Women on the Rise: Mothers Edition

  1. Nia Wood (@niamichelle_)

Nia Wood is a mother of one, founder, and fashion designer of Nia Michelle. She started Nia Michelle in March of 2019 with the goal of encouraging women to feel confident through fashion, by offering clothes that are unique and made just for them. Since starting, she has launched a total of three collections and presented her most recent collection (Concrete Rose) at Atlantic City Fashion Week 2020. Her most recent efforts have been towards creating protective masks for COVID-19 relief.  Most importantly she is proud to say she is a mompreneur.

Nia is a Woman on the Rise because she is the definition of a BOSS. Throughout her pregnancy (and even now), Nia has put in endless hours of hard work and dedication towards her brand/collection. She is a very determined woman who is very passionate about fashion design. This can be seen through her wonderful pieces. Ever single design is handmade by this amazing mommy. She can literally make something out of anything, and she does this effortlessly will raising a family. This Queen is truly unstoppable.

2. Serifat Fapohunda (@dreamlover25)

Serifat Fapohunda is a 26-year-old mother to a beautiful one-year old named Amira. She believes her daughter is her biggest blessing, and the best thing that has ever happened to her. In 2019, Sheri received her master’s degree in Business Management. She is the founder and CEO of LEWA BROWS LLC. She is a brow artist and the owner of LEWA BROWS studio. She founded a non-profit organization called P.O.P SICKLE CELL. POP is a non-profit that was created to uplift and help children who suffer from sickle cell.

Sheri is a Woman on the Rise because despite all she faces, she continues to keep pushing. She is hustler and a go-getter. She is the definition of getting things done no matter what. Her daughter is her life, and her existence alone pushes Sheri to achieve the impossible. Many people believe she’s superwoman but, she struggles like everyone else. Despite these struggles, Sheri has made a way for herself. She describes being a single mother as challenging, but she’s thankful for it all. If you’re ever in Miami and need a brow/beauty makeover….THIS is the mother to see!

3. Erica Sullivan (@mom.e.planner)

Erica Sullivan is not only a wife and a mother but also a business owner. She started her journey as a single mom blogger over 8 years ago. When her family grew, by a husband and two kids, she relocated to the Philadelphia area and put her fear aside and started working for herself full-time.

In 2018 Erica decided to expand her momE brand to talk more about her new lifestyle. She grew from a single mom blogger to talking more about step-parenting, marriage, cooking, traveling, mental health and so much more. It was with these changes that her brand grew from a mom’s blog to a lifestyle blog.

In 2019 momEplanner launched their Believer clothing line. This line was created to show others that we aren’t just followers of Jesus but Believers in him! With the growth of her clothing line and the success that she started to see from her social media platforms, Erica decided that it was time to start hosting events. Having been an Event Planner in her earlier years, momE wanted to curate events for women to celebrate themselves on Mother’s Day. So she birth the momE Mother’s Day Wellness Social.

At the start of 2020 Erica has began her coaching courses. From teaching women how to brand themselves on Instagram and how to grow their blog traffic to match her views of 7-10K a month. momE is now working on the release of her third digital magazine and in the works of creating her own all natural and chemical free cleaning products.

Erica’s mission is to help women learn to live on purpose in business, motherhood, marriage, and life!

Erica is a Woman on the Rise because she is unstoppable. She uses her own life experiences to help women everywhere. She believed in herself and chased her passion of blogging full-time. She uses her platform to help different types of mothers such as single moms or step moms. She is a strong woman of faith and an amazing mother. We can’t wait to see what she has in store next!

4.Tiana Dickerson (@tianabreexo)


Tiana Bree is a self-taught makeup artist, founder of Beat2aTi, boutique owner and mother-to-be. Her sole purpose in life is to bring the beauty and confidence out of each woman she comes in contact with, in more ways than one! Tiana has spent the last 7 years sharing her gift of artistry, style, and confidence, and knows that when you look your best, you feel your best. She makes it her mission to inspire others daily. 

After the loss of both of her grandmothers, Tiana decided to curate something to carry out their legacy, birthing her online boutique, The Seven22 Collection. Each item from her collection is handpicked for the chic, versatile and fabulous, sure to have heads turning with every item purchased!

Tiana’s work has been featured on the MAC Cosmetics website, several news stations and has shared her knowledge as a Makeup Expert at empowerment events for women across the DMV.

Tiana holds a B.A in Communications with a focus in Public Relations from Morgan State University and will continue to inspire other women through her platforms, Beat2aTi and The Seven22 Collection.

This mommy-to-be is a Woman on the Rise because she uses her gifts and inspires women everywhere. She promotes confidence and self-love, and the items in her collection portray that message as well. If she’s not promoting her online boutique, she beating a face. Her talent speaks before she does, and her captivating personality draws you in. We know that motherhood wont slow this Mom-boss down, it’ll only fuel her!

5. T’ana Patterson (@tinyfaces_)

T’ana Patterson is a Montessori Teacher and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Specialist. She graduated from Morgan State University in Spring 2018 Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. After graduation, she moved back to PG County and gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Tru Taína.

She is currently getting ready to pursue her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology while building her brand as an MUA. She also has a beauty and lifestyle blog on the way. Her focus is helping women to heal mentally and emotionally by recognizing their power and purpose. She wants every woman to feel their incomparable beauty from the inside out!

T’ana is a Woman in the Rise because she is living in her purpose and inspiring other mothers to do the same! Aside from pursuing her passions, she is furthering her education and using it to help other women heal and grow. Through her makeup artistry, every client who sits in her chair leave feeling like a brand new woman. She sets the example of what it means to be a great mother while chasing your dreams. She’ s a mother any daughter would be proud to have!

6. Mariama Smith (@thekoolmominc)

Mariama Smith is a mother, educator, and business owner. The 24 year old has a five year old daughter named Karter. She describes her daughter Karter is her ultimate bestie. When she’s not having a great time playing dress-up and having makeovers with her five year old, she’s surrounded by many others everyday in the classroom. Mariama is a kindergarten teacher at KIPP DC and her students are her joy. She loves teaching and watching her students grow and develop.

Between “mommying” and teaching, she started her non-profit The Kool Mom Inc. during her last semester of undergrad. She is a graduate of Towson University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies. Graduation was a huge accomplishment for her because statistics will show that teen moms do not tend to make it to their college graduations, but she beat the odds!

She started the Kool Mom Inc. to create emotional and financial support for teen and young adult mothers to be able to strive and succeed in a society that tells them success is impossible. The values for The Kool Mom are to encourage, inspire, uplift, and love. She currently has 51 members. Although its been hard to keep in contact due to COVID-19, Mariama and her members keep in touch and uplift one another with their daily group chat, weekly prayer calls, and zoom chats.

Mariama is a Woman on The Rise because she has allowed her own journey to motherhood be the driving force to her fulfilling her purpose. She is a living testament of doing the impossible, but she doesn’t stop there. instead, she empowers and inspires other beautiful women to do the same. She shows her fellow mothers that being a teen mom doesn’t stop you from accomplishing anything, rather it propels you. We STAN!

7.Kemi Ajibare (@styledbykemi)

Kemi Ajibare is a Personal Stylist in the DMV. She is also the founder of StyledByKemi, LLC, providing shopping and image consulting services to her clients. Her goal is to help women discover their true authentic style!

Kemi was born in Nigeria but came to the US as a toddler. Most of her life was spent growing up in Baltimore, MD. She has a degree in Business Technology, but her real passion is fashion. She is an IT professional by day and mommy to an amazing 3 year old boy. She is a proud mother of Nigerian descent who celebrates the beauty of individuality; in life and in style.

Kemi is a Woman on the Rise because she is proof that you can do it all. She shows women you can have a career, chase your passions, and have a family. The best part is she ALWAYS looks bomb while doing so! Her individuality sets her apart; she can walk into any room and own it. Her style is eye-catching and we stan her creative style. Her love for fashion and personal style can be seen on her various social media platforms, so make sure you follow!

We hope the stories of these amazing mothers have inspired you. As you can see, they dominate any lane, whether its fashion, education, beauty, blogging…..the list goes on. We hope you are empowered through this post. These beautiful mothers have shown us that nothing is impossible. All it takes is hard-work, sacrifice, grit, and determination. To all the mothers out there who do the impossible daily, we dedicate this post to you. We appreciate and love you! Happy Mother’s Day! ❤

Women on The Rise: Women’s Month Edition

As we all know, the month of March has been such a rollercoaster. With everything going on, Women’s month wasn’t really celebrated in its full capacity. To honor the month, and end it in the right way, we had to bring back fan favorite….Women on The Rise. It has been such a long time, but FINALLY….WE ARE BACK.

