If you live in DC and haven’t heard of Kevin ‘Unkle Scooty’ Hallums, more than likely you’re new in town. I actually met Hallums for the first time during my interview with LeGreg Harrison for our feature on The Museum. When I was first asked if I was interested in speaking with Scooty, I agreed since I was already there. I hadn’t heard of him or knew who he was; but within moment of him walking into the room, his presence made me think, “okay, maybe he’s a big deal.”
My premonition was correct. As an entrepreneur, emcee of the cities largest and only Urban Earth Day festival, founder of Premium Co., Unkle Scooty is a household name within the Urban Community of Washington D.C. He is a walking testament of how a vision and dream can take you from a local D.C kid, to a businessman and local public figure.
The name ‘Scooty’ was always Hallums’ nickname, until a friend added ‘Unkle’ and the rest is history. Growing up in D.C during the 80s and early 90s the city was still labeled the “Murder Capital”, Scooty described the presence of drugs, violence, and poverty as everyday life. This upbringing not only helped him develop a business mindset, but served as motivation to become more than a businessman, but a businessman with his own entities.
“[Growing up in D.C. back in the 90’s] can take you in so many directions and can play at so many emotions. [As I started to] get deep into business, I realized that it’s very much like being in the street. If you can survive and overcome all those things, then business should be second nature and life in general is seen through a different scope.” – KH
Although he’s fairly new the entrepreneurial life, Unkle Scooty has always been heavily involved in the community. Combining his passions for working in creative fields and preserving the culture of D.C., Kevin served as a full-time administrator at a local District school and hosted the George Washington University radio show, Funkadelic Freestyle , before concentrating on building his own brands.
In the 2000s, Hallums devised a plan to work with, and create events that targeted the unique millennial community within the city; Rock Creek Social Club was one of the first ventures produced from this vision. Since inception, the Club has worked with some of the top brands in the lifestyle and entertainment arena including: Crown Royal, BET, Soul Cycle, the W Hotel, Reebok and more. A brainchild between Hallums and his business partner Jerome Baker III, RCSC is a full service creative and lifestyle organization responsible for some of the city’s most famous events including: The Grilled Cheese Social, F.A.M.E., and Broccoli City Festival. All these events plus the countless others under the organization work together to unite the city by celebrating individual differences and similarities in respect to fashion, art, music, and entertainment. Since the Club’s initial creation several years ago, it continues to remain one of D.C.’s top creative and lifestyle brands. In addition, it continues to develop events and activities catering to many communities overlooked in the city. From the hipster kid with dirty vans and a bike lock in their pocket, to the guy in a suit who works on The Hill, Scooty (along with Rock Creek Social Club) prides himself on creating things any Washingtonian can enjoy and relate to.
“One thing about the [Grilled Cheese Social] is that it’s for everyone. Anyone can enjoy it. There’s no VIP, no dress-code, and no judgment. That’s why people love it.”
Premium Co., a men’s clothing brand, is another project Scooty is involved in. The brand offers unique pieces currently on shelves in some of the hottest retailers out right now like the DOPE shop of Los Angeles and Monumental, based in Richmond, Virginia. Premium Co. has been featured on CBS WUSA 9’s D.C weekday morning show Great Day Washington, Complex Magazine, The Washingtonian, Northern Virginia Magazine, and the Washington Business Journal. The brand’s pop-up events at Union Market have always been a continuous hit receiving attention from What Do I Wear, Guest of Guest, and The Fab Empire.
“Premium Co was started in 2011 by my partners Tyler Hundley and Davin Gentry. I joined the team in 2013 originally as help for sales & marketing. Premium was transitioning from jewelry to men’s essential clothing company. Being that they were starting a new chapter in the company’s story, it was almost perfect timing for me. Within the first 2 months we were traveling the country planting seeds that would build an amazing network. After a year I would become managing partner.”
While both Rock Creek Social Club and Premium Co. are booming, Scooty is best known for hosting the Broccoli City Festival. He has hosted the event since its birth four years ago, sharing the stage with Erykah Badu, Big KRIT, Future, Camron, Jhene Aiko, and many other artists who have graced the Broccoli City stage. As the popularity of the festival grows, so does the brand that is “Unkle Scooty”.
“Other than Trillectro, there were no other festivals in D.C. that catered specifically to Millennials or had a message behind it. So, when we were approached by Broccoli City to host a music festival [Rock Creek Social] was all for it. We felt as though an event like this was needed in the city. If you think about it, D.C. is a major city…but not a lot of people think of it as a major attraction spot. [Broccoli City Festival] provided a means for people to finally see D.C. as an all-around dope place to be.”
Scooty makes sure to keep in mind he has younger kids looking up to him. Inspiring the next generation continues to be one of his top priorities. He regularly speaks on school panels and is always around to lend an ear and share advice to young students. When asked what advice he would give to someone looking to make it in the city and/or start their own business Hallums said:
“Respect, honesty, credibility, and loyalty will carry you a long way (in D.C) [it] is a melting pot. Almost like a baby NYC as it pertains to culture. So many people from so many different places all over the world migrate to our city every single day. Accepting these people and being open to change makes us better individuals because growth comes from experience and exposure.”
Keep up with Unkle Scooty –
Social Media @unklescooty