lets us be OK with the fact that we’re always growing and changing.’
With the release quickly approaching, Taylor, Jr. and Renfroe are eager for the world to see the final result.
‘We can never begin to thank these men for what they have made us, this project for what it has made us. One of the things that me and Josh say is that What Flying Feels Like has definitely made us better men, and ultimately better brothers for the world.’