The Women on The Rise series has returned, and this time full force! By now, (if you’re a frequent reader), you already know how this goes. The Women on The Rise series is a series that highlights amazing women in the DMV that are trailblazing and making their mark in the area. These women come from all walks of life, in different fields, and professions. Since it’s Women’s Month, we HAD to bring it back. This one is JAM PACKED, so without taking too much of your time…..Women on The Rise: Women’s Month Edition!


Ashli Kolawole (@__dollyp)


Ashli Kolawole is a 26 year old Nigerian American with a love for all things PR and women! She is a Brand architect  (an AMAZING one btw) and a PR strategist. She is the CEO of her own Creative Agency known as ATENKO which focuses on PR strategies and Brand development. She is also the founder of GRL GETTER. Grl Getter is a community of aggressively enterprising women focused on connecting with one another in our career and everyday lives. She began her entrepreneurial journey because she was interested in the world of PR and how influential PR professionals are in the success of any industry. She has a thing for problem solving, finding solutions and acting as a liaison so she instantly wanted to create a lane of her own.

In the beginning she was interested in Fashion and music, but as time went on she found her niche. She is passionate about elevating brands to their full potential and introducing them to the world with the best foot forward. Our generation in particular is full of so many creatives but she finds that sometimes they don’t know how to execute that amazing vision and that’s exactly where Atenko comes in. 


She started Grl Getter in 2017. Her main goal and reason of starting was because she wanted a safe space for women to be able to elevate and inspire each other, NOT only in entrepreneurship but also in their 9-5’s and in everyday living. When she first started her creative agency, it took her some time to really decide what direction she wanted to go in. As time went on she began to create connections in her career and everyday life. She would meet people who would connect her and plug her in. That’s when she knew she wanted to start Grl Getter and create a space that would take women places they would’ve never imagined and to create lifelong fruitful relationships. 

Ashli is a Woman on The Rise because she has created a platform where women can cultivate meaningful relationships and connections. In addition to her platform, she puts her all in her brand, and does the same with every single brand she works with. She is really the bomb.com, and we cannot wait to see the great things she has in store! To keep up with her follow her personal and business instagrams, @atenkopr & @grl.getter.

Tamani Lyn (@tamanilyn)

Maryland native, Tamani Lyn, is a 21 year-old college student in her senior year at Bowie State University, studying Communications with a focus in Public Relations, aiding her in successfully founding her own women’s empowerment organization, WOMEN OF LYN, LLC  and financial advising company, Lyn Financial Advising Co.

Tamani always knew that her dream would consist of anything having to do with women’s empowerment or teaching financial literacy throughout her community. With original ideas and meticulous planning, she has watched her first found ideas and dreams come into full fruition right before her eyes with her brands.

Tamani always knew that her passions would be centered around inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting others. WOMEN OF LYN was started to make positive change in the community centered around women and encouraging all women to be bosses, and Lyn Financial Advising Co was started to teach financial literacy throughout the community.

Tamani is a Woman on The Rise because she is using her passion to inspire and uplift women everywhere. Through workshops, her mentoring program, her podcast, and so much more, she is giving women the tools to become the best woman they could possibly be. She is selfless and professional, and she serves as the epitome of a go getter. At such a young age, she has found her purpose and is moving aggressively in it. Tamani is breaking down barriers, and bringing women along with her! She is just getting started! To keep up with her, or to get involved with a few of her programs, follow her business page @womenoflyn.

Brittany Dorsey (@accordingtobrittt)

Brittany is a Woman of God, purpose, light, and love. Originally from Queens, NY by way of Willingboro, NJ, she graduated from Morgan State University in 2019, earning her Bachelors of Social Work. She is one of the manifestors of the Back 2 [H.E.R] podcast.

She fell in love with her journey of evolution and gaining the knowledge of self. Through this journey, she became aware of the influence she had on other woman in her reach. While at Morgan, she served as Miss Morgan State University. It gave her a platform to inspire woman, publicly speak, and plan events to connect with woman on a deep spiritual, emotional and mental level. Through that platform she realized her purpose in life. She knew she couldn’t stop once her reign ended.

She loved speaking and connecting over uncomfortable but necessary conversations , spreading wisdom and knowledge, and being a light to those in her reach. This is where her connection with her podcast co- host came about. They had a very deep conversation, and later her co-host reached out to her and asked if she was interested in hosting a knowledge of self workshop with her and doing a podcast to promote the event.

After their first meeting, they realized the podcast was a God given idea and they ran with it. Back 2 [H.E.R] podcast launched on January 4,2020. Back 2 [H.E.R] is a platform designed to Heal, Evolve women from all walks of life. Since their official launch, they have been streamed in 16 states all across America. Also streaming in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They are available on Anchor, Spotify, Breaker, Google Podcast, Overcast, Pocketcast, Radiopublic and Apple. She can be found on Instagram at @Officialback2her and at @AccordingtoBritt

Brittany is a Woman on The Rise because of she selflessly uses her influence and platform to build her fellow sisters. She speaks words of love and light, and uses her podcast to help women everywhere. From her bubbly personality, to her mature mindset, Brittany is a person you always want around. B2H is just the beginning for this phenomenal woman.

Joy Griffin (@joyjoelene)

Joy Joelene, a woman built on faith, reformation, and healing, is an advocate of spirituality and internal growth. She is a proud graduate of Morgan State University, where she became a member of The Always Divine, Alpha Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Joy also advanced onto serving as the Student Government Association President, where she and her team worked diligently to make several impactful changes for the campus community.

Currently, she attends Johns Hopkins University and is pursuing her Masters of Science degree with a concentration in Government Policy. Enlightenment is a passion of hers, which she likes to spread to those around her. It is because of this passion that she co-established, ‘Back 2 Her’, which is a podcast dedicated towards healing, evolving, and revolutionizing women from all walks of life. She is an adamant believer in The Most High divinely and carefully paving her way so that she is able to inspire anyone she comes into contact with. Joy has been featured in many workshops and panel discussions. She can be found on Instagram @JoyJoelene! 

Joy is a Woman on The Rise, like her co-host Brittany, because of her selfless use of influence. She uses her own life lessons to speak light and love to her listeners everywhere. Her gentle spirit and humility are characteristics that have taken her far. Her desire to be an advocate for growth has allowed her to move in her purpose and we are here for it!

Ruth Addisu (@channelonenine)

 Ruth is a certified Audio and Visual Technician, Photographer, and Editor hailing from the great state of Maryland. She received her Bachelors degree from Towson University in 2018. She majored in Film with a focus in Television Broadcast accompanied with a minor in Women Studies. Her photography experience trails back to 2015. Since then she has taken captured moments and participated in interviews with people from Keri Hilson to Ndaba Mandela. Her event visual experience ranges capturing from baby showers, concerts, and banquets; to setting up lighting and audio for corporate events. 

Her experience doesn’t stop there, she has managed social media accounts for Towson University Admissions, international news broadcasters, and more. She has been featured on a weekly international radio health program, and is the recipient of the 2018 Joe Manns Black Wall Street Award. 

Since being established in 2015, the mission of her brand is to develop content with integrity that produces dialogue and transcribes the truth.
She started doing video production in high school and fell in love with it. She saw photography as a way to master framing and coloring so that she could apply it to her video background. 

Ruth is a Woman on The Rise because her passion for photography has inspired so many. Her talent has allowed her clients visions to come to life. She tells stories through her art, and this is something to thoroughly enjoys.
She strives to capture the reality of life, and not produce altered images that can mislead audiences of true reality.She hopes to one day capture someone’s reality, which will inspire someone to change their direction of life to improve the reality of others.

Moni Osibodu @moniosibodu)

 Moni Osibodu is a Nigerian influencer located in Lagos, Nigeria. She started her YouTube channel MoniTalks her senior year of college. Once she graduated from Morgan State University in 2015, she moved to Nigeria 2 weeks later to chase her dreams which is Nigerian entertainment.

Within 6 months of moving, she worked at one of the top TV stations, HipTv, as a TV presenter. Fast forward 5 years, she is now a freelancer. She host events, concerts, and has been featured on a couple of tv shows. She still has Moni Talks where she has interviewed a number of top Nigerian artists. These artists include Naira Marley, Zlatan, Burna boy, Dbanj, Olamide, and so much more! She also holds an event called Mo’s Playlist. It is a showcase that is done every couple of months. Its purpose is to put emerging artists on. She invites these artists to perform, and she invites her industry friends such as A list artists, record label executives, and new potential fans.

Moni is a Woman on The Rise because of her will to always bet on herself. Ever since knowing Moni, she has always danced to the beat of her own drum. She has always made a way for herself, and it is great to see her hard work paying off. She is the definition of GRIND and she is truly self made. We can’t help but to stan. Make sure to keep up with her to see what she’s got cooking up next!

