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'Well Suited': Milwaukee Magazine's Photo Essay on 500 Black Tuxedos Event

Credit Photo by Sara Stathas
Jimmie Evans, 11, wears his tuxedo proudly at the 500 Black Tuxedos Event, organized by Andre Lee Ellis on Saturday December 12th, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The work of Andre Lee Ellis is nothing new to Lake Effect. His tireless efforts to positively influence the lives of young black men in Milwaukee have been included on Ex Fabula and in a number of feature stories on WUWM.

One was about an annual event, now called 500 Black Tuxedos. The latest gathering took place last December and saw hundreds of African American men and boys dress up for a day and evening on the town.

The event was also the subject of the Well Suited photo essay featured in this month’s Milwaukee magazine.

Writer Dan Simmons and photographer Sara Stathas were on hand at the event to capture every moment.

Simmons described the event as "people in their best dressed, on their best behavior, displaying their best selves."

"Its hard not to be moved," he says.

"They all looked so amazing," adds Stathas. "It was inspiring for me as a photographer to take the time to pull some of them aside and do some one-on-one portraits of them and really capture that."

Ellis plans to continue the 500 Black Tuxedos tradition each year and is sharing his insight with other cities wanting to carry out the same type of event.

While we wait for the event, Well Suited will serve as evidence of a beautiful night on the town.

Photographer Sara Stathas describes the image that has stuck with her the most since that day in December. (The photo is directly below this audio.)

Credit Photo by Sara Stathas
A young man fixes his tuxedo as others raise a fist to the air signifying their unity. This moment of "We got this!" says everything about the events meaning to photographer Sara Stathas.