OG is a photo studio owner out of Brooklyn, New York. His company, the OG Theory, has been self sustained for 8 years and OG hasn’t stop creating art and culture since. OG’s highly anticipated photo-series documenting the lifestyle and times of the modern refined gentlemen has been on the minds of Brooklynite art lovers since the briefing of its release. OG’s eccentric and classic style leaves him in a class all by his self in the New York City area. His passion and allegiant nature may be the anchor to his company the OG theory’s success.
What is the OG Theory?
The OG Theory is my life’s work. It’s a company that focuses on event production, project management, media and cigar culture. Our mission is to celebrate, teach and inspire men, especially young men, and show them you have to know where you came from to know where you’re going. We represent the modern classic gentlemen and pay homage to the past. We build content for brands within this realm only, that’s our lane. The men I represent, “WE” are the classic man. I am the classic man. Anything we do from events to photo shoots we keep it traditional and classy.
Who is OG?
The name OG came from the first business I started, The Othneil Group. People could never pronounce Othneil so my boy Wahkeem was like, “just call it The OG,” and that became my name. That was a few years ago.
The OG is pro black and has a love and affection for his people near and far. He utilizes classic ideas and lifestyle in a modern world: style, dress, music, taste, everything, it’s really full circle.
Where are you from?
I’m of Antiguan descent, my family’s from there but I’m first generation in America. I was raised in the Poconos, Pennsylvania, all my life which was an experience to say the least. My heart will always be in the mountains but it doesn’t have enough options or diverse culture to satisfy my tastes. I’ve been in New York 10 years now and I call Brooklyn home.
How did The OG Theory start?
The OG Theory is 8 years in the making. Over the years I worked as a promoter for various companies, a venue management firm, and corporate event planning. I saw a lack of respect and dignity in what I was doing. Nothing event wise was classy and catered to an upscale black demographic. It was frowned upon at the time to have entirely “Urban” parties and/or tables at venues. I remember thinking to myself “I’m classier, look better and run with a tighter crew than most of you people in these events but I’m looked down upon because of the color of my skin?” We placed parties and events for basically every race except for people of color.
I was just getting into jazz and cigar culture at the time and I was managing a bow tie designer. I remember thinking why doesn’t someone have classy, lifestyle events for our people? That question sparked the real question, “what are you going to do about it?” So often we look to the next person for validation of feelings to let us know we are warranted to feel the way we do. I looked at the man in the mirror and decided to do something about it. I stopped working with almost my entire client base and quit all the event gigs I had and made my vision paramount. Now, all events I produce, media I create or anything I put my name on is positive, informative, refined and fun. It’s important that the narrative of our people is depicted in the proper light.
Give me your Top 5 favorite hip hop artists of all time?
What Inspires you?
Waking up every day alive. Everyday is a new chance to succeed, create your own path, right your wrongs, take advantage of this thing called life that people take for granted. My kids inspire me. I don’t have a perfect life or perfect situations but the hope for better for them that they one day won’t have to do what I did to get it where I need to be, keeps me going. And my father. He passed away 12 years ago but he remains my greatest inspiration and example of what a man should be. Driven, uncompromising in your beliefs, unyielding, masculine and loving.
What does culture mean to you?
Culture is everything. It’s the environment that shapes you on every level and grooms you to be who you are. Personally, I felt a lack thereof and I did a lot of searching to actually create the culture that I wanted to be apart of because it was not there. I believe nowadays people really need to learn themselves. For lack of knowledge, my people perish. Knowledge of self is probably the single most important lesson you will learn in life. People live for 30, 40, 50 years not really knowing who they are, what they stand for. Once you are convicted in your beliefs and who you are when something bothers you, you do what you can to change it instead of letting your environment change you.
What do you think of black culture right now?
Man…our culture is under attack and everything seems all smoke in mirrors. There’s really so many levels to it. What’s portrayed and really pushed in the media, TV, movies, radio, music is mostly bullshit. That IS NOT our true narrative and really does nothing for the betterment of black people as a whole.
We have so much depth, power, knowledge and culture to share with the world but because of big business and the country that we live in, they would never allow “US” to see ourselves in the true light that we possess. We are Kings and Queens living in darkness. We are a stolen people, with a culture that was taken away from us, living in a stolen land. We built this country with our blood, sweat and tears, invented countless items like: the comb, the stoplight, filament for the lightbulb, and white people discredit us for everything. Our history even since living in America has been whitewashed. Let’s not even start on government programming and zoning to keep us confined to certain areas and with a glass ceiling at our heads. Even with the success of any people of color, when you grow up not hearing any of these stories how would you think you can be more than what they depict you to be?
What do you think of American culture right now?
As Americans the further we progress the further we regress. As technology is enhanced daily, the human brain and decision making are cut more and more. This society is moving towards turning everyone into drones and taking away the need for deductive reasoning and thinking. We are becoming dumber.
It’s all a control thing, our rights are slowly being taken away one by one. The government wants to control every aspect of your life: from the propagandist news you receive that lies to you and distorts facts, type of music you listen to and have access to because mainstream music vibrates on a low frequency, social media which is a blueprint to your entire life….. yeah, we are just in a bad place on every level.
When you look outside of your window, do you like what you see?
Hell no! On a grand level, our country is passing bills and laws that help/effect people that don’t need to be helped while doing absolutely nothing to change things for the better for the building race war, which I thing is wrong. Gentrification is rampant in NYC where I reside and the soul of these neighborhoods is being taken away and exchanged for condos, cafés, bike shops and yuppies. We are being violated, harmed and killed at an alarming rate and nothing is being done. To make matters worse, people think we are wrong for speaking out and that even when in innocent we are the cause for our own deaths. I can keep going, but I won’t. Man we are living in the twilight zone.
What is your message to the world?
Ownership. On every level. When one owns things they can not be denied.
Educate yourself, build capital, buy something, build equity and residual income, employ your people. Build your neighborhoods and communities. Live local, buy local, support local. Stop supporting corporate interests and building peoples empires that don’t care about you one and two that aren’t even your own people. That notion is mind boggling to me. Stop going to Starbucks, Walmart, Foot Locker, using their banks, watching Fox and CNN. Pick up a book and read, knowledge is is hiding within, just waiting to be uncovered.
Do you have any current projects you’re working on?
Yes, currently I’m working on a large photo-series documenting the lifestyle and times of the modern refined gentlemen. It’s important that we tell positive stories about our people and create our own narrative, not leave it up to everyone else. I’m also working as a contributor to a social event series, The Melanin Mixer. It’s a New York based party that promotes cultural renewal, black history, the arts and entrepreneurialism.
(Photos by Nancy Musinguzi)