Esther Alayo (@crowned.queene)

Esther Alayo, aka S’TA, is 24 year old singer/songwriter born in Washington D.C. The songstress grew up in Maryland and in the summer of 2014, she relocated to Texas. Music stole her  heart at a very young age. At 18 months she began to speak, and by the age of two she was already singing. She believes singing was something that was embedded in her.

She refers to music as her culture and singing is her language. This is why it was so shocking that she put off singing for so long. Like many African kids, she was raised to do “practical things” like going to school and  getting a degree in something “ideal”. Although she came from a musical family, and she had the support of her parents, she was still always told that music wasn’t going to pay the bills and that she needed something solid. Because of this, she put music off, but lucky for us, she silenced the noise, and finally overcame her fear. On February 16th, 2020, she released her debut single “BOJU”.

Esther is a Woman on The Rise because she went against the grain, took a leap of faith, and followed her true passion. It took a lot of courage to do so, and we are so happy she did. Her bravery led her to uncover her inner diva, and she calls this woman of power S’TA and she doesn’t playyyyyyy. We know she has so much more in store so stay tuned!

Vicha’n Cooper (@vichaaaan)

Vicha’n Cooper is a 24 year old KIPP educator. She is a graduate of the illustrious Morgan State University, and she is the CEO and Founder of VVENTURES INC. VVENTURES INC. was created simply from her daily life routine. She feels the understanding of self is essential for growth and the changes that life brings. There was no other way she could do this, but through journaling. Journaling became a ritual for her and she figured what better way to go through this experience, than sharing it with the world.

VVENTURES INC. Is an adventure of finding your purpose and awareness of self through journaling. It’s desired purpose is for one to learn and grow by understanding your own process.  It is not to aid you along the way, but just pick your brain for you to visually see and hear your own thoughts. Many times when that happens we compare where we want to go and where we are currently and start to create life changing experiences. At this stage, you have become your own agent of change. In addition to having a brand, she is a professional hair braider.

Vicha’n is a Woman on The Rise because of the lane she has created for herself. By opening up and sharing an intimate daily routine, she birthed a brand that allows its readers to heal and grow. Since its creation, she has done so much and we know she will continue to do more! To keep up with Vicha’n and join in on the journey, be sure to follow her brand (@vventuresinc)and hair braiding page (@braivvdsbyvichan).

Oluwatosin Adedoyin (@loveabletee)

Oluwatosin Adedoyin is a Nigerian local fashion designer located in the DMV, and is the CEO of her own brand Tosin Ade LLC. Her vision is to cater to the customization & development of exclusive garments created uniquely for each client. 
Graduating from Towson university, Tosin Ade started this journey her senior year in college and put forth much time and commitment towards her passion to later launch her own Business, Tosin Ade LLC, in January 2019.

Tosin is a Woman On The Rise because her designs are authentic and original. Her pieces are clean, cut, and unique. She effortlessly seams high fashion and afro prints to create a line of clothes that is to die for! She just recently dropped her 2020 collection, and the pieces are unforgettable. We cannot wait till her designs are seen in the likes of Vogue and on A listers like Rihanna! To purchase some items of your own, follow her business page (@tosinade)!

Jazmine Boyd (@yourgirljaz)

Jasmine Boyd is a 23 year old photographer hailing from Oxon Hill,MD. She is a graduate of THE best HBCU in the land, Morgan State University. Jazmine started photography because it brought out her creative side. It allows her to capture special moments others might not see. She loves how you can turn just about anything into a work of art. Not only is this beauty a beast behind the lens, but she is completely self taught.

Jazmine is a Woman on The Rise because she is the definition of determination and raw talent. Despite not having the technical skill for photography, she did not let that stop her. She taught herself, and has allowed her talent to make way for her. Her photos are eye catching and vibrant, and her edits are flawless. This is one lens you want to be in front of! To support her, follow her photography page (@jshots__)

Monjama Nyalley (@yourssstrulymj)

Monjama Nyalley is a creative hailing from Washington D.C., who now resides in Prince George’s County. The Sierra Leonean native is a lover of old school music, wine and food. She graduated from the first HBCU, Lincoln University where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She received her degree in Biology with a minor inPsychology. Although she enjoys many hobbies, her favorite is writing.

Her love for writing began at the age of 12. She was dealing so much trauma so she began to go to therapy. It was there that her therapist gave her a book by Maya Angelou, I Know What The Caged Bird Sings. The book changed her life forever. It inspired her own style of writing. The rawness and vulnerability of her words pushed Mj to do the same in her writing. She truly believes writing saved her life.

She is the creative mind behind “Listen Up I Got A Story to Tell”. She wanted to start her writing brand for a while, but kept pushing it off. One day she was driving in her car listening to music, and she heard the song I Got A Story to Tell. From there, her blog was born. Mj uses her blog as a creative outlet for her poetry and thoughts. She also wanted to use this platform to feature others as well as help others. She allows a space where people can share stories of their own. She believes it is a safe space where others can tell their stories and free themselves while saving someone else. Through her blog, she started a prom dress drive, and is on the way to launching her scholarship. These are just a preface to what she has planned.

Monjama is a Woman on The Rise because she despite the anticipation in the beginning, she finally opened up and shared her passion with the world. Not only is she allowing her passion to make way for herself, but she’s choosing to use her platform to help others. She hopes to create her mark on the world, and inspire people. She wants people to know that no matter who they are or where they are from can know their story matters. To read or blog or donate to her many causes, follow her blog page (@listenupigotastorytotell)

Jillian Curry (@jilliancurry16)

Jillian Christina Curry is an educator, motivational speaker, and empowerment coach haling from Edison, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Morgan State University. Ms. Curry currently serves as a 4th grade teacher in Columbia, Maryland. She believes that the academic, emotional, and physical strengthening of children is the solution to many of society’s ills. 

Aside from teaching, she is a motivational speaker, certified self-esteem and empowerment coach and creator of the Millennials in Worship Brand; a brand created to uplift and inspire young women and men experiencing the everyday struggles of a modern day millennial. Through her journey, she dreams of making a difference in the life of children and adults who battle low self-esteem and depression as it is important to understand that happiness and success can still reign supreme during some of life’s most challenging times. Through her platform, she hopes to inspire the world to accept their unique destiny as life has the potential to be all that we want it to be, if we only believe!

Jillian is a Woman on The Rise because she has always moved in her passion. She has always used her platform to uplift her community. Whether that is her students, women in her community, etc., you can always count on Jillian being transparent and delivering a WORD. Her brand Millennials in Worship offers a daily morning prayer line that has helped many overcome strongholds and receive breakthroughs. Jillian is a light anywhere she goes, and we can’t help but to admire a woman moving in her purpose.

Danielle Sadé Williams (@fashionably.dsade)

Danielle Sadé Williams is a beauty/fashion blogger located in Baltimore, MD. She is a New Jersey native who is a lover of all things style and beauty. She created “Fashionably D. Sadé” to show how it’s okay to be yourself in your walk of style. The name originated from her being “fashionably late” to everything, she was always late for a very beautiful and stylish reason. She really wants to inspire those around her and convey the message that you don’t need the fanciest brand or the most the exaggerated outfit to fashionably express how wonderful you are.

Danielle is a Woman on The Rise because she is fashionably her. She is completely herself anywhere she goes, and she inspires others to do the same. Her style is unique and her fashion sense is none like we’ve seen. She is 100% authentic and we appreciate it. This Queen is also multitalented. As stated above, she is also a beauty blogger. This has allowed her to be an entrepreneur, and trust she doesn’t disappoint. To see what exactly we’re talking about, follow her!

Tolani Taiwo @tolaninaomi)

Tolani Taiwo is a senior Health Promotion major at Morgan State University. She is the owner of health brand Naomi Health Promotion. NHP is a health and wellness brand that promotes staying active and eating healthy. After graduation, she wishes to become a celebrity personal trainer.
Naomi has always loved sports, and has been an athlete. When her track career ended, she was trying to figure out how she could carry on her love for fitness, and from there her first baby was born; Naomi Fitness. She solely focused on fitness, however, when she began digging deeper into her major courses, she realized that she had a passion for health in all aspects. When she came to that realization, she decided to transition from Naomi Fitness to Naomi Health Promotion.

Tolani is a Woman on The Rise because of her dedication to healthy living. She doesn’t just promote fitness, she promotes healthy living all around. She gives her clients and followers information and tips that will help them reach their goal. She uses her platform not only to provide motivation to get in shape, but to encourage everyone to achieve whatever their life goals are. She is all about putting her clients first and helping them understand how the body works. Tolani is also a go getter, despite all the things that may try and stop her, she keeps elevating. She loves what she does and it shows. If you’re trying to get snatched by the time quarantine is up, this is the woman to contact!

