One of the major perks of my current job is that I learn a TON about all things New York City in a very short period of time – and am regularly inspired. In honor of Black History Month, Hip Hop branding mogul, Orville Hall from Hollis, Queens came to my office today with some friends and family from his neighborhood to talk about the history of hip hop and how hip hop culture is giving back to communities all over New York City. Hip hop celebs like RunDMC, Jam Master Jay, Russell Simmons, Ja Rule, and LL Cool J all hail from this tiny neighborhood in southwest Queens – kind of a big deal ….
Orville has brought his investment in time and money back to his neighborhood. Formerly an Adidas marketing executive (an amazing story how he got that gig), he left his job with Adidas to open up Hollis Famous Burgers as an homage to hip hop and as a community space. Hollis Burgers not only serves delicious food, it is filled with hip hop memorabilia (including RunDMC’s first platinum and gold records), and is a place for people in the community of all ages, backgrounds, income levels, and races to come together over the common bond of music so deeply ingrained in the Hollis fabric. He is incredibly generous with his time and resources – he even offers Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving to anyone who stops by his restaurant.
Last fall, I went out to Hollis on a Saturday with a number of co-workers to clean up a local park and had the pleasure of meeting Orville, ate at Hollis Famous Burgers, and took a neighborhood tour. Orville and others all around the city are truly the catalyst to preserving the identity of neighborhoods and bringing about economic change through their investment and spirit. To learn more about Orville and how he’s giving back to Hollis, check out this Daily News Article.
Orville Hall and Chef Raven at Hollis Famous Burgers