We had the good fortune of connecting with Malik Norris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Malik, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Hey, my name is Malik J. Norris, more affectionately known as, Juice and I’m from Port Arthur, Texas. Before I really start, I’d like to say it’s true you are a product of your environment. The caveat to that statement is, “how will you use it and transition through life”. I love my parents as both of them instilled a confidence in me that matches no other as well as other principles that have brought me here to where I am today. So, to tell the short story, growing up I was an only child which I can honestly say made me very independent. As a kid in a small-town playing sports was all I really had. Sports taught me patience, hard work, dedication, and all of the other cliches you can think of. But ultimately it has always made me strive to be the best in anything I do. It was almost to a fault as, I hate losing. Crazy thing now is that I don’t even believe in losing but I do believe in learning. Refining my mind to believe in such a concept to some may seem ludicrous, but I challenge you to try it. Now to transition into art and design. I’ve always love to create things and build robots as a kid, so I feel as if I’ve always had a creative mind. Ironically though I couldn’t draw so I thought I could never be an artist or a designer. As a kid I always wanted to make clothes. When I was just 9 years old, I began to play tennis which took a lot of traveling. So, to past the time I would always just stare out the window. The flat terrain of Southeast Texas is so vast filled with oddly placed miniature forest to fields of cattle to the looming refinery towers to bustling images of city life, but every time we passed any of these areas, I saw pictures or paintings. My dad would also let me dress myself for my tournaments and just on a regular day. He always told me these lines that I remember to this day. Odis Norris said to me, “Malik never let any man or woman tell what you can and can’t do.” He also told me, “Be confident in how you look, because you look good and when you look good, you’ll do good.” Fast forward to years later I remember all of these lessons and the simple principles of my upbringing. I remember wanting to jump into design and fashion and as clear in my mind someone told me I could never do it. I took it as a challenge to be the one of the best creatives ever. Hopefully, I can keep working toward that future and I won’t stop until it happens.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’d have to say my art, designs, and creative taste are always and forever changing. Although, even with that being said many have expressed at its root my creations are urban but luxurious. I think that’s what makes the most excited. I love to hear other people’s takes on how my pieces make them feel. My most proud pieces to this day are a Vintage Big Letter Sweater, our new pattern that’s releasing soon, and some highly anticipated revamped classics the team and I have yet to release. Although, you should see them come to life around late Summer to prepare for our Fall Season. Now as far as, how I got to where I am professionally is a hard question. I honestly can say I’ve set a goal long time ago and that goal has brought me to places I could’ve never imagined. I will say time, maturing, and being able to accept criticism more without too much emotion has truly helped. And none of it has been easy in the slightest. Just going back to accepting some of the criticism was tough in the beginning as I’m naturally a passionate person about my art and designs. They all have a meaning to me which may be even deeper than the research and time I’ve put into it. But with time and maturing I’ve gathered a perspective that I can accept other’s opinions to maybe changing a thing or two to make it better or fit a theme, while not necessarily compromising my intended vision. As far as what do I want the world to know about Exclusively HBCU it’s made by HBCU alum for HBCU students, alumni, and supporters. Exclusively HBCU is a ready to wear lifestyle brand merging the world of luxury with a hint of a 90’s aesthetic to your HBCU apparel. EH is also a subscription box service dedicated to serve and give back to all 101 HBCUs. We not only want you to find something you like, but also know when you buy a piece a portion of your purchase is being donated to your HBCU of choice or a scholarship to a lucky student.
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.
If I had to say we had a week’s worth of events that’s hard I’m so much of a go with the flow type of guy. So, Monday through Thursday would be pretty much filled with random day parties, poetry nights, afterwork socials, and whatever comes to mind that day. But from Friday to Sunday, it’s almost a science. Friday, we have to go to Grooves for Happy Hour, then we have to head to the Address for a short period of time, and finally spend the night club hopping. Saturday, we need to go shopping in the morning at the Galleria, possibly hit a Prospect, bar hop in Midtown, and finish the night at a hookah spot. Sunday, we have to go to brunch either at Seaside, Phil & Derek’s, or head to The Turkey Leg Hut and finish the day off at the Address.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to first and foremost shoutout to God for blessing me with the people that are in my life. Big shoutout to my parents Odis & Marilyn Norris for being here and supporting me in my dreams and aspirations. I want to shout out to Derreka Shelton & Danielle Simmons for calling me back in 2019 to restart Exclusively HBCU. Also, I’d want to thank them for letting me showcase not only my vision of the brand but allowing me to grow within the space and the business. You guys have honestly become the big sisters I never had. It’s honestly been a wild ride these past 2 years, but we’re on the cutting edge of what I believe to be something that is truly remarkable. Tremendous shoutout to my design team from Meekins, Ron, Anaya, Screw, Edwin, & Theresa as you guys have been with me since college. Wherever I go they’ve always been by my side. And last but definitely not least I want to thank my family, my brothers, and sisters! Jon, Denzel, Diego, Nikia, and Kay have always stuck with me from the highs and the lows. All of you have kept me grounded and I can never thank you all enough for the role you all have played in this story.
Instagram: @exclusivelyhbcu @onlycoldjuice
Twitter: @exclusivelyhbcu @onlycoldjuice