This is D3 The Concrete, bringing you fashion from the street.

Here is the kind of interview that I have been longing to do. An interview with a dreamer, a creative, a person who wanted to change the world around them for the better.

I present to you, in its entirety, my interview with Aaron Reinhardt, founder, and creator of the brand, Social Currency.

Italics: D3

BOLD: Aaron

 

Tell us about yourself.

       I AM Aaron Kelly Reinhardt, a natural born survivor who has a story to share through my testimony of experiences I lived in my 26 years of breathing.

 

Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?

I’m from Tacoma, WA. The city of Destiny where it always rains but we hold our heads high. I reside in Los Angeles where the vibes are bomb. 

 

Tell us a little about your life. 

       Growing up, I’ve always been told I was special and I was going to do something to change the world. That something is Social Currency and damn is it special. When I was born, my twin brother and I weighed one pound and eight ounces. Although we were five months early, we were right on time. I had three traits about myself that I still carry today as when I was a kid. Not only am I respectable, but I’m sociable and fashionable.

      I’ve always had a way with my words and made a lot of friends since I was constantly moving around due to my parent’s jobs as military veterans. I attended six different schools in total, therefore, [I always got to] exercise my social skills. Ever since I could remember, my mother always taught me presentation is everything. She made me feel as if the way I dressed spoke a different language than I could, so I had to dress to impress. One of the sayings that repeat in my head still, from my mother voice is, “just because you look nice doesn’t mean you’re smart, you can be dumb, too.” Thus education was a serious matter.

       As a kid, born and raised in Tacoma, WA, I figured the only options for survival were playing sports or gang-banging. Attending Gray Middle School, the Knoccoutz recruited me. We wore royal blue bandanas and we’re affiliated with the Crips. I got put on the set and thought I was the most ultimate banger alive! Being misjudged, I began trying to prove my gangsta by doing things to earn “stripes”, and getting into shit to show how down I was. Looking into a barrel of a gun almost cost my life and that was the moment I knew I needed to change my life around.

         I met an East Side Piru gang member named Lawrence Stone who my mother placed me in his mentoring program to see the pain I was creating in my household. Stone had told me stories about how he picked up Crips, threw them in the trunk, and took them to the little homies so they can do whatever it was they wanted to do. Also, [he told me] how he would send Bloods on a mission to kill Crips right in front of their mothers and family. Seeing the reality of real life while gang banging, Stone had asked me a question that forever changed my way I look at banging. He asked, “Aaron if you love your Black Nation, why are you creating genocide against your own people?” I sat there with a mug on my face, saying, “I do love my Black Nation. He responded with a stern look, “No you don’t. I’ll say it again, if you did, you wouldn’t create genocide against your own people.” It then dawned on me, I was my own destruction!

       This sudden epiphany made me change my life for the better. Of course, it wasn’t easy because all my friends were gang-related, selling drugs, or serving time behind bars. Even while walking such a dangerously fine line between good and bad, I had to pave my own way for the better. I used to think I could do a little bit of bad,  covered by a lot of good to make it fine but that’s the slimmest truth because misery loves company. I ran into these twins named Andrew and Alex Chang who forever changed my life because they were there in my transition period where I wanted to get away from the banger life and take my studies more seriously.

       What did the trick for me was when they asked me to come to their church to play basketball. “Bet!” I was there quicker than a flash. One day, the twins had asked me to come to service and I told them no, “I only come to play basketball, and leave the worshipping up to Y’all.” They pleaded with me to go and I gave in. That was the moment Heaven opened up its gates and showed me there was more to life. After being introduced to Jesus Christ, I started to attend more services and surround myself around positive individuals.

       This was my escape route to South Korea to teach Koreans kids how to speak English and what God was to me. Moving forward, I’ve been attending Tacoma Central Presbyterian Church for nine years and I’m honored to have had this experience to add to my story because if it wasn’t for the twins I wouldn’t be here to tell my story. Andrew (Drew) and Alex (Tookie) will always have a place in my heart.

Anything interesting that we should know?

       I’ve done astral projection three times in my life. I taught myself how to read when I was a sophomore in high school. I went to a Korean church for nine years. I love roller skating. I don’t like surprises, like someone jumping from around corners. Might catch a uppercut. I Grew up on WWF and playing Dynasty Warriors. I’m a Hopeless romantic. I had 720 credit score at the age of 21.

Tell us about your brand, Social Currency and how you came up with it.

       Social Currency is apart of a culture, TRU Hip-hop culture. Some say there’s six elements to Hip-hop. Just like King Kong was the eighth wonder of the world I will be the next element in Hip-Hop. I am here to build our network to increase our net worth. We all have a form of Social Currency in us; we have to tap into our potential by wearing our success and promoting positivity. The idea of the brand came about when my best friend, Michael and I were walking through the Tacoma Mall.  Mike, knowing I didn’t have a job yet, noticed I still was saying what’s up to everyone. Michael asked, “ how do you know all these people with a job but you don’t have one?” I said, “Man I’m trying to figure it out.” He then said, “Have you heard of Social Currency? It’s when you use your resources to better your situation, and you, Aaron, aren’t using your social currency.”

Then a few months passed and I met a lady name Arlene Phuang, who did fashion marketing, back in the day, with Eddie Bauer. She took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew about fashion, organic fabrics, and manufactured fabrics. From there on, Arlene would ask me, Aaron, do you want to be rich or create a legacy? With bright eyes, I exclaimed, “Can I have both, because I’m going to create a legacy?” Arlene then said, “Now that we have something, we have to keep going back to the drawing board to build success.”

Later, I partnered up with Devon Clark and Antonio Moore. Devon creates logos, while Antonio illustrated the number “102.” Devon comes to me one day and asked, “what’s up with Social Currency?” I told him I’m looking for someone to do my logo. He said, “Say no more I got you. I’ll bring something to you tomorrow morning.” When he came back the next day; from that moment on, since I first laid eyes on the logo I never changed or took anything away from it. It’s my baby! It became a part of me. Last, but not least, my boy Antonio. He was able to make a concept for Social Currency out of numerology. We put the number 47 and 55 together. 47 is the hood I’m from and also the person who brings all the pieces of a puzzle together and who is the coordinator of [things and events]. Whereas, 55 is more of an introvert who recharges their energy to continue one’s creativity. Adding those numbers resulting in 102, which represents infinite potential.

Who are some people who you have been able to encounter on the strength of the brand? Celebrities? Public figures?

Some of the people I’ve encountered with my brand is DJ VIP from All Money In, No Money Out, alongside Team VIP, Blu from Blu&Exile, OG Bruce from Six Owe(Rollin 60’s) Crip, Miguel, Dag Savage, and Omah Fat.

Where are you at this stage of building Social Currency?

Social Currency for me right now is getting past the family and friends stage. Going to L.A. helped form my identity around my brand and gave me a deeper meaning that showed how universal I can be. As of now, I’m back in Tacoma creating a solid team around me, plus more content to build with, because Social Currency is bigger than life and I realized I need everyone’s involvement to put the move, in movement.

 

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