Men on the Rise: DMV Edition

By now, y’all should know, DMV is the place to be! For the past few blogs I have been highlighting amazing women in the DM, but I wanted to switch things up and appreciate our men. Men that are from (or reside) in the DMV are different from the men everywhere else. They are truly one of a kind. The way they talk, act, and dress….they’re just different. In addition to all this, these men are some of the most hardworking and dedicated men I’ve come across. Their determination and hustle sets them apart from everyone else. With that being said, here are some Men on the Rise: DMV Edition.

1. Chidozie Onyima (@starschi_nhutch)

Mr. Chidozie Onyima is currently a third year, Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at Howard University College of Pharmacy. He is Nigerian, and native of Prince George’s County, MD. He graduated from Bowie State University in December 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology. At Bowie State, he and two of his classmates founded the HPV Youth Ambassador program. This is an initiative to raise the third dosage of the HPV vaccine in the Washington, D.C. area before new protocols for the vaccine were rolled out in 2018. This initiative has partnered with the D.C. Dept. of Health and DCPS. While at Howard he has participated in a number of organizations on campus, such as the Industry Pharmacists Organization, where he gained exposure to the pharmaceutical Industry.

One of his main interests is in the Commercial/Marketing functional area of Big Pharma. He believes that he can be able to make a difference in patient care process by exposing doctors and healthcare networks to the proper tools needed for optimal patient care. Pharmacy is not the only realm where Chidozie is passionate about, he also has a love for fitness and loves to help people attain their personal fitness goals. He recently started Personal training through his business– Doz of Fitness. Upon completion of his doctorate program, Chidozie hopes to use both of his passions as a vehicle to help individuals live healthy lives.

Chidozie is a Man on The Rise because he is living out his passion while making a difference. By now you all know, as an African, medicine is the preferred way for us to go, and we are often pressured to pursue. While some succumb to the pressure and do it despite not having a passion for it, for Chidozie, this had nothing to do with pressure. This was something he truly wanted, and he is making it happen. It’s truly inspiring to me, because it is beyond medicine for him. It’s the patients he helps, or the people he is inspiring to live better lifestyles. Pharmacy is just the beginning. He is just starting to take the world by storm.

2.David “Davyj” Abraham (@davyjthevirgo)

David (DavyJTheVirgo) Abraham is the CEO of The Lunch Table Blog Show LLC. He is originally from….., and a graduate of Towson University. During his junior year, he started TLT. He decided to start the show due to the fact that he couldn’t find a job as a TV host because he didn’t have any experience. Thus TLT was born. As he grew, he saw that many other people shared the same passion for media as he did. As a result he branched the organization to other colleges and universities in the DMV, and now PA! He is also a part time DJ, and motivational speaker. He currently works at Yelp DC as an account executive.

David is a Man on the Rise because instead of complaining about not having a seat at the table, he made his own! In creating TLT, not only did he give himself an outlet to express his passion for media, he gave others to do the same as well. He’s hardworking and serious about his craft, and that I commend. This is truly the beginning of a mogul!

photo by @getboxed

3. Emmanuel Zamba (@iamzamba)

Emmanuel Zamba, better known as “Zamba” was born and raised in the DMV, and is a first generation American in a Nigerian home. He began rapping in October 2009 as a past time, but it quickly became a passion once people began to gravitate towards his sound, and his flow.

Growing up he listened to R&B and the soulful sounds of Jodeci which influence him to this day. He would take the same topics and ideas from their music, and make it his own. Zamba is inspired by staying true to himself, and rapping about his insecurities to help others build on their own. Being the people person that he is, he enjoys entertaining and making people feel happy in general, whether it is through his lyrics, or his presence as a whole. Although his music has a lot of versatility, each song will still have a message regardless of the genre.

He wants his supporters to be able to relate to mistakes and understand that they are just lessons learned at the end of the day. He has performed over 100 times at several different places including A3C Music Festival, Howard theater, and  Filmore Silver Spring, . Zamba’s other interests include reading, writing treatments for videos, and listening to interviews to build and obtain information.

