The verb “to flex” essentially has one of two meanings. It can mean to show off, to gloat, or to boast—which is the most popular definition of the word. However, it can also mean to put on a fake front, to fake it, or force it. The second definition is usually used in conjunction with the first—as in, someone who’s gloating about something that they’ve really got no right to gloat about, lying about an accomplishment, or exaggerating the truth.
Kennedi Carter (b. 1998) explores ideas of Blackness related to wealth, power, respect, and belonging in her new series of photographs. Carter dressed friends and acquaintances in historically-inspired costumes that represent wealth and power. History is referenced, rejected, and reimagined. The images compel us to ask questions: How can looking back in time move me forward? Who and what represents wealth? Does money mean respect? Where do I fit? What assumptions do I make based on appearance? Who is flexing? What is underneath wealth and power? What makes me feel seen? Where do I belong?
From What Does “Flex” Mean In Slang? Or, Why Both “No Flex Zones” and “Flex Friendly Zones” Are Necessary By Mehak Anwar, Bustle