Chelsea Okoro (@dineroboss)

Chelsea Okoro aka “DJ Dinero” is a 25 year old Nigerian, born and raised in Landover, MD (now in Largo, MD). She has always been a go getter her entire life. During her high school years at Largo High School, she was always grinding. She was always selling candy, snacks, juice, whatever the people needed. The hustle and grind was always embedded in her

Being a dj was never a dream of hers.It was something that came about at the end of her 11th grade year. A friend of hers was having a big house party and his dj backed out at the last minute. She always uploaded music for money to people’s mp3 players and iPods, so she was asked if she could DJ that party. The rest was history.

Once she got to college, she saw there was a lack of female DJs, which discouraged her from DJing. At the end of her freshman year in undergrad, a close friend, Adedire Ososanya, encouraged her to DJ at school. Luckily, she took that advice, and when her sophomore year came around, she became the first female DJ to ever win a DJ competition in Morgan State history. 

Overtime, she began to recieve more recognition, booking more gigs, becoming the official dj for all athletic events, and much more. After graduating from Morgan State in May 2019, her DJ career took catapulted. She now Djs all types of events. With the help of her manger and close friend, Rashida Kamara, She was able host her first musical showcase in November 2019. Following the sold out event, Chelsea got the opportunity open up for Larry June, DJ for Premo Rice, and sis is even going on tour this year!

Chelsea is a Woman on the Rise because she is truly a trailblazer. She is dominating in a field that is known to be predominately be for men. Becoming the first female DJ to win a DJ competition at Morgan State is no small feat. She is the one to watch, and we truly believe in the near future, DJ Dinero is going to be a problem! Despite being super talented, she is very humble. A few Djs she apprecitates and looks up to are looked up to are DJ Dezzy Dez, DJ PhilloFlexx, DJ KiloVibes, DJ Flow, DJ C-Stylez, DJ VonChase and DJ SmoothRell. If you need a DJ post-quarantine, Chels is your woman!

The Ayaba Manifesto

Whenever you hear succesful people speak on their journey to success, they always mention the “power of manifestation“. Motivational speaker, Wayne Dyer said “within all of us is the divine capacity to manifest and attract all that we need and desire“. This means you can literally accomplish whatever you want through the power of manifestation.

Nick Manifest GIF by Big Brother

Well, what exactly is manifestation? Our definition of manifest is to bring to pass or bring something to life by mouth. In other words, speaking something into existence.

Okay, so boom. What is a manifesto? A manifesto is a declaration, or affirmation, of what you want out of life. It is an aggrement between you and your higher self. It is written with strong and empowering languauge to affirm what you plan to happen and WILL actually happen (because once you said it so shall it be sa-weetie).

Santana On The Beat Saucy Santana GIF - SantanaOnTheBeat SaucySantana GIFs

Okay, so………”The Ayaba Manifesto“?

The Ayaba Manifesto is a public declaration catered to the strong, driven and confident woman. Its purpose is to remind yourself that all your goals, dreams, and aspirations are achievable, and it is a promise to you that you will always work aggressively towards achieving it. You’re letting yourself know that whatever that aspiration is, it can be done. It’s from your mouth to God’s ears.

Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it shall eat the fruit“. It’s already written sis, so speak your dreams and goals to life. Your affirmations will come to pass, so far as your drive matches your hustle.

This manifesto will be there to encourage and remind you on those days where you aren’t able to show up 100%. It will be there to speak to you and remind you who you are, what you’re capable of, and what exactly you’re working towards.

How does it work? All you have to do is use this manifesto/affirmation by personalizing the prompt below and applying it to your life. Its as follows:

I ____(insert your name here)______, declare that I will work to accomplish all of my dreams, goals, and aspirations. I will do so by ___________, _____________, and ____________ (list three things you will do or not do to propel yourself closer to success). I am a boss who will get things done by any means. I am a Queen who knows her worth and won’t settle for what is offered. I am capable. I am strong. I am beautiful. Nothing or no one can stop me.

Read and recite this to yourself everyday, and watch how the things you manifest will come to fruition. And truthfully speaking, if you aren’t feeling mine, write your own! Make a clean and neat copy, post it where you’ll see it everyday. Make sure you’re consistently reading and reciting it.

There have been so many situations where I have manifested something and God came through. I manifested graduating from college….I did it, I manifested getting a job after being unemployed for about 7 months…..I got one, I manifested a new car and BOOM, God came through and blessed me with a 2020. Manifesting isn’t magic. It is an agreement with you and God. You’re exercising your faith and God will see that and reward you, but the power is in your tongue. You have authority over your life, take control and speak favor and blessings into it.

DISCLAIMER: The key to allowing this manifesto to work is to actually WORK. You have to put some grind behind those words. Dreams don’t work unless you do, pooh! Whatever it is you want to affirm for yourself, make sure you are actually working towards it! The dream is free. The HUSTLE is sold separately.

Comment below and tell me a few things you are planning to manifest!

Go Big!

Happy New Year! I know its a bit late, but better late than never, right?! :/

Haha, although I am late, I always say everything happens in God’s time, so I’m not even tripping. But heyyyyyy guys! I’ve missed you all and I’m so happy to be back. I took some time away, but it was veryyyyy much needed. My last post was back in November, and I decided to take a break. Not because I was tired of blogging and wanted to quit, but because I was going through a period of transition. During this time, I really wanted to be present in what I was going through. God was taking me through what I call an in-between stage. This stage is a level where God is elevating your from one level to another.

Transitions are never the easiest, but if you want to elevate and grow you have to go through them. During this period, God gave me some amazing people, took some much needed people away, and showed me certain things that I myself needed to do and certain things I needed to let go. He did a lot to prepare me for this new level I am stepping into. So while all of this was transpiring, I did a lot of evaluating and I was blessed with a message. The message I was given was to STOP PLAYING SMALL. It was DREAM BIG. Go BIG. OR GO HOME. PERIOD.

This means that numero uno, NO dream is too big or too crazy to achieve. If it’s your hearts desire, it can absolutely happen. Secondly, after dreaming big, you need a grind that matches that energy. You have to go BIG. A dream with no work behind it will never be fruitful. It’s about working and working hard. I decided to apply this mentality to my life, but I especially wanted to apply it to my brand, my business……my “lor baby”. I had a vision to re-brand and expand. I didn’t want to just write motivational posts, I wanted to do and be so much more. I wanted to provide substance and love to all. I wanted to create a community of women that are inspired to be the best version of themselves who also support and uplift one another. I told myself in 2020 I’m making it happen.

Entering 2020 was super important to me. Its not just another year to me, is a new decade. A new chapter. A new beginning. We’ve had 10+ years of experience to guide us and aid us through the next 10. We know what works, we know what doesn’t, its a matter of applying these lessons to our lives and applying pressure. We all have a reason, a purpose for being here. If we don’t live in it, life is just a waste.

So this is me living in my purpose. I am choosing to live fearlessly, with intent and purpose. It’s a go big or go home kind of year for me. So allow me to reintroduce my baby, Ayabaconnect. A space where we inspire, empower, and connect strong and beautiful women everywhere!

I often get asked what exactly does Ayaba mean. For those who don’t know, Ayaba means Queen. It is derived from the Yoruba language. Ever since I was little, my parents always called me Esteri Ayaba (Queen Esther), and being “Queen” has always been apart of me. So you know I had to bring a little peace of me to the brand. So from one Queen to another, welcome to Ayabaconnect!

I cannot wait to show you all whats in store for the new year. God willing, it’ll be one for the books! If you don’t already, follow us @ayabaconnect for inspiration, announcements, updates, and more! Follow my personal page as well @esteriayaba!

Stay tuned for the month of February. Great collabs, amazing content, and so much more!

P.S IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A SIGN TO DO THAT THING YOU’RE SO AFRAID TO DO, THIS IS IT. DO IT. IN FACT, DO IT SCARED. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. LIFE IS TOO SHORT AND TOO PRECIOUS TO BE PLAYING IT SCARED.IF THAT WASN’T KNOWN BEFORE, KNOW IT NOW. DO IT. DO IT NOW. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE CHANCE TO LIVE. LIVE IT RIGHT AND LIVE IT WELL.

Men on The Rise: DMV Edition Part 2

By now, you all should know that DMV breeds excellence. We know the women are a force to be reckoned with, and the men are a different breed. I had to come back and get in one last post before I end this series. These posts can’t even begin to capture the talent that resides in the DMV, but it is a start! With that being said, here are the Men on The Rise!

1.Elijah Miles (@tendea_lij)

Elijah Miles is a speaker and community organizer in Baltimore City. He has made two TedX talks about issues relating to Baltimore City. Elijah Miles is also the leader and founder of Tendea Family, a grassroots organization in Baltimore city that galvanizes and organizes young people to do work to change improvised communities. Tendea focuses on four core areas: community service, economic development, unity and mental/character development. Lastly, Elijah has just graduated last spring from Morgan State University with a bachelors degree in Political Science. He now teaches a class on morality and does Tendea full time.

