People to Watch: 2015

by: Kaci Yoder

 Photo by Colin Ritchie

Photo by Colin Ritchie

Don’t call them musicians, philanthropists, filmmakers or PR specialists. Yes, Torrence and Thurman Thomas are all of these things—but don’t call them just one. Their joint creative project and identity ASKTHETHOMASBROS isn’t just a band; together, they’re a brand.

These twins write and produce R&B music influenced by Motown and ’N Sync, help with marketing for institutions like Bacardi and Lincoln Motor Company, and curate an image as Red Stick renaissance men. After studying Kanye West’s struggle to cross over from music to fashion, the Thomas brothers swore never to limit themselves.

“It’s just human nature to make things easy to digest and simple to understand—to put it in a box,” Torrence says. “We brand ourselves as creators. We never market our services; we market ourselves.”

In 2012 the brothers added outreach to their plate with TANKPROOF, which offers free swimming lessons each summer to the 70% of black children who are unable to swim. Partnering with local churches and Crawfish Aquatics, the program reached 225 students in 2014 and is set to grow even more this year.

Person Thurman admires most
“Dr. Leroy Thompson. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without him. Everything I’ve learned and the stuff we’ve got is because of him.”

Best advice Torrence has been given
“Be the voice, not the echo.”