We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony LaFleur II and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I believe obstacles are inevitable to come our way in life. However, with unmerited grace and favor from God’s almighty hand, why would you give up? There have been times when I wanted to give it all up; I felt completely overwhelmed with all of the things I’ve let become an issue. And — that’s because I (emphasis on the “I”) let it become an issue. It takes a lot of reflection, humility, talks with God, and meditations to notice the amount of stress we place on our own self. We’re blessed with a life that has unlimited possibilities. Giving up is just not a choice.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always had a camera in my hand since I moved to Houston in ’07. But it took “She” -2011, for me to see there’s a chance to experiment with visuals with the camera. And I did; I took the chance to see how creating myself, floating in a picture with legs crossed as Frank Ocean while rocking a conical hat, would look and most importantly FEEL. Overall, I’d give Odd Future their flowers for planting the seed of my obsessiveness with creativity. Now where boundaries are breaking between creativity and artistry, my artistic practice is in lots of different mediums, but mostly through photography.
Time in college made me realize that creating with a camera can bring in a good income! It not only help me not be so dependent on my parents but helped lead me to hustle. I began shooting graduation portraits on different campuses, portraits of friends, connected with tons of people and got the chance to be in rooms I never thought I would have been in. It was just 3 years ago I decided I wanted to create to be a better service for myself and others. It was almost like I’d let others squeeze out the impurities, just enough for me to find that pure spark I can now hold onto.
Realizing my potential and going for it is a challenge I’m glad I’m learning to overcome. It takes the daily reflections, constant recognition of self (spirit or soul), space, and community, and the re-alignments to balance out the heart and mind coherence which helps us brace against any obstacle.
I want to keep grabbing inspiration and truth from what’s created. There’s so much inspiration to grasp when you realize what’s created is good, and nothing less. My understanding of that is what I’d say I’m most proud of right now. But fasho, seeing my family and friends’ wins is a part of my happiness as well. The story I want to create is that anyone can have a phenomenal story — it just takes the realization of the power we have to make it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Sunday – Church, then, eat at home, friends’ house, or somewhere BLACK owned. It’s the day to kick it with the village, with good calm vibes. Monday – Gym, and handling our business! This day is to set the tone for the week.
Tuesday – Gym, and Taco Tuesday with drinks made by me.
Wednesday – Mid-Week Reset. Black Swan Yoga, followed by a healthy meal and hanging out.
Thursday – Coffee shop at Agora, Wild, or Toute Suite to name a few. Probably visit MFAH, too since it’s free on Thursdays. Not out for a long time, but a good time to gather some inspo real quick.
Friday – Something slight for the night. I like to be vigilant but not overly stressed with being “outside”. It can be an intimate time with friends such as dinner downtown or a lounge somewhere in 3rd Ward or Midtown will do it. Lost and Found, Ador, Thirteen, 5151, Bar 5015.. nothing specific. Just no clubs.
Saturday – This day is generally the UP IN THE AIR kind of day. Events to attend, pop-ups, installations to check out, or friends/family to link up with. Brunch typically happens mid-day and if you’re from Houston, that lasts until 7 pm.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to God, 1st and foremost. Without Him, I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you guys. I have to thank my Mom, Dad, step-parents, Jaylen, Dez, Kiara, and Reagan for being the most amazing family. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better! I HAVE to give thanks to those that saw me at both my highest and lowest points thus far and still accepted me for who I am. That’s love, and it genuinely nourishes my spirit. I thank the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. I thank everyone that has protected my name when I’m not in the room. Lastly, I’d like to thank the omens – those hidden secrets and gems only you can catch. If you know, you know.