Rodnell Dominique Riddick, King T.H.I.C.K. (November 3, 1988 - October 12, 2020)
Compiled by L. Michael Gipson and Storm E. Banks
His smile was perhaps Rodnell Dominique Riddick’s most recognizable trait. Bright and toothy, with an inner brilliance that illuminated his whole face. Smooth chocolate skin, bold fashion sensibility, and an indefatigable love for Black men of size were other defining traits for the man most in Atlanta’s creative and Black LGBTQ+ communities knew as Dominique or Dom/Domo. Founder of both the Fearful Clothing Line and later the Tempting, Handsome, Intelligent, and Charming Kings Movement aka the T.H.I.C.K. Movement, after much prodding by those impressed by his own unique taste, the entrepreneurial Riddick gathered a team of unapologetic Black gay, bi, and same gender loving (SGL) men of size to launch an aspirational and inspirational fashion line with a message rooted in body positivity and self-confidence. More than meeting the need for fashionable clothing for more robust bodies, the line with a purpose created online spaces on social media for people to embrace their bodies, love on one another, and find community. In the years since its inception, the movement has grown to include over 12,000 Black men not only rocking the fiercely urbane, crayon-colored clothing line, but also sharing images of them showcasing their curves both with and without gear, all in line with the Riddick inspired theme of radical self-love. For many who struggled with taking more full-bodied shots of themselves, it was the necessary brave first step to self-acceptance.“We are a body positive movement. We are here to uplift, inspire, encourage, and empower all men of size to love the skin therein. We also speak to mental health issues when it comes to weight and not loving your body,” Riddick said in a December 2019 interview with Voyage ATL where he was introduced as King T.H.I.C.K. “We also model and create visuals of what plus-size men are capable of doing. I have amazing Brand Ambassadors @lastkingstanding_08, @Ovobent, and @kills4fashionreloaded they have been a big inspiration to the community as well.”
Originally from Portsmouth, VA, the former graduate of Norfolk State University was known for taking big risks to achieve his creative vision. Those risks paid off following his move to Atlanta while still in his 20s, where the young designer would soon develop a thriving celebrity stylist business whose list included R&B Diva and former Sister Circle host Syleena Johnson. According to his Facebook page, Riddick also worked as a photographer, runway coach, fashion consultant, and fashion show coordinator—all skills put to eventual use for T.H.I.C.K., which had expanded to include hosting area networking and social events for Black gay, bi, and SGL men of size. The realization of even more Riddick visionary style in service to this often underserved community was sadly cut short on Monday, October 12th where Riddick transitioned, just weeks shy of his 32nd birthday, in his home in Brookhaven, GA. In honor of what Rodnell Dominique Riddick started, and what the men of T.H.I.C.K. undoubtedly will continue, The Reckoning invited those touched by Riddick to share words of tribute and remembrance to their friend, colleague, and an inspiration to many men who were moved by his irrepressible enthusiasm, creative zeal, and love for his brothers. These are their words: Continue reading here.