I remember the first time I heard Elijah speak. It was his freshman year and we were at an event on campus. Once I heard his speech, I knew that this man was destined for something BIG. He is passionate about bringing about change to his community, and he moves to educate his people. With this passion, he has built a team of likeminded individuals who really work for the advancement of our people. To see how far he has come is truly amazing, and it is without a shadow of a doubt that he is a Man on The Rise. Sidebar: I keep telling y’all Morgan State University breeds excellence!

2. Anthony Lampkin (@thomasj_)

Born Anthony Thomas-James Lampkin, Thomas J., 28, is an American media personality, talent manager, creative director, and event planner. He is the founder and CEO of THOMAS J. LIVE™ Entertainment, A&R Director at Hunter Management and works as a production and artist relations assistant at ScoreMore Shows. His work has been featured on Spotify, and BET, and he has worked with some of the biggest names in music like: Rick Ross, J. Cole, Megan Thee Stallion, and Da Baby; among others.

In 2012, Thomas J. was appointed the Director of Special Events, at Morgan State University, where he began organizing concerts, showcases, conferences, and large-scale events. In 2014, launched his Thomas J. LIVE brand and in the same year, he joined WEAA 88.9 as an associate producer, and on-air talent of the longest running hip-hop radio show in the state of Maryland, Strictly Hip-Hop. In 2015, he relocated to North Carolina, and began work as an educator. There he oversaw cultural and social programs for over 1,600 students, and in 2018, he won the Blue Diamond Award for Business Impact Non-Profit, as part of a joint effort between Queens University’s Knight School of Communication and Digital Charlotte.

His life revolves around music and culture. He frequently publishes playlists and writes on his music, culture and lifestyle blog The T(hought). Most recently, he became the general manager for Projex Santana, an emerging R&B singer-songwriter from PG County, Maryland.

Since February of 2019, Thomas J. has worked the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, the inaugural Dreamville Festival, the 2019 Neon Desert Music Festival, the 2019 Mala Luna Music Festival; Rap Caviar’s House Party featuring Da Baby. Thomas J. is a graduate of Connecticut School of Broadcasting, and a proud alumnus of Morgan State University. He currently resides in Charlotte, NC.

Anthony is a Man on the Rise because he embodies the spirit of entertainment. Since I met Anthony my freshman year of college, he is someone I could never forget. He is UNAPOLOGETICALLY himself (I say this with emphasis, because if you know Anthony, then you KNOW) and because of it, he is respected. Aside from his outgoing “life-of-the-party” personality, he is a hard worker! He works tirelessly to provide a quality entertainment experience. Aside from his work in music, he is an event host, and I assure you, he brings any event he hosts alive. I can’t wait for you all to take part in the ThomasJ experience!

3. Tosin Gbadamosi (@tosinshotit)

Oluwatosin Gbadamosi is a third year undergrad student currently studying Multimedia. Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, he moved to the U.S. with his family in 2004, and moved to Maryland in 2008.

Tosin’s interest for photography sparked in March of 2017, when he purchased an iPhone 7, and started taking pictures with portrait mode. He initially did it for fun, but as he took more pictures, he developed a passion for it. A year later, he bought his first camera, a Nikon D5600, and officially started his photography journey. Initially he barely received any sort of recognition for his work, but he kept going. After a while, he started to pick up the pace for his shoots and began posting his work on social media.

His social media platform slowly started to grow. His first viral photoshoot happened back in August, and it consisted of a pool scene featuring two of his friends. Ever since, his media presence has grown drastically, and every shoot that he has posted on social media has been receiving thousands of likes and retweets. He hopes to continue to pursue photography as an official career and eventually have his work reach the likes of vogue, xxl, time magazine, and other major magazine companies!

Tosin is a Man on The Rise because in a short period of time, he has mastered his craft, and created a beautiful body of work. When I first saw his work, I was really shook. It was so beautiful, and vibrant, and the image made you feel like you were there. As a creative, I can say his work is an experience, and it has a major wow factor. I urge everyone to take a look at his work and have this experience for themselves!

4. Richard Lucas (@richardlucasiii)

Richard Lucas III was born on April 23rd in Buffalo, New York. Richard attended Bowie State University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in History and Government.  At Bowie State University, Richard was an active and involved student. He was initiated into, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc where he served as Chapter President. He also had the privilege to serve as President of The Student Government Association. Additionally, Richard participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Emerging Leaders Program focused on preparing the next leaders of American in public policy. 

A budding writer and speaker, Richard articles “Twas the Night before Christmas; Spending Christmas Eve Homeless” and “The State vs. HBCUs” have been published by national outlets such as the Baltimore Sun.  Moreover, he has been honored to grace multiple speaking platforms at many colleges, conferences, high schools, and churches. 

While at Yale University, Richard was the William Sloane Coffin Fellow. This full scholarship award is given to one student in every incoming class that demonstrates Coffin’s prophetic leadership, his passion for social justice, and his critical theological interpretation of the social and political scene.  Moreover, Richard worked at the Dwight Hall Center for Social Justice at Yale University as the Magee Fellow focusing on the intersection of religion, self-reflection, and social justice. Lastly, Richard was chosen to attend the prestigious James Lawson Institute, a strategic direct-action organization that seeks to apply scholarly and practitioner knowledge of civil disobedience to the political scene. Currently, Richard is a professor at Bowie State University an where he teaches religion and philosophy courses.

Richard aspires to be a teacher for freedom, believing in the radical power of social justice literacy to transform hearts, minds, communities, policies, and the world.

When I first moved to Maryland back in 2010, I remember walking in the hallway and seeing a kid dressed in a full blown suit (mind you, we wore uniform). He spoke with such confidence, and great diction, and it was then I knew…this man is going to be someone great. Richard is one of those individuals who you know are special. He can thrive in any environment, and his intellect draws you to him. He has always had a passion for advancing his community and working to educate people. It’s amazing to see how everything he spoke of, he has now manifested. I am so proud to be witnessing this journey and I can’t wait for you all to finally witness it too.

5. Chef Hakeem (@chefkeem)

Executive Chef Hakeem was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA with his mother and little brother. Hakeem was accepted into a high school – trade school in Wilmington DE, where studied both the high school curriculum, as well as matriculated through a rigorous culinary arts program. Falling in love with culinary arts and the many possibilities the industry presented, Hakeem graduated top of his class. He attended Morgan State University and earned a B.S in Hospitality Management, with a minor in Marketing.

During this time, Hakeem found his path in life. As a natural born leader he co-founded a nonprofit organization at 20 years old. Strong Men Overcoming Obstacles Through Hard-work Inc., (SMOOTH) an all male, community service and mentorship based organization. This gave Hakeem the platform to help his peers and underclassmen in many ways, but most importantly finding their purpose. Through different culinary activities such as cooking classes, private organization dinners, and even pop up restaurants, Hakeem showed how to incorporate a passion and a life calling. 

After graduation, Hakeem worked in the corporate hospitality industry bouncing around from managerial positions trying to find his footing. In 2014, he landed his dream position with a Maryland based food management company. In 2017 Hakeem and the other managerial staff were let go due to a mindless error from a hourly staff member. It was this moment that sparked the idea to create an DinnerClub Hospitality LLC, The premiere Hospitality Platform. 

DinnerClub is the innovative and pioneering Catering business with aspirations of evolving into a virtual restaurant and more. “ChefKeem’s” unmatched catering experience has allowed him and his team to cater or personally cook for clients such as Meek Mill, Nipsey Hussle, Wiz Khalifa, YBN Cordae, Shy Glizzy, Dreezy, 2 Chainz, Young Dolph, and Cassanova. He has also cooked for other big names such as Kevin Blackestone, Roger Mason JR, Baltimore’s Top Radio Company 92Q, NFL Player Mark Ingram, Author Dawn West. 

Hakeem is a Man on The Rise because he made his passion his purpose. He is thriving in an industry that is rare for black men to flourish. Through the love of culinary arts, he has opened so many doors for himself and others. His leadership skills allowed him to start one of the most notable orgs on Morgan State’s campus. Not to mention, his food is actually bomb! Like reallllllyyyy bomb.

6.Aziz and Hassan Sanusi (@__sunkanmi @oladi.two)

Nigerian American twins, Aziz and Hassan Sanusi were born in Baltimore MD. They are co-owners/cohosts of Breaking Bread TV, a weekly pop culture podcast with which they provide a platform for millennial creatives in the DMV. Their motto “Everybody eats” is the drive behind their podcast. They believe, “You’re only as successful as the number of people you’ve made successful”, and the dynamic duo do their best to make sure that no one gets left behind. “Let’s Break Bread.”

