Leading with Love: Kevin Livingston on Healing, Business, and Black Excellence

 Leading with Love: Kevin Livingston on Healing, Business, and Black Excellence

Image Provided by Kevin Livingston

Kevin Livingston, CEO and founder of New York-based 100 Suits, is intently pouring limitless creative energy into how his community empowers, celebrates, and liberates Black men. 

As we know, June celebrates fathers and ultimately calls on men to create thriving healthcare practices. This summer month also culminates in the spirit of Juneteenth, with accompanying fetes and family barbecues. 

Proudly hailing from Southeast Queens, New York, Kevin’s artistry aims to transcend beyond traditional ways of celebration. He captures the hearts of his hometown as a community maverick who facilitates life-changing services and events through his nearly 14-year-old nonprofit enterprise, 100 Suits for 100 Men, commonly known as “100 Suits.” 

“I believe in being creative when it comes to solutions and communities,” Kevin told the Buckeye Review of his masterminded initiatives. 

100 Suits was launched in 2005 to provide business suits, workforce development, and community development programs. Since its inception, 100 Suits has reached the mark of suiting over 150,000 people in New York City. 

Amid tackling its community’s broader socio-economic challenges, the award-winning organization salutes fathers-to-be or fathers expecting again at the 100 Suits Brothers Baby Shower. In May 2024, the event kicked off after Mother’s Day. Recently, the public has been invited to donate gifts for these Kings and their bundle of joys at the next shower.

Soon after that, 100 Suits held its annual Juneteenth of service, having recently suited over 25 men who were newly released from Rikers Island. The occasion also garnered enrollments for the next Brothers Baby Shower.

Image Provided by Kevin Livingston

“That’s real liberation,” Kevin said.

Later, he challenged, “People shut down and put the barbecues out. We need to do service that day.”

For as long as he can recall, Kevin has proudly tended to his roots with an emphasis on community work, thanks in part to his mother, who was an active community board member. He leaned into the power of a suit during his humble beginnings as a dapper brochure stamper in Queens.

From donating Christmas toys and domestic violence shelters to conducting Turkey drives and hosting poetry mic nights, the 46-year-old change agent, father, and grandfather paves his own pathway. 

“I’m a poet, and I’m an artist,” Kevin declared. “And I’m very sensitive.”

Leveraging his father’s entrepreneurial mind and spirit, Kevin is driven by the voices of his community. Today, Kevin leads five 100 Suits’ locations nationally, including the hustling Empire City. The future looks bright as the executive prepares to expand his business model abroad in the upcoming years. The focus of the expansion will be on case management in mental health.

With a deep commitment to prioritizing men’s mental health, Kevin opened up about unaddressed trauma as a common battle young men face in the community. He further explained that those who experience sexual abuse and childhood abandonment traumas might cope by frequenting illegal smoke shops and engaging in reckless sexual and social behaviors.

“I’m just going to start with me because if you can’t, you can’t heal from within,” Kevin said, adding that he didn’t always consider his health first. He makes it his business to nurture his desires and passions in poetry, art shows, jazz, and nature, as well as maintain an optimal body temple inside and out.

In its downtown Brooklyn location, 100 Suits and its full-time staff of case managers work with young people who are involved in gangs, those who are pulling triggers, and those who are influenced by gangs, Kevin explained. The organization also acts as a violence interrupter by creating safe passage during after-school programs and serving mental health needs in the community with a mobile trauma unit. More essential services include free clinics, workforce development, and additional mental health services for seniors. 

Trauma alters perception. Left unaddressed, these emotional ramifications can influence the way Black men perceive themselves, others, and circumstances that can essentially trigger fear and powerlessness in every aspect of a person’s life. For men, these imprints often manifest as anger or angry behavior. However, Black men are not likely to access mental health services.

Kevin has a message for our Kings in the world when asked about his legacy. 

“It’s okay not to be okay, but what’s fatal is not doing something about it,” Kevin advised. “It’s okay to tell another brother you love him. It’s okay to really take charge of your health, but more importantly, your mental health.” 

Atiya Jordan

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