Name: Vate Powell
Where do you live? South End Montclair
When did you move there? In 2005. I had lived in Montclair in the late 90’s, so it was an easy call when my wife and I were ready to leave Brooklyn.
Where did you grow up? Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was Venus Flytrap’s next door neighbor. (Not really.)
How do you make a living?
We have two Montclair-based businesses – Johanna Howard Home, which is a line of luxury home textiles designed by my wife and made in Peru and Portugal. It’s rooted in her home of Sweden with a multicultural flair like our dip-dyed alpaca throws. And our daughter created Rose + Co. Candlemakers when she was at Hillside. (She is heading into the 11th grade at MHS now.) We make soy-coconut wax scented candles and give each one a name and saying to promote positivity, inclusion, and empowerment. Black Girl Magic and 100% That Girl are our bestselling scents. Working with my wife and daughter is a good living and a great lifestyle!
Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee in the morning, usually at home because I don’t have time to wait for caffeine. INI Sips is a great black-owned roaster that I order from online. In the evening, I love a cup of roibos tea.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? A motorcycle ride up to Bear Mountain and then back home where a few friends come over for a barbecue and cocktails.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? Café MOSO. It’s so nice to have amazing food in walking distance from our house, and it’s still a secret to most of town so you can get a table!
What’s on your nightstand? Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (who wants to dream?), a photo by Sammy Davis Jr,. earbuds, and a phone charger.
What are you listening to?
I love so many kinds of music (used to DJ), but lately I’ve been gearing up for concerts I’m seeing this summer, so Allen Stone – Apart; Maritzaida – Boleros Clásicos; Grace Jones – Hurricane; Montclair’s own Maia Kamil – Good Life; and a lot of old school for hip-hop’s 50th anniversary including Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Monie Love, LL Cool J, Ludacris, Big Daddy Kane, Audio Two, Yo-Yo, Slick Rick, Rakim, Nas …
What are your current indulgences? I hang out with two local friends – one’s the scotch expert, one’s the beer expert, and I bring the bourbon. Our long and loud “tastings” are the perfect way to refill my tank!
What talent you would most like to have? I would love to play funk bass.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? The library. Everyone knows it for the books, but the digital collection and things like museum passes are also fantastic!
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? He was kind and made me laugh – a lot.