THE GENT'S LIFE: Breathing Values Into Black Culture...Good Fathers Exsist
Robert (Rob) McKiver along with his daughter, Brielle
We met for drinks-- he had water and I guzzled down 4 cups of steamy coffee at the IHOP on South Tryon St in Charlotte, NC.
It wasn’t until our sit-down that I finally understood the many facets of Robert (Rob) Antonio McKiver.
Simple isn’t an attribute that describes the man... He has this smooth esquire look and an infectious sense of humor (which is what caught my eye about him on Facebook in the first place)…
Aside from his many fabulous memes and outburst on social networks, the 39-year-old, is the founder of the Antonio Robert (his middle and first name) Group located in Morrisville, NC.
The company focuses on artist development and event planning. The business is a sister company to The Gent's Life—McKiver fathered the Antonio Robert Group over 11 years ago and The Gent's Life about 5 years ago.
According to McKiver, The Gent's Life is a fun venture, created with several fundamentals of fellowship: paying it forward, mentorship, and embracing fatherhood.
He aides a broad spectrum of business owners to grow their platforms, as well as their personal sense of style and mannerism. The aim for The Gent's Life is to incorporate the fashion elements, public speaking, and social media/ networking, so that these things can work for the proprietor and not against him or her.
Because Mckiver is so knowledgeable in the area of business development, and not to mention that he is gruelingly structured and disciplined (picked that up during conversation), I was curious to know if these attributes was part of his background.
I asked him about his upbringing, and he said that he didn’t have a good relationship with his mother or father. His relatives raised him in upstate New York--“Me and my Mom didn’t gel. My Auntie and Nana stepped in to take care of me.
I had to go live with my Auntie, so I guess you can say it was a mixture. She eventually got sick and died from a brain tumor, and then I had to move down here during my senior year of high school with other relatives. The move turned out to be a good thing. I guess I turned out okay,” he said.
McKiver has a good relationship with his mom now, and he’s building a better relationship with his dad( McKiver, Parents and Sister)
Although his childhood was a bit wobbly, McKiver attended college on a Basketball and Academic Scholarship from NC State. He majored in marketing and accounting. Being quite the wiz kid from New York, he worked at a small marketing firm here in the Carolinas; however, it didn’t take long for him to catch on to the numbers game with the company.
“They were giving me a tenth of what they were making, and when I sat down and configured the numbers, I knew that I could do the same thing, and make more on my own. Besides, I knew that I would never sit in an office—I want to be out and interacting with people. My spirit won’t allow me to sit still. I guess this attribute is a gift and a curse,” he explains.
McKiver promoted and marketed all types of parties and club activities after the stint with the firm. He was an unstoppable beast that knew how to attract the right attention. People watched him, and because he practiced good business, he was connected with Roc-a -Fella Records and Def Jam (when people were still buying records). After that, the birth of the Antonio Robert Group commenced.
Let’s be extremely clear, there is no way to calculate a person’s life on social media. However, if you watch long enough, you’ll get to see their vulnerabilities, happiness, and oppositions… if you watch closely enough, you just might see a deep thread of humanity...
McKiver embraces fatherhood for all that it is… He wrote on Facebook just last year that he was nervous when his daughter, Brielle, was born. He also said she’s the best thing that ever happened in his life. “Honestly, that’s what the whole embrace fatherhood is.—you have to pour into your kid because that’s the next generation behind you”, he said.
Their bond is infinite(McKiver has other children--however, the more freighting moments of parenthood arrives with the first child).
Mckiver includes Brielle in just about everything he does. Whether it’s a trip to Time Square for New Year’s Eve or a quick photo shoot, the pair is usually in pictures wearing stylish garbs-- they make silly faces at the cameras. Sometimes, the photos are very profound.
McKiver is involved with quite a few mentoring programs. For instance, The Talented Tenth Boys Academy in Charlotte, and recently, he visited Abu Dhabi courtesy of the, I- Promise Program, to speak with the youth in their mentorship organization.
He’s eclectic when it comes to fashion… No, he doesn’t get all artsy and animated like the iconic David Bowie. Nevertheless, he totally kills the tailored suits, whimsical socks, and army fatigue pants, as well as loads of accentuating wrist beads. He expresses his own panache for fashion through select collections.
I asked this sophisticated clothier, “How would you style me?” He said, “First, I believe all women should keep a black dress in the closet. That’s a classical piece that never goes out of style. I’d dress you up in a pair of pumps that pop with color, and I'd add a red matte lipstick to accentuate your skin tone--You’ll love it,” he says.
(Well, we will see about that, Mr. McKiver!)
Brielle dressed to the nines for her recital( McKiver's clientele ranges from 5 years old to 80-years-old)
While I’m not the only one that can get a make-over from the gent, McKiver does closet revamps for his clients. He styles NFL players when they aren’t on the field, authors, reputable artist and entertainers, as well as CEO’s in many other states. He has customers overseas and in our hometown of Charlotte.
Although he has much clientele, the one who makes his sobering heart melt is Brielle. She asked dear old Dad to style her for a recital because she wanted to look good-- and he nailed it. Way to go, Dad!
I guess he really does live up to his self-proclaimed name, “curator of fashion”.
He has a stirring level of kindness… A couple of weeks ago McKiver was riding in downtown Atlanta, “I saw a woman out with her child… It was pouring rain. I jumped from my car with an umbrella and handed it to her. She thanked me repeatedly. But, I didn’t do anything special. As it turns out, the woman fell on unfortunate circumstances, so I paid for her a couple night’s stay at a hotel nearby just so she could be somewhere warm with her kid…” chivalry, integrity, business and compassion—are pretty much his bottom line.
It was a pleasure speaking with McKiver… He’s passionate enough, so I figure he’ll do well enough with his enterprises.
“Though he lives, works, and plays in Morrisville, North Carolina, he loves to collaborate with professionals, consultants, and innovators everywhere. If you ever meet in person, remember he has an exploitable weakness for salad and breadsticks from a certain place that shall remain nameless.”
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