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!

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!