Emmanuel is a Man on the Rise because he IS music. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been about his music and perfecting his craft. Seeing him firsthand in the studio was truly inspiring to me, and it pushed me to push for my passion just as much as he pushes for his. His talent speaks for itself, and his authenticity just takes it to another level. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Emmanuel is going far.

photo by @earlthephotographer

4. Tarrance “Vonchase” Taylor @djvonchase

A Brooklyn, NY native, Tarrance grew up of West Indian and Midwest descent. He has had a history of music aptitude, originally being in various bands and chorus’ through his adolescent years. At the age of 17, he was accepted into Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, where he graduated with a B.S. in Radio and Audio Production. Now 26, he has become one of the fastest Rising DJs in the DMV area.

Tarrance started DJing in September 2015 under the tutelage of prominent DJs in the DMV area, as a result “VonChase” was born. He was able to quickly rise through the ranks, hosting and DJing some of the biggest events in the state of Maryland, some in excess of 2500 people. He most recently was able to DJ in St. Lucia, Mykonos, Greece, Ibiza, Spain and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as well as spin for artists such as Cardi B, PNB Rock, Yo Gotti and many others. He is currently a DJ for as well as a freelance Dj in the DMV area.

He also is the Curator of MimosaCity™️, a Brunch and Day experience that has housed 3,500 guests thus far. MimosaCity™️ has traveled to Washington, DC, NYC, Jamaica, and is rounding out with Philadelphia to end the year.
VonCHASE has no plans on stopping his takeover anytime soon.

Now, many may say I’m biased because Tarrance is my best friend, but when I say he is a Man on the Rise, I mean it 1,00000%. He is one of THE most hardest working Djs. I remember when he first wanted to start djing, and to where he is now, it is truly amazing to witness. He worked hard and created a lane for himself, not only on the Dj scene, but with his Mimosa City events. The Vonchase experience is truly like no other. I am truly proud of him, and I can’t wait for you all to see the heat he’s got coming!

5. Oluwatobi Odukoya (@heytobs)

Tobi, popularly known as Heytobs, is the CEO of Heytobs Photography. Hailing from Maryland, his passion for photography started in middle school. He had a desire to own a camera and capture moments of anything and everything. His big sister (shoutout to her because she helped birth the GOAT) purchased HIM a Nikon coolpix L110 for Christmas. His passion only progressed from there. 

He aspires to have his images seen across the world. He wants his images to grasp his viewer’s attention through angles, contrast, and vibrance. 
His style is pretty unorthodox from the normal Fashion/Editorial photographer, and you can see it through his images. He’s a huge fan of taking images from various angles so that the visuals can be viewed in more than one way.

Tobi is a Man on the Rise because he truly embodies the art of photography. From middle school, he never gave up his passion. Instead he used it to create art, and allow every person in front of his camera to feel beautiful. He doesn’t just capture photos, he captures moments that are timeless, and will have you in awe. I personally cannot wait to get in front of his camera! He is a household name in the DMV, and he is knows for his amazing work. I look at his photos and I’m just shook because of how amazing they are. If you weren’t hip before, get hip now. Tobi is the photographer to know!

6.Olalekan Adepegba (@loeadde)

Olalekan Adepegba, better known as LOE or LOE Addé is a first generation Nigerian-American artist born in Washington, DC and raised mainly in both Brooklyn, New York and Maryland. In between those cities, he fell in love with the creation of music when his single mother had moved both him and his brother to Chicago, IL for some time. Prior to that move that later shaped his love for music, He was quite interested in writing lyrics after witnessing multiple lunch table freestyle sessions. Music has proved to be an outlet for him. In his music, he talks about real life experiences that any listener can relate to. His smooth flow, and image-provoking lyrics sets him apart from the rest. He recently dropped his “AHKIE” music video, which has been getting some great buzz. Check it out and subscribe to his Youtube Channel “Loe Adde”!

Loe is a Man on The Rise because his music is real. He speaks from the heart, and does not try to be like anyone else. He is who he is, and you feel him in his music. Despite having to take a break, he worked on his craft and came back blazing. His music has personally resonated with me and I am thankful we have the gift that is Loe!

7. Adiza “Aj” Jatto (@guidedhands)

Adeiza Jatto, mainly known as AJ, is a first generation Nigerian-American. He grew up playing drums in his church choir (CAC). His first exposure to cutting hair was at 12 years old when his mom refused to “waste” money on haircuts anymore (LOL such an African mom comment). She got him his first pair of clippers and he began cutting his hair and his younger brothers hair. Through the years up until college, he continued to cut hair. It was mainly a hobby and a way to sustain hiself, but God was preparing him for his career. He would cut hair between classes, on the weekends and in his house back home.

