I grew up in Hollis, Queens, in a single-family house on Farmers Boulevard. LL Cool J was from Hollis, a couple years ahead of me, and on one of his early raps he talked about Farmers Boulevard. That was like hard cash, to be able to say you lived on the same street LL talked about in one of his songs, and to be able to back it up. “Christmas in Hollis,” by Run DMC. Another great song that really put us on the map—on the map, in the air, all around.
More than anything else, it was my neighborhood that defined me. I guess that’s true for a lot of people, but in my case it was a neighborhood that was crackling with heat and haste and energy. Things were popping in Hollis. That was where I first got my world view, where I developed the will to succeed, where I formed my first ideas about people, where I first got excited about something beyond cars, cash and clothes. Hell, it’s where I learned right from wrong— even if it took me a couple slips to tell the two apart. I didn’t need to hear it in a song for it to be a part of me, and I didn’t need some advertising copy writer to sell it to me, either. Like I said, it was in the air, and it would form the basis for everything that came next.
-- by Daymond John, Shark Tank star and FUBU founder , author also of The Brand Within: The Power of Branding from Birth to the Boardroom
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