They aspire to connect the world of visionaries one conversation at a time. Each episode feels like they gain family. They see Bread TV as a multimedia production company, that brings all manners of creative projects to life while empowering the underdogs. The best exchange of culture, conversation, and creation all happen over food. That exchange is Breaking Bread. 

I can honestly say I genuinely bang with this duo These Twins are Men on the Rise because they are not afraid to be them, and show love while doing so. In today’s society, it’s rare for people to show genuine love, or even put other people on. These to do so with no issue. I got hip to them literally a few weeks ago, and I was hooked ever since. Their podcast makes me feel like I know them, and the level of relatability is just there. It’s so refreshing and authentic. They’re two dope easy going dudes who just do them and thrive in the lane they created! They don’t have to try too hard, they just got it. If you don’t do anything else today, tap into their podcasts and take a listen. I promise you will not regret it.

7. Daniel Olumese (@alllwild)

Daniel Olumese is a 24 year old up and coming artist from Largo, Maryland. Dan has been making music seriously since about 2012, but his love of music has been there since as long as he can remember. At 3 years old, he would carry around Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits VHS so he could watch it wherever he went. Growing up, music would be on in the house constantly and it always grabbed attention of Daniel and his brother. They would take up their Saturday mornings listening to music and writing lyrics. This helped groom his love for the art from a very young age.

He wrote songs, but growing up in a Nigerian household, he knew that dream would not be supported at all, but towards the end of his time in high school, some friends he grew up with started a rap group. He heard their work and was inspired. He asked if he could join and he was welcomed with open arms. 3rdiiiuth became the talk of their high school. The group was making big moves, but they began to drift away due to college approaching. They wanted focus on things they thought were “more realistic goals”.

Dan went on to study Accounting at Morgan State University where he later received his Bachelors. While getting his education, he always told himself once he got out of school, he would pursue music more seriously, and he would do it while working his 9 to 5. And that is exactly what he did. In 2018, he rebranded myself as Alllwild (formerly “Lume”), where the three L’s stand for Living through Lessons Learned, because he believes that because of what he has learned from his experiences, he cannot be stopped. He dropped his debut project Volume 1 in September of 2018 and in January of 2019 he won 93.9 WKYS’s Versus Challenge.

Dan is a Man on The Rise because of his growth not only as a person but as an artist. His freshman year, he barely spoke of his music. If so, it was short and faint. To witness his growth and this AMAZING project he just released, I am presssseddd. Pressed because he is actually talented. I’m not speaking from a biased pov, but this man is truly gifted. His lyrics are so real, his songs resonate with you, and his first visual…..everything. In addition to his musical talent, he is dominating corporate America. Dan is legit the man.

8. Joseph “Joey” Adeoye (@joeyog_)

Joey Adeoye, a DMV native, is the former CEO of JoTronics Repairs (JTR), Electronic repair business. He operated this business from 2013 to 2018, until he decided to leave the DMV to pursue his dream and work for one of the best Tech Companies in the world, Google. He currently works as an IT Engineer.

Joey is a graduate of Prince George’s Community College, where he doubled majored and earned his Associate’s in Information Technology and Computer Engineering Technology. He later went on to graduate from Towson University, where he earned his Bachelors degree in Information Technology. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Information Technology with a specialization in Project Management. His life is all about technology, but also business. He is a Brother of the oldest and largest professional business Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. 

His love for Tech and Business stemmed from being the only boy amongst 4 beautiful girls. Since he had no one to play with, he was automatically drawn to every electronic around him. At the age of 5, he competently operated his first computer. At the age of 7, he learned how to fix most of common the issues and all his family members always looked to him for help.

In addition to JoTronics Repairs being his passion, it gave him a strong foundation to secure IT jobs and internships that helped propel him faster in life. At the end of the day, his mission is to give back, help others, and never forget the people and opportunities that made him. He enjoys mentorship, public speaking, and planning his annual Genuine Happiness community service events that he began in 2017, primarily serving the less fortunate in DC. 

Joey is a Man on The Rise because he is about his business. I’ve known him for his work in tech, but to see how he harnessed his talent and paved away from himself, its great. It sets him apart, and him being such a selfless person makes him that much better. Google is lucky to have someone like him, and its great seeing him happy doing what he does. I just love seeing Nigerian kids flourishing in fields they truly love!

9. Haneef Hardy (@kinghardy___)

25 year-old, Haneef Hardy is someone who lives by the motto “Be who you needed when you were younger”. At the start of his adolescent years in West Philadelphia, things took a devastating turn in his lifestyle. He seemingly went from some of the best days of his childhood to the worst. His life initially consisted of a happy home with two parents – and instantly switched to no home and no guardian. 

Haneef uses his unconventional past as motivation to help him inspire and help lead people to reaching their unlimited potential. Unlimited Potential is the name of the mentoring program Haneef founded here in Baltimore 2 years ago. His main goal is to uplift and inspire the King and Queen in everyone.

Haneef made his way to Baltimore via a track and field scholarship to Morgan State University in 2014. After getting his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Haneef started substitute teaching, which then led to a permanent position at Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy. After those initial interactions with the kids substitute teaching, Haneef realized his destiny.

He saw himself in a lot of his students. His upbringing wasn’t’ the best which is why he related to them. at a point in his life, he grew up homeless, but a Woman named Cherly Hardy, his behavior specialist in school, came along and took after him. She later introduced him to her son Brian, and he saw the need for stability Haneef’s life and decided to adopted him. To pay tribute to these amazing people, Haneef now does everything he can to be that same blessing to as many young people as he can. His mentoring program has impacted the lives of those apart of it, and he believes that his path is to make difference not only in his classroom, but in the community.

Haneef’s bio was probably the hardest to write, because I was trying to capture the essence of his story in so little words. His story is so moving, and after getting to know it you’ll under why he is truly a Man on The Rise. He uses his pain and struggles to help the students he comes across. Instead of write that “bad” student off, he understands them and uses his mentoring program to cater to their needs. He is one of those people the child in us needed when we were younger. I really want all of my readers to hear his story, and support and uplift him as he is making strides to help the youth, and the Baltimore community as a whole.

10. Donte M. Dixon (@___d1xon)

Donte M. Dixon, a first generation college graduate and Forbes 30 under 30 class member, hails from Baltimore, MD. He is a graduate of Morgan State University where he received his Bachelors of Science in Finance. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Business Administration from the Graves School of Business.

As a young man from an economically challenged household and community in West Baltimore, he has attacked goals through life that aim to break educational, social, and socioeconomic barriers. As a resource for knowledge, education, and mentorship, he seeks to empower those with the entrepreneurial spirit, and motivation to push the limits of their success. He does this through hosting and directing finance and investment sessions throughout Baltimore City, from Elementary levels to College. 

While teaching practical skills in session, he also imparts living knowledge and wisdom to provide substance by sharing his successes and pitfalls sustained along his journey. Through his story, and the story of others, he hopes to lend new knowledge, perspective and understanding of the process of Generational success stories. He currently has plans in development for an Urban Business space where our community can work to provide a supportive ecosystem that is sustainable mindfully, socially and economically. He currently works as a Morgan Stanley Operations Specialist.

Donte is a Man on The Rise because he works actively to spread knowledge on financial literacy and awareness to his community. He wants us all to thrive, and he expounds upon the important of generational wealth. As someone whose been in the struggle, he’s speaking from experience, and he is so genuine and passionate about what he does. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on Financial literacy, this is the man to go to.

11. Malik Whatley (@malikthepharaoh)

Malik is currently a student at the University of Baltimore finishing up his Publication Design master’s program. Hailing from Landover, Maryland, Malik discovered his love of art while a freshman at Central High School. With technology constantly changing,  he was inspired by one of his high school teachers to try his hand at graphic design. He fell in love with graphic design and never looked back. In December of 2016, he graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design. While at Morgan State, Malik was a designer for the Student Government Association and designed flyers for multiple organizations on campus. 

Since graduating, Malik has held the title of Creative Director for his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. He has also become the head designer for Mimosa City ™️ and the clothing brand Self Society Worldwide, both founded by his fellow Morganites.

Malik is a Man on the Rise because his creativity sets him above the rest. Since undergrad, Malik’s body of work has always been impressive. I have always admired his creativity. You give Malik an idea, and the way he brings it to life….it’s crazy! He uses his talent to help brands bring their ideas to life, and I am in awe of his raw talent. If you need any type of graphics, Malik is your guy. I promise you won’t regret it!

12. Eric Murchinson (@ericm.jr)

Eric Murchison Jr was born and raised in West Baltimore, Maryland. Knowing the struggle that comes with growing up in an underprivileged community, this pushed Eric to strive for success. He always knew education was his way to that. He is a graduate of Morgan State University, where he received his Bachelors degree in Finance. He is currently a student at the Harvard School of Business online program with a concentration in contract negotiations.

