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Meet Donald Vincent of Mr. Hip in Boyle Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Donald Vincent.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Donald. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I kicked my way out of my mom’s womb. I’m partly joking. I got to where I am today because I never gave up on myself, my dreams, and what I believe in. Every no you receive should fuel the energy for the next yes.

I grew up in Southeast, Washington, DC. Because I grew up in this part of the city, I was always treated differently from my private school teachers and principals, classmates and their parents, you name it. I was even treated differently by the people who lived in my same community because I went to private school. I’ve always loved books and learning. It wasn’t until I was old enough to learn that I grew up in a book desert where I equated the different vibes about access to books, education, and privilege.

Being treated differently because the place you call home is synonymous with crime, drugs, and poverty is a heavy burden to carry. But this would eventually go on to prepare me for how I would be treated as a black man in institutional settings.

I’ve had the opportunity to work some amazing jobs which my grandma would equate with the grace of God, but I always interrupt and say I’m busting my ass too. My first job as a summer intern with the United States Supreme Court was eye-opening. The older people of color in the workplace worked as elevator operators pushing floors for law clerks, justices, and visitors alike. Only one black justice though. I’ve worked at a book bank where an 8th-grade teacher once took majority of our donated Dr. Seuss Books reserved for younger children because that was the reading level of her class. I’ve spent my time in the trenches working for the government where I once had two supervisors, did two different jobs, and got paid one salary.

Because of where I’m from, I’ve always had to work harder than the next person. Because of my experiences and the people I’ve met, they push me to be the best version of myself possible. With luck, some grace of a higher being, and hard work, I can now say I’ve made it and for me that just means being present and in the moment.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s not life if it’s a smooth road. I’ve had my fair share of obstacles. I think always creating new connections with people is difficult. I’ve lived in Washington, DC for majority of my childhood. Moved to Baltimore for college. The transition from there to Boston was hard because I didn’t know too many people and it was a totally different culture. The same thing happened when I moved to New York and then Los Angeles.

One of the biggest struggles I’ve faced so far is leaving my government job. I was miserable, overworked, and discriminated against on a daily basis. I stayed in this position because the job market wasn’t too friendly and I didn’t have a fallback plan. I eventually took the leap and it was liberating. The job I had lined up didn’t come through and I didn’t know what was next.

In the same week, one of my closest friends was killed. I left the country (because I felt as though he would’ve wanted that for me) and upon my return, I realized that the past builds our character to help us craft a better future. I took this energy into my daily mantra and never looked back. I’ve had some struggles since then, but it’s been pretty much smooth sailing.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a self-starter first. I create and share stories through writing. As a recording artist, I am proud of being able to provide plant-based music to the many vegans and veg-curious people in the world. As creative director of Le Pamplemuse, I’m happy to create cooking segments for people to build a sense of community and unity around food. As a professor, I’m proud of instilling inclusive rhetoric practices in my students. And as a writer, I’m proud of Convenient Amnesia, my first book being out in the world.

What sets me apart from others is my drive to tell unique and necessary stories.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Best: The weather

Least: Hmm.. traffic


  • $22.50 for a signed copy of Convenient Amnesia

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