A star-judge from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank was in Jamaica Thursday night to share how growing up in Queens played a role in his success.
Hollis-born Business mogul Daymond John showed some borough pride when he spoke at York College in Jamaica on Thursday.
“They always say something is in the water in Queens, with RUN-DMC and LL Cool J,” said John. The judge from the hit show "Shark Tank" spoke with Queens Library Hip-Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels about his new book: “The Power of Broke.”
“When growing up in Queens, and any place, if you use the advantage of the 'Power of Broke,' you don't have any choice at that matter, so you either have to hate it or tap into it," said John. "It made me go out there and pull everybody together that I knew to help me out, because I didn't have money."
He says many people right here in the borough helped him thrive when the going got tough, in a shark-eat-shark business world.
"I think that it's not that there's something in the water," said John. :There are a lot of mentors in Queens. It started off with Russell Simmons, but then you had LL Cool J, Salt n' Pepa, Tribe Called Quest. We had a lot of mentors right there in our face that could show us that there is a path to success.”
John says he didn’t let dyslexia or a $40 budget stop him from turning FUBU into a $6 billion dollar fashion empire in the '90s.
Local leaders say it’s important for the community and young people in particular to learn his story.
"He is the manifestation of what they can be in their life," said La Toro Yates, director of admissions at York College.
"He's a neighborhood gentleman who has done extremely well," added Dennis Walcott, president and CEO of Queens Library.
York College students were thrilled to hear words of business wisdom from the star.
"I have a fashion venture I'm so excited about starting when I graduate," said Aaisha Joseph, president of York College's Entrepreneurship Club.
McDaniels says Daymond John's visit is just one part of his plan to revive the hip hop community in Queens.
“We created some programming that will go throughout the 65 libraries that exist in the Queens Library System," said “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, who also founded Video Music Box, "from the art of DJing, to the art of breakdancing, the art of graffiti.”
"I'm a product of this amazing environment. I want them to know they can do it as well," said John.
The fashion mogul told attendees that McDaniels is a lifelong mentor. He says it's living proof that where you come from can be a powerful engine for success.