Jovel Roystan

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“I invest in the things that I want to do. I make it less a matter of thinking ‘what’s not for me’ and just make it for me.”

Words by Justice Nnnanna + Photos by Mark Clennon

Jovel Roystan considers himself a believer. In 2019, the suavely dressed creative is putting that belief into the power of intentionality and is reinvesting in the things that he loves. For the 28-year-old Morehouse graduate, that means diving head first into his teenage passion of acting. Roystan has a careful energy, like he’s aware that every single decision bares consequences. It’s a soft confidence that goes well with his matching linen-suit which he pairs with a snuggly fit turtleneck. As a content creator who has worked with big box brands like Macy’s, Roystan has amassed a following of his own by creating a carefully crafted aesthetic that fits him well.  

For this ’Thoughts Become Things’ series, could you share a positive thought that you often have and a negative thought you often have?

For the positive thought—and this is a faith-based thing, and I’m not trying to be preachy—but God’s got it. I really do always feel like I’m going to be taken care of.

The negative thought is that people suck. Humans are really trash sometimes.

James Baldwin said, “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” What history do you carry with you most as a contemporary creator?

As a person of color,  or as a black person in the U.S., you do feel the weight of descending from a race of people who were wronged. Even if you’re living your very best life, you are still aware of those wrong-doings. Like a scar, even if  it doesn’t hurt all the time, it’s still there.

Greatest challenge and greatest benefit of being a minority in a creative industry?

Greatest challenge is that my experience, my truth, doesn’t always align with what the people in power believe is valuable.

Greatest benefit is that we’re cool as hell. You get to add so many different elements to the bland standard that is often the majority American culture.

True or false- “When they go low, we go high.”   

I think it’s both. Ideally, I’d say true.

How do you use your community to move your goals forward?

I think it’s about building together. Being open to accept other people’s vision within your community and then supporting that.

How do you navigate working in spaces that don’t feel supportive of you or in line with your beliefs?

I invest in the things that I want to do. I make it less a matter of thinking ‘what’s not for me’ and just make it for me.

Imani Ellis