Minneapolis Entrepreneur Houston White Is Building New Community Spaces for Black Culture to Thrive


April 3, 2024

He’s redefining the future of his hometown neighborhood, Camdentown!

Houston White isn’t your average philanthropist.  He’s on a mission to redefine what it means to empower a community, and his groundbreaking “Mixtape Strategy” is changing the landscape of Minneapolis‘ Camdentown neighborhood. In an exclusive interview with Because of Them We Can, Houston shared his vision for a future where Black communities not only survive, but thrive.

White isn’t a fan of the status quo, particularly in philanthropy. “Philanthropy, the way it’s been done, specifically in communities of color, is broken,” he says. “We end up having a lot of Black faces out front, but the power brokers in the back don’t look like us,” he states. His mission: to “democratize” philanthropy by ensuring Black voices are heard at the decision-making table.


The Mixtape Strategy isn’t just a catchy name; it’s a philosophy. “Even the name denotes how we’re going about trying to create social change. Just like a dope restaurant in the urban setting,” Houston explains, “If you got good food, it don’t matter if you cook it in your kitchen or your garage, people come in.” It’s about creating social change with cultural fluency, ensuring initiatives resonate with the community they’re designed to serve.

The Mixtape Strategy unfolds in phases, each one building on the success of the last. Phase one saw the renovation of Houston White Men’s Room barbershop, a cornerstone of the community. Phase two brought Camdentown Flats, a housing development project.


Now, with Phase 3, Houston is reaching for the next level.  A new three-story commercial space named Camdentown Connection will serve as a cultural hub, fostering collaboration and innovation.  This vibrant space will feature Bruce Leroy’s Pizzeria. There will also be a non-profit sector focused on empowering small, diverse businesses. Houston White Enterprises will set up headquarters there, alongside much-needed community gathering spaces.

This project is more than bricks and mortar. It’s a testament to Houston’s unwavering belief in Black ownership and cultural vibrancy. “The whole goal for Camdentown was really to be a place of Black joy, vibrance, ownership, futurism,” he says. He emphasizes the importance of creating spaces where Black culture thrives and Black wealth flourishes.

Camdentown Connection isn’t just for the Black community, though. It’s a place for people of all backgrounds to connect and celebrate. “The goal is to get people of all different backgrounds and socioeconomic realities to realize that the inner city is a muse for business, for art, for social, emotional, mental health,” Houston explains. “Camdentown Connection is really about bringing together people who want to find a new way forward.”


Houston’s vision extends beyond Camdentown Connection.  He highlights the importance of collaboration, citing US Bank, United Properties, and the Black-led architecture firm LSE as key partners who understand the impact this project can have. Their expertise and investment are crucial to the success of the Mixtape Strategy.

Houston’s journey is a testament to the power of community. His introduction to United Properties, for example, stemmed from his advocacy for genuine community engagement. “Big white developers are going to have a hard time in America connecting and saying, oh, we’re going to come in and help you build your community when you guys don’t have no examples,” he says. He proposed the Mixtape Strategy, a strategy built on building trust and credibility before seeking investment.

Houston White is more than a community leader; he’s a visionary, a bridge-builder, and a cultural architect. Through the Mixtape Strategy, he’s not just rebuilding a neighborhood; he’s redefining what it means to create a thriving, inclusive community. As he says, “We bought the block, and then we’re going to build the block.”


Cover photo: Minneapolis Entrepreneur Houston White Is Building New Community Spaces for Black Culture to Thrive / Courtesy of Houston White

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