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Downtown’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at VoyageATL is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Atlanta’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out Downtown’s risiy66ng stars below.

Brittany Cole

Every experience is an opportunity for continuous improvement. Growing up, the youngest of three and the only girl, my dad would always tell my brothers and me that “the biggest room in our house is the room for improvement.” My parents instilled in me the value of being a lifelong learner and owning my growth and development. This focus leads me to join INROADS as a high school student and by my sophomore year in undergrad, I was introduced to corporate America through their internship program. After two successful summers, I received an offer the fall semester of my senior year to join the organization. Read more>>

Catori Langley

I began my journey with Tori Talk about two years ago. It began with an idea that came to mind while napping on a train. I knew I always wanted to do/create a platform that could bring people together and bridge the gap. I also wanted to create something to help tell the stories of the “little guy.” Journalism was always my passion and is why I attended Howard University and made it my major. The show has been the perfect way for me to tell interesting stories, as well as put my journalism background to good use. Fast forward to today, my show has grown exponentially. I have interviewed and been able to shine a light on so many small Black businesses and owners and interviewed celebrities about how they are making a difference in their craft. It has truly been a blessing thus far. Read more>>

Kirbee Miller

My heart is in the kitchen. I started cooking and baking at a very young age. I have always loved the creative process of making delicious food. Growing up in Michigan in a cooking family and surrounded by neighbors with various cooking styles, I had a diverse training ground. Whether it was assisting my mother as she made her famous peach cobbler or watching my neighbor as she roasted peppers for her delicious stuffed peppers known around the neighborhood or taking in every detail as my aunt made her legendary seafood gumbo, each session in the kitchen was invigorating! I recall sitting for hours looking through cookbooks with fascination! Read more>>

Donesha Anthony

After graduating from Florida A&M University in the Spring of 2007 with a BS in Business Administration, I moved back to my hometown of Orlando, FL and accepted a District Sales Manager position with a corporate 500 company. For six years of post-college, I experienced a series of lay-offs and became more and more unfilled in my career. I was struggling to truly identify my passion, which made it impossible to be satisfied in the workplaces. I frequently volunteered myself to close friends and family who depended on my creativity, organization, and network of resources to plan and execute their imitate special events such as bridal showers, baby showers, dinner parties, banquets, birthdays, etc. In 2014, I was asked by a family member to step in as the Day of Coordinator the day prior to the wedding. Read more>>

Kevin Sichoumphonh

It all started my freshman year of college about four years ago. At the time, I use to carry a little film camera with me everywhere I went. I would document and photograph all the spontaneous things my friends and I would do. That’s when I ultimately fell in love with cameras. Read more>>

Alexis Reeves

It all started when I was in the 5th grade. I grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida. Coconut Grove is where all of the Bahamians that came to build Miami settled with their families. I was inspired by a lot of people around me, including my cousin, Avonda Jackson. She taught me how to hustle and earn money as a woman entrepreneur. I took the qualities of serving my community, learning how to handle customers and learning a way to provide for my family. One day in the 5th grade, I won a math contest and the teacher allowed us to pick from a bag of goodies. I chose a roll of film. I learned how to take photos and process the roll of film in the darkroom. From then, my passion grew and grew. In the 10th grade, I served the yearbook at Palmer Trinity to work as the Deputy Photo Editor while matriculating at Florida A&M University. Read more>>

Travis Wilder

God Got Me is a lifestyle brand that reinforces the fact that no matter what life throws your way, you can rest in the fact that GOD always has your back. The brand was started by two long time friends who wanted to create a brand to promote God fashionably. Both growing up as PK’s (Preacher’s Kids), God has always played a major role in both their lives. Cornell Mann and Travis Wilder brainstormed the idea and came up with the brand name “God Got Me”. They quickly trademarked the name and got to work. Once they came up with a logo design, they reached out to manufacturers and began the background work. They bought their domain, created their website, and began to market it. Now, they are growing everyday. Read more>>

Shantel Tatayana

I have a stereotypical story of how I used to cut my doll’s hair and such but really, my career started as a rebellion. I was accepted into a arts and tech high school. I wanted to take dance. My mother wanted me to take the business. She said, “If you can find your art and my business in a program, you can do it… no questions asked.” So I chose Cosmetology. Little did I know, in Cosmetology, I found my passion and my calling to all things beautiful. Read more>>

