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Cool Dudes of #SoFu!

Article by Erikka Searles Mitchell

Photography by Becca McCoy

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

When we requested our readers to nominate their favorite cool dudes, we asked for sophisticated, stylish, smooth guys, and the results simply shone! We hope you enjoy reading about the secret sauce that makes up each guy’s individual cool.

Fabian Simpson: Passionate. Original. Creative.

Hailing from Bartow, Florida, Fabian lost both parents when he was young, but he has an older brother and sister and a big extended family. He graduated in 2010 from Bartow High and continued his education at Iowa Western, where he played football and served as student body president. Later transferring to the HBCU Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he finished his BA in studio art. After graduating college in 2015, he moved to SoFu. Shortly after, Fabian created his brand Twenty-Eight Flavors. He got accepted at SCAD in Atlanta but decided to try another route to further his career in technology, pursuing a master’s degree in information technology. 

“I am known for the storytelling of life events, the naked truths of the knowledge of self, self-improvement and self-help therapy… Art is the power of creating something to generate connection between my deep dark emotions with yours!” says Fabian, who specializes in acrylic on canvas, graphic design and mixed media work. He also makes his canvases from scratch. He is focused on growing his network to have his art in more homes, debuting his artist podcast and painting with family.

“What sets me apart from my peers is my pride in craftsmanship, being competitive to learn more every day to be a better artist and the love of creating with other like-minded people.”

Walter Vinson: Engaging. Entertaining. Trustworthy.

A native of Bolton, Mississippi, Walter is the director of government affairs for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). In this role, he is responsible for developing positive and productive relationships with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels of government. During his tenure, his lobbying efforts have led to the funding of various projects to improve the overall efficiency of ATL’s operations, infrastructure and security. Prior to joining ATL, Walter was the legislative administrator for Fulton County Government after leaving Capitol Hill, where he served as legislative director for U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, as well as senior professional staff manager for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

A double HBCU grad, Walter obtained a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Alcorn State University and a Master of Public Administration from Bowie State University. In his spare time, Walter is a football official for Georgia High School Association, but his favorite role is being a father to his 15-year-old son, Walter, affectionately known as Trip.

Walter moved to Atlanta from Washington, DC, shortly after 9/11. Since coming to the Atlanta area, he has been involved with South Fulton. He had the pleasure to witness and be a part of the development and continued growth of this part of the county.

“I can’t wait to see what opportunities are in store for the future,” he says. “Working at ATL has allowed me to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors for the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce. Being a part of the chamber has given me a chance to interact with business owners, civic leaders and, most of all, young people who are amazing. South Fulton is very welcoming to each and all who visit, whether to work and/or live. It truly is an untapped area of possibilities.”  

Walter’s style is comfortable enough to adjust to any situation while remaining classic.

William Joyner, III: Creative. Bold. Outspoken.

William is a decorated Army veteran, chief operations manager of Feeding GA Families, a photographer (WillJPhotography.com) and an actor. Originally from rural middle Georgia, he is married to Ali and moved to the City of South Fulton with his wife, who has family in the area.

“What I like about the City of South Fulton is that it strikes a perfect balance between convenience and peace. Being close enough to Atlanta to be convenient, yet far enough to remain quiet and peaceful, the City of South Fulton offers a unique blend of urban and rural living,” according to William.

“As a photographer and actor, I value creativity and am not afraid to take risks. I'm also unapologetically outspoken about my beliefs and stand up for what I believe in,” says William.

William credits his success to his willingness to take risks and his passion for creativity. Whether he is behind the camera or on the stage, he tries to bring a unique blend of creativity, boldness and outspokenness to everything.

“As chief operations manager of Feeding GA Families, I'm using my talents to make a real difference in the lives of those in need.”

When it comes to his personal style, he likes to keep it traditional but with a twist.

“I'm not afraid to mix up accessories and add a touch of boldness to my outfits with designer ties, creative cufflinks and limited-edition watches.”

Aaron Johnson: Committed. Thoughtful. Caring.

As an almost 20-year resident of South Fulton, Aaron has worked in politics and government on all levels, including working with the group that created the City of South Fulton. Aaron is married to Alanna Johnson, an administrator at Westlake High School, and he is the father of three children, including one college graduate, one in college and one attending Fulton County schools. He is very active in his community, participating in his children's schools, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and on various boards.

Originally from Moultrie, South Georgia, Aaron and his wife came to Atlanta to attend college.

“When we were looking for a community to raise our family, we looked for an area in the Fulton County school system that offered a sense of community where our kids could grow up seeing people like them doing great things,” he says. “South Fulton offered those things."

“My style is classic, clean and quiet,” says Aaron. “I don't like loud colors and try not to be too trendy. Nice enough to notice, but not too much to overshadow the message.”

Carlton Riddick: Ambitious. Outgoing. Classic.

Carlton is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Harlem. He is a graduate of the “world's greatest HBCU,” Johnson C. Smith University, in computer science. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Carlton has been married to LaKisha for 25 years and they have three children: Josiah, Justin and Keren. He is an entrepreneur that has worked for over 20 years with the federal government.

“Over the many years, I have lived in Metro Atlanta, I have lived in almost every area, and South Fulton was the only area that felt like home. I love so many aspects about it, from the wonderful neighborhoods, the sense of community and the quality of life,” he says.

Carlton’s personal style is “urban classic.” He is the definition of versatility, whether wearing a nice business suit or a hoodie with jeans and Timberlands.

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