I caught up with Eboni J last week on a Zoom chat and we had such a blast talking about her latest work on Kenny Lattimore’s music video for his song “Lose You,” in which she acted as director and creative genius. Eboni J has been in the industry since she was a young girl, getting her start in modeling at the age of 12. She then went on to learn runway and fashion techniques up until her early twenties. Eboni J is known as one of the top fashion specialists in the Dallas area. As a sought after stylist, Eboni J’s clientele consist of the entertainment industry’s most eligible bachelors, ranging from high profile celebrities like Morris Chestnut, Kenny Lattimore, and DB Woodside, to top athletes like gold medalist LaShawn Merritt.
Her brand, The Man Cave, is a luxurious fashion service for males that features custom cufflinks, as well as an array of services like consultations, personal shopping, closet organization, etc. Eboni J combines her style with current fashion trends to help elevate clients’ wardrobe for any occasion. Eboni has created a market that hoists professional attire to day-to-day garments while providing a luxury experience for the client.
Tell us about your experience working with Black Excellence A-Listers like Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut. Is there any styling differences when you work with TV and film stars vs. working with athletes.
“Working with men in general is a totally completely different experience. I worked the styling for the press tour for Best Man Holiday, and it was honestly one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever done, they were all laid back.” She went on to say “my clients are like my brothers, it’s like a trust factor.”
Congratulations on the music video! How was it working on the “Lose You” set? The visuals are so perfectly paired with his lyrics and melody. Did you do anything different this time around? What inspired the concept?
“I did the creative direction and mood board all while also working on a 18 city tour. It was a tad bit stressful. But I got it done, it was my baby,” Eboni J said. “The concepts were inspired by the lyrics and the words Kenny’s says. I love playing with colors with Kenny, when I walked into the space we were going to be shooting in, I loved the orange and the browns.”
Do you think that more women should be working with men clients? I’ve always considered it a reverse power angle. I was a talent manager for years to a handful of men clients myself. Behind every good looking man there is a better looking woman. What has these experiences taught you as a woman?
“Not really. I think to each its own. For me it works because it taught me a lot about balance and patience.”
Can you tell me about your background a little bit. Where did you go to college? Do you have a lot of non-industry friends? Are you parents or family supportive of your work at The Man Cave?
“So I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I am my daddy’s baby and my grandmother and aunts were my driving force. They taught me and inspired my fashion dreams,” Eboni J said. “Like many of us she took a creative break and studied a field that has nothing to do with fashion.”
Eboni J’s mother attended and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree from the Baylor School for Dentistry. “I always knew I was going to be like Hype Williams. You know how you have that childhood dream that just stays with you. I would just watch [music] videos and be like, I would’ve done it like this or I would’ve styled them like that,” Eboni J said.
When asked about how she navigates the entertainment industry friends vs. non-industry friends she says “I don’t have any industry friends. I have a close nit group of friends who I prefer to hang with.” Never forget the group-chat that’s cheering you on. She says she has gotten the same support from her immediate family. “My dad my brothers my aunts just everybody supports me. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Life can throw us so many curves. Lately it seems like we’re all on our last nerve as soon as we wake up. What keeps you focused?
“My daughter. She’s 21 years old and her name is Jazzy,” Eboni J said. “Just watching how she works so hard with her track and field goals to go pro. I think these college kids are getting the worst out of what’s happened here with COVID.” So many of us have said that the pandemic has been a silent savior as it pertains to getting a lot of ideas off the ground. Eboni J used the down time to develop her brand, The Man Cave. The Man Cave has several layers, all of which represents a different aspects of who Eboni J is.
“There’s me Eboni J the stylist, there’s a line of luxury cufflinks that I designed, and there’s also a podcast,” Eboni J said.
Her podcast is about community and it aims to highlight positivity, honesty and an insightful take on what it is to be a Black man from a Black woman’s perspective. She is doing it with her brothers so she says it will be “totally unfiltered and ya’ll not ready for me and my family.” We’re already excited to see this podcast launch and take off. We will update the link once it is live later on down the year.
What’s your favorite quote?
She gave us an original quote… “Just keep going, stay humble, stay committed, stay focused, and follow God because I promise you, the things I’m doing now I never thought I would be doing. I know it sounds cliché but it’s so true.” Agreed. Eboni is a testament on prayers, passion, hard working and walking in your blessings. We cannot wait to see where she goes next.
Listen to the full audio interview here: https://audiomack.com/theredeyemediagrp/song/ep4-behind-the-scenes-eboni-j-of-the-man-cave
Find Eboni J on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stylistebonij/
Photos by Lorenzo Wallace
About Tahyira Savanna: Tahyira is a lifestyle journalist and writer. Her interest includes human stories and introspection. She interviews everyday people doing their part to make our world a happier place.