Meet Dean: a young man on a mission to teach people across Boston to be proud of themselves, their heritage, and their worth. What started out as a personal project, soon evolved holding the gaze of those who caught glimpse of the meticulously crafted hat Dean wears honoring his hometown with HP at the forefront. It was easy to recognize the genuine passion he has for his mission and it was truly a pleasure to hear it for myself. I hope our readers will as well.
What is your goal for Hyde Park Pride?
To bring recognition and attention to all the great things happening in Boston, and I figured I would start with somewhere that is important to me: Hyde Park . We all know how great this city is and how much pride there is, specifically within the individual neighborhoods. There are people doing great things here and I want to showcase it to the world. Our city is great and I want to inspire us to be loud and proud about where we’re from and what we represent.
What led you to do this work?
It really started when I wet to a Roxbury vs Dorchester basketball game in the summer of 2016 . There were so many people there that the game actually needed to end early. But while I was there, I noticed that the Dorchester and Roxbury fans had all this gear repping their neighborhoods and I wanted something like that for Hyde Park.
I asked my friends and nobody knew of anyone who had gear like that for us. Being from Hyde Park, I’ve always felt like it was the forgotten step child of Boston. I wanted to change that because I knew how great of a community it really was.
I made some sketches and got the help of a friend who is a designer. She helped me perfect the design to the point where I was comfortable making a hat for myself. That was really my only intention in the beginning: to have something for myself. If people asked for one, I planned on giving it to them for free. It was actually my girlfriend that motivated me to make more and sell it.
What do you enjoy most about it?
It has nothing to do with the sales or money, and everything to do with seeing people really enjoy the hat. It’s one thing for friends and family to support me by wearing the hat, but it was especially gratifying when strangers started stopping me to ask about the hat.
What do you think is most important for people of color in Boston to know?
This experience started because I made something for me that I truly believed in. From there, it just grew on its own. Everyone wants to rush growth. If you have a good product, the people will come and they will latch onto the message and product.
You can’t do it on your own
Originally, I had sketched out a logo that I thought was good. I’m glad I got the help of a professional. My friend who is a designer really helped me out by perfecting it. Her skills were essential and I couldn’t have done it with out her. My strength wasn’t in design, so I sought out help from someone who did have that skill.
I also didn’t spread the word on my own. I was lucky enough to have so many family and friends that helped spread the message. We all have these large networks, and our friends have all these great talents which they are ready to share. We should be utilizing that
If you had a message to send to young people of color in Boston, what would it be?
There’s so much that I would want to say, but if I had to pick one, it would be: ask questions and constantly be inquisitive. The question “why” is so underutilized. I heard “you can’t” so often growing up, and whenever I asked “why”, the answers were never sufficient.
What is your favorite small business in Boston and why?
It’s Mathmatik Athletics. It’s an athletics brand that makes jerseys for schools in Boston. They’ve now grown to provide sneakers and other stuff too. The CEO and founder, Peter Edouard, is a great guy with a great message. I’ve really come to trust his judgement and his advice has been truly helpful.
How do you work to uplift people of color in our communities and/or how does your business?
Part of the entire message behind the company is helping people be proud of their heratiage, where they came from, and their past. I can’t think of anyone this is more important for than people of color.