26-year-old John Henry, born to Dominican parents and raised in Harlem, is part-owner of Harlem Capital
, a company designed to invest in businesses created by women and minorities. Now, he has a new VICELAND show titled Hustle
(executive produced by Alicia Keys and Marcus Samuelsson) advising businesses on going from unknown status to mainstream lucrative ubiquity. Hustle airs on Sundays at 9pm EST on VICELAND.
😉Here’s a favorite quote of mine from this Q&A with John Henry:
Dominicans make good business people. In New York, many of the corner grocery stores are Dominican or Arab-owned. And Dominicans also own a lot of taxi car companies. Has your cultural background influenced your business sense?
Absolutely, and you’re right Dominican people are good at business. In New York, we tend to be more merchants, but the skills that I learned from our culture are fu**ing invaluable. Even just my mom buying plantains on the corner. She would constantly negotiate. My dad trained me to be really resourceful. We had so little growing up that he would teach me to make the most out of it. All these ingrained lessons from our communities were instilled in me. Now that I’m in the corporate arena I’m a beast because a lot of these kids I’m with grew up in a different life path. Now that we’re in the same rooms I find myself consistently outwitting and outmaneuvering a lot of these people because maybe they don’t have some of that cultural edge. If you can come from a disadvantaged position and make it, you end up having such a massive edge because then you have both; street smarts and book smarts.