After he graduated college, he realized that he had grown a business with consistent clientele. He decided to pursue barbering instead of computers (he studied computer science) because of the flexibility, freedom, passion, and the ability to work for himself. Four years later, he is now 26 and has grown his business to 6-figure annual revenue. He has expanded to catering towards women hair services. He has worked with Adidas, Wizkid, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, The Source Magazine and Sarz.

Adeiza is a Man on the Rise because he has taken the art of barbering to a whole entirely different level. He has changed the face of barbering single handedly. From his precise and quality cuts, to the content he creates from his work, he is a trendsetter. He has turned a simply hobby into a full time business, and he has found a creative way to present his work to the world. He is known for his transformation videos, and it literally gives me life. He offers classes to anyone that is wiling to invest in their skill, where he provides the step-by-step process in coloring, cutting, and styling. He has already achieved so much, so its going to be amazing to see what he does next!

8. Eddie Musa (@musamajic)

Eddie is a host, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. He created a  digital TV agency called MusaMajicTV. MMTV produces film and television content as well as client video packages. In the past two years, they have created a webseries, and 4 short films. One of their goals as a company is to get hundreds of black creators’ films, shows, and podcasts produced. MusaMajicTV also produces high quality Special Events. Make Sure to check them out on

Eddie is a man on the rise because he is one person I know that has stayed true to his dream. Just like many others on this list, he used his passion to create a lane for himself and others alike. While in college, filmmaking was something everyone know he was serious about. He often uses his friends in his work, and I think it is so dope. In addition to him being ridiculously funny, Eddie’s presence is felt when he enters the room. Watching him grind and go after his dream is something I can say makes me very proud. His talent speaks for itself, and it is that same talent that will take him very far.

9. Jeffrey Addo (@jaddo301)

 J.Addo Is A 27 Year Old artist from Silver Spring, Maryland by way of Ghana, West Africa. He has been recently taking the world by storm and is only continuing to grow his fanbase. He has been making music since 2010, but he took a four year break to finish college. J.Addo returned in 2019 with a very strong comeback and has been seen On BET, MTV, The Shaderoom, Fox News, ABC, CBS. Daily Mail and many more. He released a brand new music video in July entitled “Right Now”, which premiered on BET Networks. He also dropped a follow-up single entitled “Only One” Feat. Bou. Be sure to check him out on all social media and music platforms!

Jeffrey is a man on the rise because he didn’t give up. He took a break to finish school, but he was right back on it. When he came back, he came back with something to prove. His music has opened doors for him and is changing his life in ways unimaginable. The great thing about this is, he’s just getting started!

10. Shawn Elliot (@sosaog)

Established in 2017,BE SAFE BE DANGEROUS, was founded by Shawn “Sosa” Elliott. Headquarted in Washington D.C., BE SAFE BE DANGEROUS, began as a concept by a young man who wanted to make a create clothes that served as an accurate representation of who they he is and what he stands for.

As a result of Shawn and his creative mind, BE SAFE, BE DANGEROUS (BSBD) is a lifestyle brand, that uniquely positions itself between the gap of streetwear and contemporary fashion. BSBD’S mission is to deliver quality materials that are both unique, and affordable.

In a world where clothing lines are constantly seeking validation by hype and exclusivity, Founder, Sosa is committed to authenticity, with options available for all people.

Shawn is a Man on the Rise because he has created not only a fashion brand, but a movement that can ultimately move the culture forward. His pieces are authentic, and he stays completely true to who he is. His work is made to resonate with people who are from all spectrums of individuality, and that we STAN.

photo by heytobs

11. Rodney Sawyer (@rodreclusive)

Since a very young age, Rodney was always into art and fashion. He loved expressing himself without speaking. He felt that it was dope how one could convey a message and share information without having to say anything at all. Conforming is something he did not want to do, but in his words he “played it safe”. That was until he attended UMES. It was while attending, that his fashion was completely “unlocked”. His journey began with something as simple as getting dressed, taking pictures, and posting them on Instagram. Little did he know, this would catapult him into his passion.

He was later introduced to “Tumblr” by a friend of his, and he would take his photos and submit them to a popular blog page. Within weeks, he became tumblr famous. He saw the impact he had and he wanted to do something with it. A month later he began creative directing his own photoshoots. He was also modeling at his school, this allowed him to consistently style, model, and direct shoots. His Sophomore year, his first brand “The Outsiders” was born. Since then, his brand has elevated and improved.

