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Humans of New York Feature

by Olu Hassan on October 12, 2021
I wanted to go to the NBA like everyone else. I played sun-up to sun-down. But I’m 4’11,” huskier than a muthafucka. It wasn’t happening, sir. So I opened up a sneaker store with the kid who caught Barry Bond’s 756th homerun. But then my Aunt Lucy passed and I was over at her crib, cleaning out her closet. I’m reaching up for the top shelf and mad shit fell on me, one of them is a cookbook. Two recipes popped out: ratatouille and vanilla ice cream. Now I don’t know what the fuck is ratatouille, so I says let me see what this ice cream be about. I had no machine, no nothing. I put the ingredients into a bowl and popped it in the freezer. It was trash. So I was like we gotta change this. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got a tabletop ice cream machine, and then it was like: ‘Oh, I see what this is.’ People started coming over to my crib. They’re saying: ‘Mikey, this ice cream is damn good.’ Then somebody told my mom that I was an ice cream man now, and I wasn’t gonna sell weed no more. She got so excited I was like: ‘Shit, now I gotta open up a shop.’ I’m gonna be honest—I thought it was put the scoop in a cup. But it’s a whole bunch of other shit too. I got no line of credit, no nothing. I just use whatever cash is coming into the register. Every time I run out the bill collectors come and throw stones at me. If Ben and Jerry’s grew up in the hood, that’s what we’re dealing with here. But we’ve been open for eight years. Black Enterprise Magazine called this place a ‘safe haven.’ You know how every gangsta’s got a grandma saying: ‘Sit down baby, have some food.’ That’s what this about. It’s bigger than ice cream. I grew up two blocks from here, so on Thanksgiving I’m blasting out hot food in the projects: turkeys, sandwiches, mashed potatoes. We put on for the community. That’s what we do. Cause if you ain’t doing it for the community, that means you’re taking. We like family here. My employees are like my kids. That’s why I stay blessed. I’m gonna put one of my shops in every neighborhood. Imagine how many kids I’m gonna take off the streets. I'll take em' from pants saggin' to: ‘Welcome to Mikey Likes It.’”
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