JT Thompson

Made by Left is all the work created by Left Field JT for The Left Field Loop. Creatively I’m known as LFJT, but personally, I’m just JT. The “left field” part comes from several years of being told that I’m super random, sometimes sporadic and that my thoughts & ideas always seem to come out of “left field.” It sounded good to me, so it stuck and I’ve been a.k.a LFJT ever since. I am a multi-hyphenate artist based in Houston, Texas, with a passion for the arts in various forms. The Left Field Loop was established in 2011 and was created to reflect innovation, creativity, and to inspire others to think outside the box. Made by Left is rebuilding and the goal is to reintroduce the world to all the cool things I make, from art to apparel. Read more>>

Zephaniah Jones and Johnathan Hall

Think All Be All was a joint idea that was thought up in middle school by my brother (best friend) and I. We always talked about starting a business and after years of talk, it was time to take action. 2018 was the year that the puzzle started coming together in my apartment. I was teaching the information I learned about real estate to my brother when he said, “if you can think it, you can be it” somewhere in our conversation to something I said. It was at that moment I knew the name of the business we would start, Think All Be All. From there we gathered the equipment that we had and I said, let’s perform for the community to let them know who and what we are, from there the rest is history! Nearly 300 performances later, we have embarked on a journey to expand the creative arts in and around our community with a much bigger vision in mind. Read more>>

Tim Glover

Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I dropped out of college and started making films out of whim with some neighborhood friends and I fell in love since then. I started off mainly doing mock trailers for film ideas I had, so me and friends would shoot like 3-4 scenes and I’d edit that into a 1-2min trailer. Before long, that snowballed into making short films. I made one short that ended up being featured at the Atlanta Sci-Fi Film Festival in 2016, and IMAX was a sponsor. I won a cash prize, had my film play at Atlantic Station, and an all-expense-paid trip to LA to meet with the CEOs of IMAX. They were great and I made a good relationship with one of them and that eventually led to me landing a job at the VFX dept of Avengers: Endgame. Read more>>

Samiyah Malik

Art Healing came to me late last year when I realized that I reached a point in my artistry where I could really say that art healed me. Recently, I have been through a great transformation, and I can give that all to deepening my connection to spirituality and art. Art is the language of my soul, and by sharing it with you, I am able to visually tell a story. I am passionate about curating safe spaces for the community to heal, learn and grow with each other. I think that I have learned the most from casual conversations with loved ones and strangers. There is so much to. Learn from each other. By sharing our stories and our ideas, we can continue to. Build relationships and make a change in the world. Read more>>

Kelly ‘GreenLight’ Thomas

I first started dreaming of Black Arts Retreat in 2010 when I attended a very dope and mostly white arts retreat out in the mountains of North Carolina. The natural beauty and creative immersion inspired me deeply and I got very excited about the prospect of hosting a retreat which specifically explored forms and features of the African Diaspora with artists that looked like me. We held the first Black Arts Retreat, in fall of 2013. It was an overnight camping trip and it seemed to me that everything that could go wrong did. But still the participants were so moved by the experience that they began speaking us into the future: They said things like, “I can just see us at BAR 10 years from now!” which threw me because I had not considered the prospect of an ongoing venture. Read more>>

Beverly Johnson

I started this business with a simple idea one Sunday afternoon in April 2015 while I was sitting on my couch. Around that time, I’d been divorced for about a year. During that time, I was very, very intentional about healing and discovering my identity in this new season. Using my newfound tools, I wanted to help other women grow and walk in their power. Fun fact – Genesys Fitness (GenFit) was not the original business name. I put in my mind that my business should have a totally different name. And every name I had on my list was gone. (thank goodness!) Read more>>

Devin Beauford

Alright, well originally, I was going to be a graphic designer. I was in tech school and photography was one of the required courses to get my degree. This was the first time I’ve picked up a camera since I was maybe ten. Before this moment, my only experience was filming skateboarding videos of my friends with cheap no-name digital cameras. I once had a Kodak camera. I got my mom to buy from Walmart when I was in 4th grade but my brother dropped it a month after I first got it and the lens broke. So when I started taking pictures for this class, I didn’t really know what to take pictures of. The curious person I am wanted to know more then what the class was teaching me at this time because it was pretty much just basic camera operation and not actually cool stuff to learn yet. Read more>>

