Yasin Abdur was born Allen Roosevelt Travis III, in NYC, into a family of artists. His mother was a Model and his Great Uncle, George “Rufus” Adams was a Jazz musician. A precocious child displaying artistic ability very young, it came as no surprise when at age 3, he began singing and at the age of 13 was professionally signed and repped. Parlaying his love for music and dance into a career, he choreographed and danced on an MTV dance show. As a Songwriter, he wrote for Brandy, Raptress Eve of Ruff Ryders, 3LW, Harlem World, Trey Lorenz, and Vid Drawz. Growing up, fashion was always on his mind. He credits his love and official rise into the world of fashion to his friend and Mentor Debra Ginyard, whom he lived and worked closely with. During the 4 years he was with her, he accompanied her on all fashion shoots, watching this Creative Genius style the likes of Lauryn Hill, Monica, TLC and Robin Givens. Yasin had the privilege of working with this Style Icon daily in addition to sitting and listening intently at her feet as she spoke about fashion and style. He also worked alongside Andrew Caesar, who was responsible for creating the one of a kind style of Missy Elliott, Carl Thomas and Busta Rhymes.
Stepping out into his own lime light, about 8 years ago, Yasin began modeling and styling, as well as becoming the CEO and Artistic Director of his own company, Dapper Afrika. Under his Dapper Afrika moniker, Yasin has provided stylistic artistry to Jade Cole, Eugene Washington, Sarah “Pershia” Bliss, in addition to music video shoots and network television shows. His “Revolution of music, fashion and art” infused styling has appeared on the pages of Paper Magazine, the NY Times, the Satorialist as well as countless others.
Whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes, Yasin Abdur is an Impresario of the Arts, always leaving his mark on the industry. As a Singer, Songwriter, Model, Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director, he brings a creative talent and passion to his work that draws raves and admiration. While most stylists strive for a particular “look” for their clients at an shoot, Yasin Abdur aka The Dapper Afrika, strives to create an “personification of style” and is an (AIC) Artist in Consult of “souls” in music, image and fashion, who wants to touch the world through his gifts.
Q&A with Yasin Abdur:
BS: You spent a great majority of your life in the music industry. What is it about the fashion industry that enticed you to become a part of it?
Yasin Abdur:It just happened over time. I never saw a difference between fashion and music. Both were my outlets for my emotions. Fashion came about most likely due to always being eclectic and people always saying to me that I could wear anything- as if I was a living mannequin. I started out as a print/runway model so I guess that was my training.
BS: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
Yasin Abdur: The biggest challenge was not going back to school, never wanting to work a 9-5 and to stay true to my dreams, which also meant people would always look at you as if you are just all over the place with no focus. So I had to overcome perception/judgment from family, friends and from many who only look at you from the surface. I experienced a very intense spiritual cleanse in my life a few years ago that made realize that I was chosen for Greater and one day my story would touch others. Whether it be thru my music or thru my visions as a wardrobe stylist I refuse to let go and give up.
BS: How confident were you in branching out and starting your own company? How would you describe the experience?
Yasin Abdur: I was uncertain at first because I used to be managed by someone with tons of money or I was under an agent for most of my career. One day someone on the street told me that I was made to be a director or a CEO- and over the past 3 years it just came about. It can be nerve wrecking at times but luckily I have my team who allows me to lead the way. When you are dealing with the world of fame on any level and staying true to you it’s a battle, but i love my brand and what it stands for.
BS: You wear many hats in your career. Which role do you enjoy the most and why?
Yasin Abdur: I enjoy singing on stage with my band the most. I can feel people’s pain and share with them my love my hurt with my voice in such an angelic way of communication. It’s healing for me.
BS: What is the significance of your company’s name, “Dapper Afrika”?
Yasin Abdur: Dapper Afrika is The Revolution of Fashion Music & Art. Most images/music of what we see in this day and time are forced upon many as what is commercial. I will eventually launch a Dapper Afrika coffee table book of many iconic entertainers/artists/models, which will feature syling/photography/art under my direction with spiritual quotes from each person which I feel will open up people’s mind to what being a star really means. Dapper Afrika is also a very established styling/wardrobe/image branding company. We dress supermodels on their off days, shoot album covers for artists who are working on their come backs or are seeking a new look. The GOAL is to put art & spirituality back into these major fashion magazines which is going greatly, letting people know that style should always be original and from within.
BS: What makes you different from other stylists / musicians / models?
Yasin Abdur: I have a list of amazing people that have influenced my life my struggles my journey that I gladly express in each of these gifts. I dont pay attention to the outside world less needed so I believe that my delivery is on another level. The world only gets an icon every 12 years and I feel and know it’s my time as such. I dont do well with titles so maybe that saves me from being like others.
BS: What is the most important lesson you have learned from your mentor, Debra Ginyard?
Yasin Abdur: She taught me that if you honestly believe in the dream it will come true. I was about 19 years with no home and she took me in. That meant a lot to me and ‘til this day I still wake saying “how and why me?” 3 years of my life living in the presence of some amazing iconic artists was out of this world to me. Nothing is by coincidence and I am thankful for her because she’s true to being a black woman, independent humble and powerful. Everyone has Angels and she was one of mine.
BS: What advice do you have for people, specifically African Americans, trying to make it in the industry?
Yasin Abdur: Stay away from your ego. Never think you’re greater than another just be great at being you.
Study your art; study your purpose, by surrounding yourself with others whom you aspire to be like. Stop believing in this so called “industry”- for if you give into it, it will eat you up. Dont be afraid of the hardships, for there will be many when you want to truly make it. Lastly, don’t lose your soul for no dollar!