Adonis Bosso on Tokenism in Modeling, Coming Out as Sexually Fluid

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 8, 2021

In a new feature with The Cut, Black model and aspiring neo-soul artist Adonis Bosso discusses tokenism on the runway and discovering his sexual fluidity.

On the subject of a small, handful of Black models that agencies keep on board, Bosso explains that diversity isn't particularly valued in the industry, that he was "fighting for that one percent, for that one spot, to be that one by guy in the show." Creating a "brotherhood" with other Black models could be encouraging, "every time a black model got a show or got a job, you felt like, Oh, I could get it next. It kind of opened the door for you." However, that hasn't always been the case.

Bosso recalled waiting in a Milan casting line for two hours in the rain. When he finally got inside, he was told, "we're not looking for Black models." He and the other Black models that had been waiting "were all in shock. This is the reality."

Another issue is the stagnancy behind fashion's interests in how the industry frame issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Bosso says, "I was just a hanger. Fashion and media always portray Black men in a certain way, in a certain light. Nobody ever asked." After he began making enough money to be more comfortable, he started turning his poems and journal entries into songs.

Some of his songs explore his dating experience, breaking up with, and having a child with actress Slick Woods. Bosso and Woods dated from 2015-2018, and Woods only discovered she was pregnant with his child, Saphir, after they split up.

The experience also helped Bosso realize his sexual fluidity. He says of Woods, "being with someone that was so open with herself got me more comfortable to just be where I am, without necessarily having to feel like I need to answer to anyone.

"I don't necessarily believe in labels. I feel like I could fall in love with anyone, regardless of their sex, or their orientation, or anything. I feel like love is energy."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.