Tell us about your life's work.
I’m an inspired entrepreneur, who discovered a unique niche in the world of craft bartending. I entered this world inspired by the creativity and passion I encountered, mesmerized by the stories and history. I became determined to leave my mark, especially when I realized the extreme lack of representation of African Americans. Three highly recognized mixology bars later, I've touched so many lives, heavily influenced the dining and drinking culture in Harlem, launched the careers of numerous successful black bartenders and brought so many incredible people together to build their own legacies.
How does your sense of pride inform what you do?
I'm so proud to be who I am: a first-generation black man with family from the Caribbean. Yale educated, but also a student of the proverbial ‘streets’, willing to take the huge risk of leaving a golden ticket of a career as a corporate marketer to pursue my vision. I'm committed to continuing to bring my unique vision to the world now with the launch of my new ginger beer, Uncle Waithley’s, and a line of Caribbean beverages.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I've already left my mark in Harlem. I brought artisanal coffee and craft cocktails to the neighborhood and inspired many other entrepreneurs. I'm planning to expand my mark with Uncle Waithley's. I also want to be recognized for bringing lost stories of Black history in the Americas to the forefront through inclusion of those stories in my work. I want to have a legacy of inspiring people and bringing them together to create their own legacies. I've taken a unique path in going from ‘big business’ to ‘small business.’ I've learned so much and have a unique perspective that I'm eager to share. I've survived the Great Recession and the pandemic and overcome so many obstacles to build my business. I'm planning to write a few books and to continue to do as many talks and appearances as I can to share what I've learned.
What's your take on classic style?
I'm definitely a classic man. I don't feel compelled to chase every trend, preferring to go with good, sturdy, solid looks that last.
What’s your favorite artisanal spirit everyone should try?
Right now, I'm all about supporting Black-owned so top of my list is Uncle Nearest 1856 premium whiskey. It's so freaking good and has an incredible backstory and legacy.