Eric is a brother of Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc. He has a passion for mentoring and uplifting his community. This passion allowed for him to have many achievements such as: Forbes Under 30 2018 Fellow, a Yale University Emerging Leaders Class Of 2019, and a student of the summer 2019 class of the Charles Hamilton Houston Law School program, which was held at Georgetown Law School. Eric is a prospective law student for the Fall of 2020. 

In 2018 Eric launched a networking event company called Millennials Connect . It’s a company geared towards helping millennials increase their network through social events. Eric is also the founder of the Eric Murchison Jr leadership academy. His leadership academy was created in order to teach young males from Baltimore important leadership skills in order to succeed in life.

Eric is a Man on The Rise because of his passion for uplifting his community and dedication in turning his dreams into reality. Despite his humble beginnings Eric continues to defy the odds that were set against him through his hard work and dedication.  Eric’s favorite quote “ it’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you’re going”. He truly is a dedicated change maker, and I personally have been inspired by his journey!

13. Eugene Maddy (@getboxed)

Eugene’s philosophy is “It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”— Paul Caponigro

Eugene Denzel Maddy is a Portrait photographer located in the Maryland area. Coming from a Sierra Leonean upbringing, Eugene tends to focus on capturing the beauty of various cultures through his work. Using warm tones and vibrant colors, it has allowed him to bring out the best in people. He has a keen interest in learning about a wide variety cultures through his lens.

He takes photos because he throughly enjoys it. He loves the creative process, and how it helps us connect to other people, and appreciates the sense of community it builds.Eugene embodies all of these things and more, you can see the progression in every photo putting in time, effort and love.

Eugene is a Man on The Rise because he really captures the essence of his subjects through his sense. He really does have an appreciation for other cultures, and you can see it through his work. He is the mastermind behind many of the photos you see from DMV creatives. I appreciate the art he produces, and I respect the artist in him.

14. Quodarrius Toney @(__dr.q)

Quodarrius was born and raised in Memphis Tennessee. He is a graduate of  Howard University and is a prospective graduate of Howard University College of Dentistry Class of 2021 D.D.S. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. He is currently pursuing a career in Cosmetic Dentistry!

He chose dentistry because he is a strong advocate of self-agency. He always believed that if there was anything about his life that he did not like, it was his responsibility to work towards changing it. Recognizing that he had the ability to improve himself filled him with the desire to catalyze that transformation in others. He strives to be a catalyst for change in others’ lives. It is his personal belief in the power of reformation that lead him to seek a career in Cosmetic Dentistry. He believes this carrier will allow him to exercise his passion and provide others with the tools to reform their oral health and aesthetics.  He believes through dentistry, he has found his purpose.

“Dr. Q”, is a Man on The Rise because I admire his passion for change not only in his personal life, but in the lives of his patients. He works tirelessly to provide them with a smile that is sure to transform them. He is passionate about dentistry, and he has made it a goal that he is about to reach. As someone in aspiring to enter into the medical field, it is really a sight to see. He has worked to build a brand, and he has made it all look fun while doing so!

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 HaywireWeekend.com 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 MusaMajicTV.com

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!

Women on the Rise: DMV Edition

The D.M.V. (For those who don’t know is an acronym that represents D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) is such a beautiful and diverse place. Originally, I did not appreciate this place, but we thank God I had a change of heart. In all of the United States, you’ll never find another area like it. From the music, to the fashion, the DMV is one-of-a kind. The people here are unmatched. The beautiful men and women who make up this place are from all walks of life, dwelling together to create this unique area. The DMV is full of ambitious millenials who are grinding to make their way to the top. Here, you will find awe-inspiring women who are pushing the culture forward by simply doing them and dominating while doing so. These Queens are educators, designers, doctors, content creators…the list really goes on.

At A2A, I’m very big on uplifting, empowering, and supporting women. This is why in this post, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to shed some light on women who have been doing amazing things in their fields lately. They are dominating and trailblazing their way through life, and it is honestly inspiring. These Queens are DMV’s Women on the Rise!

1. Sydney Flanagan (@junothestylist_)

photo by @jshots__

Better known as JunoTheStylist, Syd was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She received her BS in Family & Consumer Science with a concentration in Fashion Merchandising at the illustrious Morgan State University. She often states that studying fashion was the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She’s known she always had a passion for fashion at a very young age and she knew her purpose was to make other people feel good in the clothes that they wear.

Not only is this beauty educated, but sis has credentials! Here are some of her noteworthy accomplishments: Style Assistant Intern for Madonna
Wardrobe Assistant for movie “All In” feat. Lil Mama
Stylist Assistant for “The Author Incubator”
Creative Director for B.A.P.S Remake (which you all should check out!)
Interned with Hanifa Official 

In addition to her noteworthy accomplishments, my girl started her own company, Savvy The Label! STL is a brand that offers personal styling, image consultations, closet revamping and creative direction. 

Syd is a Woman on the Rise because she’s amazing at her craft. Ever since I have known her, I could see that her passion for fashion goes beyond clothes, she committed to the full transformation of the people she styles. She’s a go-getter, with impeccable style, and that transcends into everything she touches. Oh, and my sis can dance! I’m pretty confident that you’ll be seeing her name everywhere pretty soon!

2. Allison Powell (@kay.spade)

photo by @nandihenderson

Allison K. Powell is a Health Management Consultant with six years of experience working in health care. Her background is in public health with an emphasis on policy and management (she has a masters, okay). She is an Alabama native with a passion for healing urban communities and addressing social determinants of health barriers. In her personal time, she enjoys promoting a healthy lifestyle highlighting the importance of mental and physical health. You can follow her health journey on instagram where she motivates her followers to live healthier.

Allison is a Woman on the Rise because she is truly inspiring. To know Allison is to love her. From her physical transformation, to her evolution as a woman, Allison has touched so many young women. Allison’s story alone will show you that nothing can stop her. No matter what trial or tribulation life throws her way, she is 100% committed to the advancement of people everywhere. She is the definition of a girl boss. She does a great job at balancing her career, living a healthy lifestyle, and living the life she loves. Plus, Allison help me get snatched with her monthly workout challenges, so if you want to get that summer body now, follow my good sis!

3. Saudat Almaroof (@bonaroof)

Saudat is a graduate of Morgan State University. During her matriculation at Morgan she received her Bachelors of Science in Marketing and was involved with various student organizations. Shortly after graduating she founded Jaiyeroof, Inc., a 501(c) 3 non profit organization whose aim is to serve underprivileged communities in Nigeria. Since its inception, Jaiyeroof has fed over 1300 people in various communities in Lagos, Nigeria, and has held a 3 day Vocational Training program. Saudat will be chartering chapters of Jaiyeroof on the campuses of University of Maryland, College Park and Morgan State University this spring. In conjunction with serving as the Executive Director of Jaiyeroof, Saudat works as an IT Auditor at a CPA firm in Alexandria, Virginia.

Saudat is a  Woman on the Rise because since I’ve known her she’s been about her business. She has dominated anything she set out to accomplish. She is also one of the most selfless people I’ve come across and her selflessness has helped so many people in Nigeria. Her organization has brought a few students to Nigeria to aid in the efforts of taking care of those in need. At such a young age, her philanthropic efforts are commendable, and each year her organization gets better. The crazy thing is, she’s just getting started. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next.

4. Racheal Cheek (@rachhhwavy)

photo by @steve.christo

Rachael Cheek was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. She received her BS in Biology from Morgan State University and her MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University. She is currently a first-year medical student at Meharry Medical College.

Her journey to medicine was not an easy one. She knew that she wanted to be a physician since she was a child. Her initial desire to pursue a career in medicine stemmed from witnessing her mother struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. She wanted to learn about what made her ill and how she could fix it; she knew that becoming a neurologist would allow her to help individuals like her mother. Beyond clinical medicine, she has a strong interest in public and health policy. Personal experiences with health insurance and witnessing health-disparities first has inspired her interest in that realm.

Racheal is a Woman on the Rise because she has shown me to not give up on a dream. She didn’t take the traditional route to medical school, but she made it happen. Her story has shown me that there isn’t one way to get to your dream, all it takes is a leap of faith. Since undergrad, she has been intentional about her goals, and it is truly amazing to see hers manifest. As an aspiring doctor, she has pushed me to do the same.

