CAMDEN – The kids of Camden don’t know how many great people come to their town, Rashaan Hornsby believes, but he’s determined to show them – and help some of them achieve their own greatness.
An entrepreneur and educator, Hornsby has opened a boutique in his Parkside neighborhood, Magic on Haddon, where he sells up-front clothing and accessories, most of which are created by local designers. Upstairs, it has a recording studio for its Visionary Entertainment clients, as well as a screen printing shop.
On a recent weekday, Hornsby and his friend Ernest Ford talked about their collaboration on Camden Great, a short children’s book highlighting five people whose Camden roots propelled them to greatness: chef Aaron McCargo, athletes American track and field athletes Patti Dunlap-Patouhas and Dwight Ruff, football player John C. Brown and music producer Leon Huff.
It’s the first of at least five in a series, all meant to show how many people with connections to Camden have achieved success in their lives and careers.
“A lot of urban kids think entertainment and sports” are the best routes to success, Hornsby said, but he hopes the books, while acknowledging the likes of Mike Rozier (Heisman Trophy winner and running back of the NFL) and Huff (who built Philadelphia International Records with his partner Kenny Gamble), will help broaden the perspectives of children.
“We have entrepreneurs and politicians, doctors and people who do a lot for the community,” he said: People like Theodore Davis, Washington C. Hill, Barbara Ingram… We want it to have an impact and empower young people.”
Hornsby, who mentors young people interested in fashion, entertainment and entrepreneurship, is also teaming up with Terina Hill, a Camden-based fashion designer and educator, on the Fashion Icon Makers Challenge. The competition, open to Camden County designers ages 11-21, will offer two $250 seed grants, studio space to design a mini-collection, and the opportunity to sell that collection to Magic on Haddon. (Deadline is April 1.)
Ford, a Howard University graduate and full-time artist who grew up in Washington, D.C., illustrated the books and designed clothing, furniture, and the interior of Magic on Haddon, the latter featuring a series of characters from cartoons from classics like Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones, and Tom & Jerry to contemporaries like Tina Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers” and Finn and Jake from “Adventure Time.”
The two friends not only plan to continue the book series – volume 2 is in production – they have also launched a line of Camden Great branded clothing: t-shirts, hoodies, bags and more intended to give people a way to show off their hometown pride.
“We want black and brown kids to know where they come from have so much greatness,” Hornsby said. “And we want to honor those legends while they’re still around, and give kids a glimpse of all those people who are doing amazing things here.”
For more information on Magic on Haddon or Camden Great books and apparel, visit https://camden-great.myshopify.com. For more information on the Fashion Icon Designer Challenge, visit https://www.terinanicole.com/ and click on the “Fashion Icon” tab.
Phaedra Trethan has been a journalist and editor in South Jersey since 2007 and has covered Camden and surrounding areas since 2015, focusing on quality of life and social justice issues for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and the Daily Journal. She has lived in South Jersey since 1971. Contact her with comments, current advice or questions at [email protected]on Twitter @By_Phaedra, or by phone at 856.486-2417.
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