Rodney HotRod Washington

I started back in high school with gaining the love of music. My dad always played music around me and introduce me to music to the point I use to make CDs to sell at school to share the same love of music I had, calling those CDs “The R in Rodney” Mixtapes. When I got in college I got more interested in playing music for more people so I picked up a course to learn radio, learning from some of the greats in Chicago Herb Kent, Devin Washington, Tone Kapone and ShaggNice, Tony Scofield, Teefa, Mike Love, etc. Read more>>

Dahlia Dillon

I started as an Intern at Think It’s A Game Records, I interned there all throughout college. I then worked as a personal assistant to Ms. Erica Bowen, assisting her with the artist she managed and also running personal errands for her and her family. I then realized I really had a passion for the music industry but couldn’t figure out my niche. I then took some time to figure out what it is I really like to do and that was Marketing. I love all the aspects the psychology behind etc. realized I was also creative. That’s when I thought music marketing could be my niche. I now do social media marketing and management for the progress report as well as NEA an upcoming indie label in Atlanta. Read more>>

Johnathan Nation

I started with my own company in 2018. I decided to take a new path and see what God had in store for me. 2018 was a very, very crazy year. I lost my grandfather in January. He is the reason why I am a musician and producer today. He started me off at the age of three and I took off from there. So everything that I do with my company and with music in general, it is dedicated to my grandfather. So moving up to 2020. Two years in business and I am grateful for where the company is now. I still have a lot more to learn. But I am grateful. We have released a few singles in the past year. And I am ready for more work and more clientele. I want to shoutout my mom, dad, sister, my grandma, my close friends, my Bishop, Marc L. House and all who have been in my corner since day one. Read more>>

Spmg Stackz

Spmg Stackz started out growing up in the south side of Columbus GA always loved music. It was my dream I just woke up one day and decided to be a rapper most of my friends would say I’m good at it but I wasn’t serious about it from things I’ve been through the struggle hard times good times bad times and sad times I learned how to change the music game I label myself as a rapper who’s past present and future is all in my music and I call it Tru Music now I’m working on my 2nd EP Trials And Tribulations which is set to drop Nov 30th, 2020 I am on most platforms FB-spmg stackz IG-stacks706 Reverberation-spmg stackz one of my hottest songs Goin In the video is out now on youtube Read more>>

Shaniah Renae

I started my business Shaniah Renae Designs, when I was in my summer term as a sophomore in college at Georgia Southern University. It was the beginning of quarantine and I had previously been working at Subway for my fall and spring semester, which I did not like, but I had to do what I had to do. However, it was summer 2020 and quarantine had just started. I was on temporary leave from work due to COVID, and I had a lot of time to perfect my craft at designing and to think. I am in college majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design with and emphasis in design and fashion has always been my passion because I grew up working for my grandmother, who is a well-known designer based in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more>>

Keianna Nicole

I’m a Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur born in Montgomery, Alabama. I lived in Montgomery for six months of my life prior to my father’s job, relocating the family to Hoover, AL, which is located just outside of Birmingham. This is where I spent most of my childhood. In 1999, my family and I relocated to Georgia only to be transferred back to Alabama in 2003. I recently relocated back to Georgia in 2015 Atlanta was where I knew I wanted to be to pursue my passion for music. I can say that I come from a musical background, starting with my great, great aunt being a blues singer, grandmother, a pianist, and both of my parents were a part of their high school and college bands. I have always had a love for music. Read more>>

Kelvin Apparicio

Well, growing up, I have always been interested in radio. I grew listening to radio personality greats like Ricky Smiley, Steve Harvey, and more. With not taking the correct route in Communications in college, but instead taking the IT route. I thought IT was the only thing I would be doing for the rest of my life. Then Joe Rogan sparked my interest. The more and more I watched his podcast, I felt like I had the knowledge to become a great podcaster. Joe has been a big influence in my career in podcasting and if I could ever give him a shoutout, I would like to thank him for letting me know not to ever give up on my dreams. Read more>>

