NBC’s TODAY Show: From Rapper to Prison Inmate to Businessman, Paoli Native is Paying It Forward


Darrell Alston, a former rapper from Paoli who started the luxury sneaker brand Bungee Oblečení after leaving prison, wants to help people in similar circumstances, reports Steve Patterson for NBC’s TODAY show.

rapper sneakers
Darrell Alston’s sketches.

During his time behind bars, the Conestoga High School graduate envisioned a sneaker brand. He sketched more than 250 design possibilities, which he later turned into shoes.

Things really took off for him after a chance encounter with boxing legend Bernard Hopkins.

The two bonded over a shared history — they were both incarcerated in the same prison (although years apart) — and had the same drive.

Hopkins was especially inspired by the fact that Alston did not get talked out of his vision.

“Everybody got all the dreams when you’re in there. But what do you do when you get out?” he said.

Today, Alston wants to pay forward what his mentor did for him.

“I want to be able to help other people like me,” he said, “that are either incarcerated or that just need help to be able to create a business.”

Read more about Darrell Alston’s Bungee Oblečení at NBC’s TODAY show.