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Guide to the Listen to This: Crown Heights Oral History collection 2010.020

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 22, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

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Phillip, Kevin, 2010 May 10

Biographical / Historical

Born in Trinidad in 1971, Kevin Phillip was raised by his parents in Brooklyn's Canarsie neighborhood and by his grandmother at Tivoli Towers, an apartment complex in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. He played basketball in high school but was also engaging in criminal business outside of classes. He dropped out of the eleventh grade to work, achieving a certificate in General Education Development (GED) later. Workplaces included Burger King, Waldbaum's grocery store and a messenger service. After taking a course at the Fashion Institute of Technology at twenty-one, he began creating and selling designs on t-shirts. In his early twenties, Phillip moved in with a friend in Crown Heights. An ex-convict, he established his own clothing retail shop, About Time Boutique, in 2008. Since the interview in 2010, the clothing store has closed. He went into business with his wife to open Candy Rush, a candy and ice cream shop, in 2011. That store closed in 2013. Phillip is the father to three boys and one girl and has spoken at public forums to encourage teens to become entrepreneurs.

Scope and Contents

In the interview, Kevin Phillip speaks generally about trouble he caused as child while staying with his grandmother in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. He discusses factors that led him to drop out of high school, including entry-level jobs, a business that was on the wrong side of the law and a basketball injury. Phillip acknowledges the gentrification of Crown Heights, particularly Franklin Avenue. It was there, between Sterling and Park Places, where he established his first retail clothing shop. Phillip talks vaguely about his time in prison, but emphasizes the lessons he's learned. He talks about his effort to mentor to the youth community of Brooklyn, including a forum at Long Island University to introduce teens to the idea of small business ownership. Finally, Phillip talks about the challenging balance between family and business obligations. Interview conducted by Ansie Montilus, Monica Parfait and Alex Kelly.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to the interview is available onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Phillip, Kevin

Subject Organizations

  • Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)
  • Tivoli Towers (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • African American neighborhoods -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Businessmen -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ex-convicts -x Rehabilitation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Fashion design -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Mentoring in business -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Work-life balance -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Youth -- Conduct of life

Subject Places

  • Canarsie (New York, N.Y.)
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Franklin Avenue (Brooklyn, N.Y.)