Fast Forward to a few years later, he transferred to Morgan State University where his stock instantly went up. Campus got word of his talents, and his name spread. This gave him the opportunity to work with other universities, and he sold out his first two collections within two weeks. Recently he collaborated with his good friend Justus Samaiye, and together they launched “MOLOWO”. He currently serves as the CMO. Through MOLOWO, they launched a huge collection entitled “Reclusively Exclusive”, which allowed them to curate their own NYFW pop-up shop. Since then, they have been able to get their clothing in stores in New York, and he has received overwhelming success from different avenues.

Rodney is a man on the Rise because like a lot of people, fashion is his purpose, but he takes it beyond that. He is not just the “fly fashion guy”, but he is a jack of all trades. From modeling to directive and designing, he does it all. He often refers to himself as a Renaissance man, and I couldn’t agree more. He is a true artist, and his realms of creativity surpass anything I’ve ever seen.

12. Jonathan Williams (@dubbempire)

Hailing from Washington D.C., Jonathan grew up in sports all his life. Sports helped him develop discipline, time management and work ethic. He took those skills to Morgan State University in which he majored in Broadcasting and Integrated media. Throughout his matriculation through college, he managed to be apart SGA, Smooth Org, ABC Modeling and he a member of Kappa Alpha Psi.

He started his own business called Dubbempire a year prior to graduating, because he was tired of not being able to get the jobs he wanted in his field due to lack of experience, therefore he created his own experience. Today, he is now pursuing his dreams as a Director and Videographer. He started an internship called Dubbempire Academy, which is an accredited internship program catered to creative college students.The program is to help students become better in their craft, build their portfolio and network with other creatives on campus, which will prepare them for life after college. He soon hopes to be able to employ those students who complete the program. He plans on creating a powerhouse production team, while creating jobs and opportunities for creatives just like himself. He wants to get into film to create meaningful visuals that will inspire and motivate his peers. He looks up to people like Tyler Perry and other influential creatives like Spike Lee and Jakob Owens.

J. Dubb is a Man on the Rise because his he has come a long way in his art, and he’s not even close to being done. I have personally witness his growth as a Director, and it really shook me. If you know Johnathan personally, you know he is always on joke time, but when it comes to his art he transforms. He is so serious about his business, and he makes sure to provide the upmost quality content. It is encouraging to see he is creating and providing opportunities not only for himself, but for younger ones as well. I’m honestly so proud of him, and I’m anticipating the great heights he’s going to reach!

13. Shomari Brooks (@marithegod)

Shomari comes from an extremely artistic background. Dancers, musicians, actors, poets, are the creatives that make up his family. His talents were always the more tangible arts, such as drawing and building. He honed in on these skills in his younger years, but he always had a passion for business and making money. This passion unfortunately led him down the wrong paths in my late teenage years and impaired his progression facing felony charges and jail time. With the help of his family, he turned that all around and refocused his two passions; art and business while attending Morgan State University.

 He wanted to create something for people that they would pay him for, and he somehow landed on jewelry. It was an interest he never knew he had until the first time it crossed his mind. His grandfather is an African priest and has been a master bead maker for decades, he believes this may have rubbed off on him. This led to the birth of “Prestige Republic“, which is an affordable brand of premium jewelry. As this company became popular, he was naturally interested in more. So he began to look into real gold and diamonds.

He was immediately hooked on the idea of turning molten gold into custom lifetime masterpieces. Despite the barriers of entering into the fine jewelry industry and there not being many black jewelers, Shomari wanted to change this. Through long and extensive research he earned just enough to meet who he needed to get the ball rolling on his newest company, “District Diamonds“. They have now sold a large amount of fine jewelry since launching last year.

He aims to continue his jewelry legacy for generations to come. In addition to jewelry, he has also ventured into the real estate world. He is working on his realtor’s license and will be launching the “Brooks & Co. Venture Group” very soon for real estate investment and related projects. He hopes to share his story and mentor young men like myself.

Shomari is a man on the rise because I can honestly say he embodies the word hustle. He is a hard worker who goes after what he wants. He is confident in who he is and his abilities and you can see it in his work. He provides quality and clean cut jewelry, and his pieces elevate any look. He has always been about his business and leaving a legacy, so to see this come full circle is pretty moving! I’m going to go ahead and plug him in, if y’all need custom quality jewelry head over to District Diamonds and get your pieces today!

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