5. Alljahni Mack (@jvhnimvck)

Alljahni, 23, was born and raised in New York City. She attended Morgan State University in 2013 where she became known for her amazing style and cool hipster attitude. Since she was young she was always labeled as someone who dressed different. Her grandmother and mother introduced her to thrifting at a very young age. Although she was not interested in it at first, around the later years of middle school and into high school, she began thrifting. Thrifting did not become popular till her 10th/11th grade year. She didn’t care, she expressed herself through her clothing despite the opinion of others. Once thrifting did become popular, people began to gravitate towards her style. She always knew she had style but she wanted it to be more than that. She wanted a real talent. With the constant encouragement of friends, she sought out to find her gift and she did! In 2017, she began styling. The same year she coordinated and curated her very first fashion show. With the help of her amazing team, they pulled off a great show. From here, she started her own online thrift store boutique, and now she designs pieces from scratch! She currently makes handmade vests and designs amazing custom pieces. Her dream is to own her very own consignment/thrift store in New York.

Alljahni is a Woman on the Rise because she is changing the narrative. She is about expressing your TRUE self. She teaches others to get out of the box that society puts us all in. She shows me its cool to be different no matter what anyone else thinks. She shows us that confidence is all you need, and that fashion is a language and its about whatever you try to express. This young lady was also seen slayinggggg NYFW. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few years, we will see her there curating her own show.

6. Olamide Iyanda (@olamide.iyanda)

Olamide Iyanda was born and raised in the Metropolitan Area. She attended Morgan State University where she studied Health Education, but her real true passion was Marketing and Communication. After she graduated, she encountered some obstacle along the way that made it hard for her to enter the public health sector. Olamide decided to give up her parents’ dream and to pursue her passion for Marketing.  

 This  led her to create Naija Girl Talks Podcast. NGT was inspired from all the years of intimate conversation Olamide would have with close girlfriends whenever they got together. NGT is a show that showcases the unheard stories of First-Generation Nigerian Women who are dealing with the growing pains of living in America. So far, the podcast has had over 10,000 listens in its first season. Season 2 is scheduled to start October 1st, 2019. 

Olamide is a Woman on the Rise because she shows me how important it is to follow your dreams. As an African kid, your parents pressure you to fit into this mold of who they want you to be, but Olamide graciously broke that mold, and is showing others they can do the same. Her passion and love for marketing is seen through her work. She creates authentic, refreshing, and relatable content that is sure to put a smile on your face. This fashionable woman of God effortlessly pushes beyond the labels and does life her way. I can’t wait for the greatness she has in-store.

7. Jennifer Gomez (@g.jennn)

photo by @getboxed_

Jennifer is a woman, mentor, social worker, and runway coach dedicated to massively transforming people and society positively. For over 5 years she has studied human behavior and understanding the power of self. Out all of her experience as an individual and model, she offers a unique and passionate opportunity for individuals, one step at a time. By helping people overcome their mindset of fear and mindfully practicing authenticity on and off the runway. She believes that to live your true purpose it takes for one to be their authentic self at all times. Authenticity Doesn’t Die. It is through her knowledge, skill sets, personal experiences, and keen detailed eye that she aims to transform and an unseen gem to a walking bona fide gem that the world was meant to see. 

She does this through her company JAG.Co. JAG.Co is a full model development inspiring aspiring models and children living in inner-city neighborhoods in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. Their global vision is to promote social well-being by helping individuals develop their image, self-esteem, and exhibit self-expression through fashion and art as a nonprofit. They provide model consultation and coaching for all ages, ethnicity, shapes, sizes, heights, and level of experiences.

I remember the first time I saw Jennifer on the runway. She absolutely commanded the stage. Her stride and confidence absolutely caught the eyes of everyone in the room. She is a Woman on the Rise because she gives this gift to others. It is not just about modeling. It’s about putting your fear to the side, owning who you are, and accepting you. She teaches us to be completely authentic and to look tf bomb while doing it.

8. Tolu Okanlawon (@tolumontana)

Tolu Okanlawon, popularly known as Tolu Montana, is a super friendly outgoing PG native. This 26 year old graduated from the illustrious Bowie State University with a Bachelors of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies. Her passion is children (anything and everything that has to do with children). One day she hopes to own several child care centers catered to empowering and shaping the minds of children all over. She currently works as an educator, but she is also an entrepreneur! She is the CEO of CrystalClearLashes, where she sells and installs quality lashes. In addition to to her lash business, she is currently working on a mentoring group for young women. She also has a very entertaining YouTube channel.

Tolu is a Woman on the Rise because of a number of reasons. She really is ardent about working with the youth. This is seen both inside and outside her classroom. She is serious about shaping the young minds of tomorrow, and she does by providing love and support to all of her students. Her upcoming mentoring program will be geared toward the development of young women, and it’s going to touch the lives of young women everywhere. Oh and her lashes are really popping, so I suggest you all go get you some!

9. Aysha Williams (@queenaysh)

photo by @thephotochase

Hailing from the Charm City of Baltimore, Aysha Williams is a proud Alumna of the Prestigious, Morgan State University. Williams is a professional freelance model, human services professional, and Founder of POWERHOUSE PLUS. While in undergrad, she had a strong desire to be a fashion model, however there weren’t any other women in the campus orgs that she could relate to physically. As a result, she had an idea to create a distinct and exclusive modeling agency for women sizes 12 and up. Thus her business was POWERHOUSE PLUS was born. POWERHOUSE PLUS is a mentorship based full figured model organization, whose mission is to create an empowering space for young women and adolescents to build confidence, establish a sisterhood, and break barriers associated with low self-esteem through the art of modeling. Since the start of her business, Williams has worked with over 80 young adults who attend or has obtained a collegiate degree from various universities in the D.M.V region.

Aysha is a Woman on the Rise because she promotes self-love and confidence no matter what size you come in. Her entire brand is catered to plus-size women accepting themselves, loving their bodies, and slaying no matter the time or place. She’s done so much, but she’s on her way to doing so much more! On November 16, 2019, Williams will be producing her 2nd POWERHOUSE PLUS Fashion Showcase.  

10. Dupe Ajayi (@dupesonthebeat)

Modupe Victoria Ajayi, also known as “Dupesonthebeat” is a professional makeup artist based in Bowie, Maryland. She prides herself in offering her clients flawless makeup applications for bridal work, photoshoots and everyday occasions by simply enhancing the beauty that lies within them.

Victoria graduated in the spring of 2019, from Bowie State University, earning her bachelors degree in Business Administration. She will soon be furthering her education by pursuing her Masters degree in Business, as well. 

Dupesonthebeat was born by chance, Victoria’s love & interest for all things beauty began during her junior year of high school. The goal was to learn how to do her eyebrows and one thing led to another. Shortly after & with encouragement from friends and family she started offering makeup services and things began to blossom. This is still the beginning of her journey, and she plans to continue to leave an impact on society and women empowerment by establishing herself in other business ventures.

Dupe is a Woman on the Rise because she is a girl boss! Her boss babe mentality has helped mold her business as a makeup artist. She is uses her gift as an artist to enhance the beauty we already have. Her beats are flawless, and she will have you looking right for any occasion. Her astonishing transformations leave all her clients in awe when they get out of her chair. She is one of my fav DMV MUAs. Besides the fact that she is a bomb artist, she’s a sweet soul. Her friendly persona and out- going personality naturally draws you. She is a force to be reckoned with!

11. Ayana Bell (@ayanajanae)

Ayana Bell, a D.C. native, is a Morgan State University Alumnae with a B.S. in information systems. Her passion for IT started in middle school. She knew what career path she wanted to take early, so she geared every phase of her life toward that goal. She became well-rounded and experienced in her field. Since high school she developed a plan to get her to dream career. She attended networking events, spent time with computer teachers to pick their brains, and even became a student ambassador for IT conferences and seminars. While at Morgan, she participated in a plethora of community service organizations that were specific to her field in tech. She served as President of the Association of IT professionals for 2 years, worked as an Orange Technician for 3 years, and served as as a student ambassador that opened the door for her to work for the Office of Information Technology. Her networking and interpersonal skills, internships, and tech experience placed in her in the position she’s has always wanted. Today, she currently works for Accenture Federal Services as a CyberSecurity Analyst working within compliance.

Ayana is a Woman on the Rise because she IS that black girl in tech. She has this genuine zeal for what she does, and it inspires other young black women to follow their tech dreams. I stan Ayana because she has always had a plan. Tech has always been the end goal, and to see her break barriers and accomplish that is truly inspiring. She has stepped out of her comfort zone, fearlessly pursued the career she wanted, and she got it! She is black girl magic.

Each of these women have had an impact on me in one way or another. They’ve taught me to be confident, authentic, selfless, healthy, sexy, smart, gentle, and so much more. Some of them I know personally, others from a distance, but each have inspired me. I wanted to shed light on these ladies, because not so often do they get the credit they deserve. I’m thankful to know these women in the capacity that I do, and I hope within this post they have inspired you as they have done with me. I urge you all to get familiar with these ladies because in a few years they will be household names!

NOW, because there are soooooo many popping women, I couldn’t get them all in one post, so please be on the look out for part 2! Oh and I have something for the gentlemen as well so stay tuned!