HYATTSVILLE, Md. — For some kings, it all started with a dollar and a dream. And for others, it started right here in our backyard with passion and determination to make those that came before you proud.
Whichever way royalty may be seen in your eyes, Gaffar Amzat, 24, is creating his own legacy as a Black man in America and defining his own kingship.
Beyonce Knowles-Carter recently depicted the importance and power of Blackness in her film Black Is King. The visual album premiered on Disney + and still has fans shook from the inspiring imagery, motivating messages, and cultural exposure of the African diaspora.
As a Nigerian immigrant and aspiring fashion model, Amzat isn't your typical influencer. He carries weight as an IT engineer, runway coach and creative director -- a path that he said has opened many doors for him in the fashion industry.
So, when he was presented with the opportunity to attend a casting call in New York for the Queen Bey's upcoming project, Black Is King, he knew he would shine above the rest.
"My story is a little different because I take care of my family," Amzat said. "Pretty much what a king does. And that's exactly what Beyonce saw in me when I was there."
He said not only was his work ethic different on set, but he was there early and on time and made sure to study and research the vision of the film. He decided to set himself apart with a gold durag he borrowed from a friend and was aesthetically placed in the center of a scene in the film.
"For me to be in the front and center-- it's God," Amzat said. "I feel like he has seen my struggle and my pain and he has seen my cries and it was just like, 'It's your time.'"
Amzat said that moment came unexpectedly and he felt honored among the 800 others who attended the casting call.
"While I was on set, Beyonce is a very, very hardworking woman," Amzat said. "She does not play with what she wants. She literally was on every single thing."
We're proud to say that this Prince George's County native was able to be a part of such a monumental moment that has left many gasping at the beauty of Black culture portrayed in this film. But, it didn't always come this easy. Like many kings, there's a tug of war.
In comparison to many careers, the drive that comes with being in the modeling industry can be difficult. From giving up on a stable job and doing DoorDash delivery, to losing his job and finally making his dreams come true with a steady income and supporting his family, Amzat said it has been a rollercoaster.
"I have been through a lot of struggles and suicidal just because, you know, it was hard for me to just be by myself and just do things on my own," he said. "But I am so lucky to have a mother that is so supportive."
Amzat said he owes all his blessings to his ancestors.
Along this unexpected journey filled with surprises and moments of resilience, he hopes to change the world and inspire models who want to make it in the industry. He said his plan is to create therapy, counseling and support for Black people and the LGBTQ community.
"As a Black man, we are royalty, we are kings from where we come from," he said.
And in the words of Beyonce, her visual album expressed just that.
"...I only hope that from watching, you leave feeling inspired to continue building a legacy that impacts the world in an immeasurable way. I pray that everyone sees the beauty and resilience of our people. This is a story of how the people left MOST BROKEN have EXTRAORDINARY gifts...," she wrote in a caption on Instagram.
"I am thankful today," Amzat said. "And I am grateful also that I am alive to share my story with people."
You can catch Amzat on the set of Beyonce's Already music video ft. Shatta Wale below or watch the full Black Is King film on Disney +.