Nathalie Antonello

This story started a while ago, pretty randomly. I wasn’t expecting that I was becoming a tattooer as a ‘real’ job. It was a sort of a surprise because I started just for fun, in a tattoo studio, guided by another tattoo artist. When I started, I was into an emotional storm because of some personal stuff and tattooing was giving me some extra-stress. I wasn’t balanced at all and my lines were very awful. Then, something has changed (and still changes) in my perception of things. Seven years later, I work in a couple of Italian tattoo studios and I feel like this kind of job gave me the ‘zen’ I was probably looking for. Read more>>

Rynette Upson-Bush

I was in the public school system for 17 years… teacher and administrator. I was also an adjunct professor for six years. Though I loved my career in the education arena, I knew I was supposed to be my own boss.In 2012 I took a leap of faith and left the school system to start a school with my sister. The first order of business was to find a building. Well in the process of looking for a building six buildings fell through and it wasn’t until the 7th building that we secured a place for our school. From there, we took off. We opened in October 2013 and by March 2014, we were full. Our first year open we became the Orlando Magic Preschool of the year! We were chosen as a model preschool by the Early Learning Coalition. Read more>>

Vanessa Van Dyke

Vanessa’s Essence was started in 2014 by my mom, with me being the face and spokesperson of the company after I became the victim of natural hair discrimination in 7th grade at a private school. My principal told me that I would either need to cut or straighten my hair in order for the bullying to stop. After this controversial story went viral on the news, I received a ton of backlash as well as an overwhelming amount of support from people all over the world. From this negative situation, Vanessa’s Essence was established in order to boost my self-esteem regarding my hair and other women and young girls, which is our current mission today. Read more>>

Sasha Coleman

Last summer, I thought of the idea of starting a sunglasses business but I wasn’t sure if it’d be successful or not so I hesitated. Although I doubted it, I just kept thinking about it so I started planning and looking for different vendors and eventually set a launch date. I launched on July 23, 2020, because this date is significant for me. I lost one of my childhood friends to gun violence on July 23, 2019, so I decided to launch Tunnel Vzn on that same date this year. Keeping a tunnel vision means staying focused on a specific thing no matter what and that’s what I aspire to do. I wish to continue being resilient even in the face of adversity, stay focused and be successful for myself, of course, but also for my loved ones (alive and deceased) whom I love and care for dearly. This is for y’all. Read more>>

Dana Benson

It was born out of many life challenges I was facing; challenges many of us (women in particular) face with the realities of life. I wanted to take those painful experiences and make something beautiful and meaningful for others. The Esthetic Loft is not only about the superficial. Our approach is a holistic one. Trying to provide a regenerative experience and helping you feel your most confident self. As my business grew, I developed a variety of beauty and wellness services. From teaching to esthetic services, the Esthetic Loft promotes self-care from the skin to within, in natural ways. Whatever your true beauty goals are, even just to be healthy and glow, The Esthetic Loft’s team aims to provide a haven where you can be nurtured, encouraged and help you discover what self you want to portray and be. Read more>>

Cory R

Riverside is home to me. It all started out as a song about the new location that I’ve moved to. The area was full of life. It was something I haven’t felt in a very long time. I came up with the brand from my first single “13th Riverside,” and I knew that this life was really a new one. Coming from where the North, I didn’t have a lot of things going for myself. Sure I have goals and dreams but I didn’t know how to push through that barrier to get to where I wanted to be. With this Brand, I’m very proud that I was able to bring people together. That’s the main goal behind everything I do. We must heal the world and try to bring light into the darkness. Read more>>

Robyn L. Gobin

A rich set of experiences have been pivotal in my journey to becoming a licensed clinical psychologist, most importantly, the early influence of my parents and the Black church. Aware of the unique challenges that I would face as a southern African American female born into the lower-middle class, my mother taught me to view education as the door to limitless possibilities. Although she valued achievement and success, she was also careful to instill in me the virtue of humility and emphasized the benefits gained from embracing the diversity of human experience. My father modeled hard work and perseverance. No matter how small, he approached every task with an attitude of excellence. Their joint influences initiated my drive to succeed academically and to use my knowledge to serve others. Read more>>

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