John Henry, Viceland’s ‘Hustle’ host has a Bronx homecoming

John Henry (r) with Amaurys Grullon in Bronx Native.
Photo courtesy of Bronx Native

If one word describes self-made uptown entrepreneur John Henry, it would be hustle.

This 26-year-old sold his first million-dollar business at 21 while also earning a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and he’s no stranger to the Bronx.

Henry spent some years living on Davidson Avenue near Fordham during the 1990s, a time that the borough was ‘running wild’ in his own words.

Now he’s made a return to the Boogie Down Bronx for two episodes of his Viceland TV show, which is of course titled ‘Hustle.’

Executively produced by Alicia Keys, the crux of ‘Hustle’ is to have Henry step in to guide and steer NYC entrepreneurs in the right direction, doing so while riding around in his stylish Cadillac.

It was during the show’s first season that Henry saw firsthand how both Bronx Native clothing and the Port Morris Distillery are holding up in a rapidly changing south Bronx.

More than analyzing the two separate businesses, Henry also reflected on the direction that the borough is taking.

“Nobody knows what the Bronx will look like in 10 years,” Henry said, mentioning the importance that affordable housing will play in the borough’s development.

He pointed out the ‘tricky challenges’ that the Bronx will be facing when it comes to the inevitable crossroads of maintaining authentic culture versus profit.

“Coming back I could still feel its culture. I would really like to see the street culture maintained. It is the birthplace of hip hop after all,” Henry said, suggesting that street art in public spaces could be one way to make that happen.

“But not in a fake way,” the Dominican entrepreneur added.

As far as authenticity goes, Henry had nothing but love for the crew at Bronx Native. As a matter of fact, it was one of his favorite episodes to shoot.

“Those guys are the real deal, I like them a lot,” Henry said.

In return, the Bronx showed Henry some love as well, especially in anticipation of the episode’s watch party at the distillery on the night of Sunday, March 3.

Well-known Bronx chalk muralist Maria Oben even worked up a mural of Henry in the days before the Bronx Native episode’s debut.

“That was the first time someone made a mural of my face,” Henry laughed over.

He noted that a quarter of Hustle’s first season took place in the Bronx, and how exciting it would be to return for a second season if the series is renewed.

“The Bronx definitely showed up with love and support,” Henry said. “It’s a place where people make a whole lot out the situation they were dealt,” the self-made entrepreneur concluded.

Season one of Viceland’s ‘Hustle’ wraps up at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 31, don’t miss out.

Maria Oben’s chalk mural of John Henry.
Photo courtesy of Bronx Native

More from Around NYC

>