“My father used to always say…if you look good, you feel good,” says Chris Sumner, a very well-groomed and dressed young man, who’s very articulate and animated when he speaks.
“God placed it in my heart and gave me the vision to go above and beyond the realm of just fashion and clothes, but to become active in the community and abroad.”
Chris takes pride in his style of dress and have become the model of excellence for young men who are students, where he’s a counselor at Vertus Charter Boys School, here in Rochester.
These young men take to wearing handkerchiefs in their suit jacket pockets, to wearing some of the most vibrant printed socks and hosiery. Reared in the Pentecostal church and raised in the military, Chris has always looked up to his father and found himself emulating and trying to dress, just like him.
“My father is my hero and to this day still is,” he says.
A young man in one of my classes asked me to situate his tie, which led me to ask, [Have your father never taught you how to tie your tie?] The young man replies, the dude lives a few streets away, I never see him.
“Man, that broke my heart,” Chris recalls, which prompted him to start a mentor’s group-The Gentlemen Code Chronicles (GCC).”
The GCC was created as a stepping stone to mentor young men to go in the right direction.
It helps young men become great in their future through mentoring that focuses on grooming them, building character and showing something as simple as a firm handshake, while addressing that person on the opposite end of the handshake.
But, the group has also mentored grown men alike in fashion, health, and relationships.
Chris felt a need to make the group interactive and approachable, but also proactive. So, he began to set up a series of meetings with those he admired and who were active in their communities and church to discuss his vision. After a few bumps and bruises and revisions of the group, The Gentlemen Code Chronicles was formed.
The GCC consists of several brothers, who make up a hodgepodge of different personalities, backgrounds, marital statuses, and occupations. Chris is divorced with no children.
Johnathan Williams is a pastor and married with young adult children.
Grand Tone, a community leader and entertainment producer is married with adult children and grandchildren.
Eddie “Flipp” English, a very talented comedian and musician is newly married.
Anthony “A.G.” Grissett is a gifted rapper, who’s also a community motivator, who’s married with kids.
And Shawn “The Legend” Powell, a gifted musician, songwriter, artist, whom is affectionately called “The Renaissance Man, is thrice married with young adult children and an adolescent child.
Several meetings in, they group realizes, after speaking on their life experiences with transparency, although they’ve traveled in each other’s circles for some time, they all have their own walk of life, which are different from each other’s, but can affect someone else’s life together, because of the experience.
Then, the vision for the group became bigger.
The group have been invited to present an award at the 2018 Roc Awards earlier this year, worked as mentors for Cory Johnson’s Young Men’s Symposium at Edison Tech, as well as, actively mentoring and sponsoring Young Men for Rochester Distinguished Gentlemen event at The Blue Cross Arena. A barrage of opportunities has come their way since its inception, which started out as a few men just getting together to discuss grooming, the latest fashion, and the hottest socks in the game.
But Chris, who never envisioned this to become so big, felt that God moved in such a way, the vision became more than just fashion and more of unique form of discussion about life situations, marriage and how to cope with certain obstacles in front of you such as health, wellness, and religion. As the group’s popularity continues to grow, the GCC currently have a very successful show on YouTube called, “The Gentleman Code Chronicles,” which airs every Wednesday evening.
The show features interviews with special guests, where there’s humor among other things such as, grooming tips that are broadcast sometimes on location at different places around the Rochester area. The show has also featured Mayor Lovely Warren and City Council Vice President Adam McFadden.
“We’re not specialists or professionals, but we can tell you how we take on certain obstacles and issues in our lives and overcome them,” Chris says. “We can give you “our” experiences and how God led us out of that situation. It may not work for all, but it will definitely be a testimony to others.”
The group has already been given interest by a few urban networks for their YouTube telecast, a radio show is in the works, and a book has already been in discussion.
The GCC has hired Manager Tammi Herron, who now facilitates their schedule and handles their bookings, marketing and promotions. For more about the group visit their Facebook page or contact 585-319-6611.
As the end of every YouTube show, Chris always says “May the Lord God bless you ‘‘really’ good is my prayer.”