jessica forsyth executive director of hhf and jonthan mannion celebrity photographer

Flashback to 1994: a charismatic youth making a name for himself in skateboarding circles around Lower Manhattan. Harold Hunter grew up in the projects, but the Lower East Side’s Campos Plaza, where Hunter lived with family members after losing his mother, served only as a dismal backdrop to the colorful life blossoming around the budding local celebrity.

Before long, VIPs were befriending Hunter as he established his own notoriety through an association with Zoo York, modeling for Tommy Hilfiger, and filming the NYC-themed coming-of-age film, “Kids”.

derrick b. harden _dear derrick_ (far left)  skateboard_poppington_gallery

Now 20 years later, the skateboard community came together to celebrate the legacy of Hunter and although his contagious spirit abound, what remained of him was a lively narrative revealed through a closely-held collective of photos, memories, and video footage. After Hunter died in 2006 at the age of 31, his friends, family, and admirers were left only with animated stories and well-documented imagery of the late skateboarder.

jessica forsyth, camron, juju  Dave Ortiz founder of dqm and owner of daves wearhouse with ron hunter, harold hunters brother

In honor of his 40th birthday, the Harold Hunter Foundation held a private cocktail reception in conjunction with Director Larry Clark and Music Executive Damon Dash at the Poppington Gallery on April 2nd. Led by Ron Hunter, supporters and friends exchanged laughs and great vibes over beer and catered appetizers. Downstairs, a screening of Hunter’s never-before-seen footage displayed a bouyant reflection of him that resonated with much of the crowd.

Onlookers included actress Rosario Dawson, who befriended Hunter as a teen and starred alongside him in “Kids”. The evening closed with a champagne toast by streetwear icon Dave Ortiz, followed by an after party that was open to the public.

damon dash, mama jones, jim jones

Other attendees included actor Jonny Abrahams, rappers Cam’ron and Jim Jones, reality star Mama Jones, downtown’s sweetheart Vashtie Kola, pro skateboarders Black Dave and Jefferson Pang, photographers Tobin Yellan and Todd Jordan, art curator Derrick B. Harden, Amy Gunther of KCDC, and the Foundation’s Director of Programs Jessica Foresyth.

The VIP reception was sponsored by Franco Vitella, beverages from Pabst Blue Ribbon and Fred Water as well as sweets by Baked by Melissa. Other sponsors include SupremeZoo YorkSamurai New York and Only Popcorn.

– Tracey Lewis