By Jan Worth-Nelson
Editor’s note: East Village Magazine (EVM), along with the Flint community, mourn the loss of Oaklin Mixon due to COVID. Oaklin was an entrepreneurial force and friend to all. To honor Oaklin EVM offers this brief narrative written in 2017 by Jan Worth-Nelson from an interview with Oaklin as a part of the “Flint Folks” portrait project produced by Kansas City photographer Dan White, a Flint native. EVM sends condolences and love to Oaklin’s family and friends. A GoFundMe has been set up for Oaklin’s children and family.
Oaklin Mixon, 33, is staining new shelves in the bright new retail space for his company, Good Boy Clothing. It’s fragrant with fresh paint, on the second story of a downtown building, and he never stops as he talks about Flint.
He “just kind of landed here” at 13 in a foster-care arrangement from Niagara Falls, New York. But something happened as the boy grew up.
“I fell in love with Flint,” he says. “It’s a blank canvas where you get to create. We can be original here.”
“What people don’t understand about Flint is you can start fresh,” he says. “This city creates pioneers, I really believe that.”
Noting how fashion is deeply entwined with hip hop culture, Mixon, the father of five, taught himself to sew and installed a row of sewing machines. There he and others will design and create the clothes for Good Boy as he also encourages young musicians and artists. He aims to fuse hip hop culture with social awareness, benefiting others through business, art, and music. He’s a “culture-maker,” he says.
He’s optimistic and undaunted by likely challenges as he prepares for the opening of his store this year. “Hardships teach resilience, “ he says. “Obstacles are made to be overcome – that’s my belief.”
He steps back to check his work on the glossy shelves. He smiles. “I’ll keep those hardworking roots of a factory town,” he says, “but I’ll do it in an artistic way.”
EVM Consulting Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at email@example.com.