“As it relates to records specifically, I like to think it’s history for me, Black history,” Campbell says. “An expression of our culture, and in many ways, documenting Black history through music.”
HR Records (H.R. is short for “home rule”) is one of only a few dozen Black-owned record stores in the country. A native New Yorker, Campbell is a graduate of Howard University and spent several years working in higher education before opening his Brightwood shop in 2018. Now, he’s educating the world through music, via an expansive selection of jazz, soul and R&B records that fill HR’s Kennedy Street space.
When he’s not acquiring records, putting in hours at his shop or running his nonprofit group, Home Rule Music and Film Preservation Foundation, Campbell would spend the day with his family at some of his favorite spots around his Petworth-Brightwood neighborhood.
I have two boys who wake up real early. The first thing I’m going to do is personal hygiene stuff and then head to Büna Coffeehouse. A happy wife is a happy life. Büna is a coffee shop on Georgia Avenue. It’s Ethiopian, family-owned and we love going there. We’d get coffee for my wife and pastries for the kids.
Next up after that is a hike in Rock Creek Park. One of the great things is during covid we’ve been kind of rediscovering Rock Creek. We’re going to do a wonderful hike in Rock Creek Park at 16th Street by the tennis courts and head down those trails, which has really been fun. At one point during covid, those streets were blocked off and it was amazing.
From there, we’re going to head to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Any chance that we get to go there is culturally refreshing for us. We can’t spend the whole day in there like we always do, but at the very least, we’re going to hit that fourth floor, which is their culture [floor]. Their music and seeing the photography . . . it just reminds me of the great accomplishments that our people have done. And then we’re going to have lunch in [the museum’s] cafeteria, which we’ve done in the past pre-covid, and it’s been terrific.
After that, we’re back in our community. I love stopping at Everyday Sundae, which is this new sundae spot, incidentally, on Kennedy Street. And my boys seem to have a personal and business relationship with Mr. Charles [Foreman] who runs the place and owns it. They get what they want, and I don’t seem to get charged too much. I need to figure that out one of these days, but it’s really been great to have that sundae spot in the community.
And then, I’m going to sneak over to Anxo cidery. Anxo has been a good foundation on Kennedy Street and the Brightwood-Petworth community, and I would go over there and have one of their amazing ciders.
This is where I think this really becomes a family day. We’re going to go to Jazz in the Parks at the Parks at Walter Reed. They’ve been doing this for a couple years now and brought it back this past year. Walter Reed is going through this crazy construction, but there’s a [park] in the middle and it’s kind of sloped on a hill. They have this gazebo and it’s really ideal for music and events. Every chance we get we continue to go there for jazz and other events, and it’s a good way for the kids to run around and use some of their energy, and for us adults to sit back and enjoy some good music.
From there, we’re going to grab pizza from Timber Pizza Company. I’m a New Yorker, so it’s not the New York pizza [I was] accustomed to growing up, but amazing pizza. My kids go for the Pretty in Pepperoni, but my wife and I love the vegetable pizzas.
So this is where it gets fun for us. So dream day, two kids. We have grandparents in town and we are going out for a date night. My wife and I are leaving the kids at home and, as much as we’re going to try to hit the town, we’ll probably still be in bed early. There’s this wonderful art museum in Eckington that we’ve gone to a couple times called Stable. There’s one artist who is a fixture there, Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre. He’s Haitian American, went to Howard University, and he’s done some amazing work and it’s just beautiful. If we’re lucky, we’ll run into Ellington Robinson, another young and wonderful artist.
Then, my wife and I are going to go out for drinks and a late dinner at Mr. Braxton Bar & Kitchen on Georgia Avenue. It’s a terrific local spot, and they have amazing music in there when they do have music. And since, again, it’s grandparents [watching the kids], we’re going to do a nightcap. So we’re going to head back home after that, and there’s this wonderful [restaurant] that’s right around the corner from our house called DC Corazon. It’s a Spanish restaurant. We’re probably not going to have dinner, but we typically go there for drinks as much as we can, whenever we can.