top of page

Calvin West of Calvin's Candids

“When was the last time that you asked a black man if he was okay, how he was doing…

and you actually LISTENED for his response?”

I got the pleasure to sit down and have a conversation with our neighborhood creative, Calvin West! Let me just say…you NEVER know someone until you sit down and have a genuine conversation and truly listen to where someone is coming from.

Calvin West is creative videographer, photographer, singer… pretty much a dreamer working to be legendary. He defines his work and what he does behind the camera as approaching everything with a cinematic outlook and being sure to add value to whatever project he is working on. His hope is to always make people “feel good” and remember how they felt in that moment, no matter the occasion, moment, etc.

Prior to getting down to the nitty gritty of the interview we discussed mental health and what that looks like for black men. We discussed being in a place where he had to figure out how to manage his hyper empathy, which causes him to be too in tune with other people’s emotions and how he sometimes

Meditation, setting his intentions for the day, sitting with his thoughts in order to process and regulate his emotions are all things that he’s started to do in order to take care of his Mental Wellness. He also spoke heavily about surrounding himself with people that have great energy and vibes and that feeding into his mental health as well.

Calvin spoke heavily on celebrating himself and his accomplishments on a more consistent basis. Knowing that we as people don’t celebrate until we reach the top-tier of where we are destined to go is sometimes dreary and doesn’t happen for everyone but looking back on how far you have come and how much you have grown definitely deserves acknowledgment.

Something that was an eye opener was learning that Calvin spent a huge chunk of time from last fall going into the spring of this year homeless. He would go shoot for amazing events, on cloud nine with this feeling of euphoria that he couldn’t explain but he had nowhere to go at the end of the night. To say that that was a humbling experience is the simplest way to put it!

If he could tell anyone inspired to do photography one thing it would be to not play with your potential! If this is something that you live and breathe and you wake up everyday wanting to do this, then get to it. There will always be highs and lows and good with the bad but that is with anything that we do in life. Don’t STOP!

You can view Calvin's work on his Instagram, @calvinscandids


The #40Under40 series is an initiative started by Ebony Lashay. As a community we have begun to build up one another is ways that can only make us stronger. The #40Under40 series was started to highlight those in the community doing amazing work. Whether that work be with our young people, entrepreneurs, good food and drinks, event spaces, and so many other great things happening. If you are interested in being interviewed for this series. Please reach out to me via any of the forms below:

IG: xEbonyLashayx

FB: Ebony Lashay


59 views0 comments

Streetwear brand Léisure just dropped a sexy visual for their women's collection. Shot by photography/videotographer Calvin West, the visual features model Mariah Genell and features the sounds of the VanJess song "Slow Down", featuring Lucky Daye.

You can find the Léisure women's collection at Local in Vernon Hills, IL at Hawthorn Mall and soon at





43 views0 comments

Afresh Culture just dropped a new collection to celebrate a major life change for the owner, Light Skinned Tae. The "Make Lemonade" collection consists of a few dope heavyweight tees, a crew neck sweater and a fresh trucker hat.

Accompanied by a nice visual, the Make Lemonade collection dropped Saturday, July 2nd. You can cop the collection at or at Local, located inside Hawthorn Mall, Vernon Hills, IL.

Follow Afresh Culture on all FB, IG and TikTok at @afreshculture

24 views0 comments
bottom of page