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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 rising stars below.

Kiyawna McKenzie (K. Kenzie)

I used to watch the same movies repetitively as a little girl. I would even remember the lines and act out the scenes to my family. Although, I always had a passion for films, it never crossed my mind to want to obtain a career in the entertainment industry. I’m the youngest of three. My older sister who I always admired went to college and received both her BA and MBA. My older brother went to an HBCU and received his BS. Read more>>

Gabbriel Lewis

I was born and raised on the west side of Atlanta by a single mother of three daughters. Growing up, I always loved anything that allowed me to express my creativity, from coloring to making jewelry, baking cookies in my easy bake oven to doing my baby doll’s hair, you name it, I pretty much did it. I still remember the moment when I taught myself how to plait my dolls hair. Read more>>

Lyndon Burch

I accepted a position with Girls Inc. of Columbus, GA. It was here that I got the idea for the film festival after reading an article about Georgia’s standing in the film industry and observing members create videos and upload them to Facebook and Instagram. In five years, the festival has screened over 250 student films and hosted student filmmakers, actors and their families from 44 states and 12 foreign countries. Read more>>

Dr. Anthony Donaldson

After years of hard work and determination, Dr. Donaldson refused to speak until the time was right. When asked why he hasn’t spoken in nearly 10 years his reply was simple, “it wasn’t time.” Well, the time has come. Dr. Donaldson’s resume for freedom exceeds his short life. As you may notice in the reflective image depicted above, Dr. Donaldson has come a long way since his poverty-stricken days as a youth. By age 17, Dr. Donaldson moved out of on his own with less than $200 to his name. Read more>>

Maejor Emoni Love

I’ve only ever wanted to entertain. As a boy, I was the quintessential class clown. I doodled in notebooks and made all A’s and B’s. Some might call it the typical story of a kid who was destined to make it out of the neighborhood. Growing up, I didn’t like my neighborhood. Tough times. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, on E.125th Street. Read more>>

Monique Scott

I was always a go-getter and would find ways to make extra money. Prior to starting my company, I would do quick mobile hairstyles such as ponytails, quick weaves, braids, and sew-ins to make sure we had extra cash for food, daycare and, etc. I purchased as many hairstylist supplies from my local beauty supply store, created some business cards and lined up a few solid clients. I knew that I needed to become licensed but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be all in. Read more>>

Shy Santiago

Our story starts at the Salvation Army Homeless shelter, where we had been living for almost one year since I decided to move to down south from Cleveland Ohio in search of a new home and a better job. One evening when my 8-year-old daughter Anita comes home from school and she’s very frustrated because she has friends from other countries that don’t speak good English and she wants to communicate with them in THEIR language to make them feel more comfortable. Read more>>

Gregory Piccirilli

I am an Atlanta native who fell in love with acting while attending Georgia Southern University. It was the first thing in life that gave me butterflies. After graduating, I worked for the Alliance Theatre as a teaching artist and understudied for a role in one of their Theatre for the Very Young shows. After leaving the Alliance, I traveled, went through life challenges, worked odd jobs, and continued to act here and there. Read more>>

Ashlyn Simpson

I chose to create my own so I know exactly what I’m putting on my skin and know what to tell others. At first, my company was called Edi’s Cosmetics because of my middle name but I thought about the future and I want to expand and do much more so I permanently changed it to “Glow Envi.” I can do massages and more up under one name, eventually, I’d like a shop. My products are all made to order from scratch and they really have a great impact on the skin. Read more>>

Kentavious Burney

I came to start producing music at the age of 15. At the age of 15, I ended up doing a record for a group I started called The Rich Kidz. The track was called, “My Partna Dem” Feat young dro, which got me on the radio as a number one record. I had two number one records as a matter of fact with Rich Kidz the other record being “Wassup” from there on, my life changed for the better. Read more>>

Tahir Register

After graduating from college in 2013, I saw a void for positive media for people of colour. In lieu of complaining, I decided to do something about it, and that something was TheBLACKMedia.org. I wanted to create a safe space for people of colour in entertainment to exist on without gossip, rumors or negativity because there’s already so much of that. Read more>>

Erica-Jamie Addae

When I was eight years old, I got a relaxer to have my hair bone straight. I wanted to fit in with my peers that did not resemble me, and I didn’t see the beauty in my hair due to media and my environment. I was relaxing my hair from the age of 8 to the age of 15. Over those years, I had so much breakage. One day, my parents told me my hair looked terrible and took my flat iron from me. Read more>>

Lucca Melody

I would travel all over competing against some of the best amateur racers in the world. I had planned to go pro with Motocross, but in the summer of 2015, I had a national in Texas, and I ended up getting injured and having to have surgery. Recovery was a long, boring process. With that time, music really became an important part of my life, it helped me get through so many things I was dealing with at the time. Read more>>

Kessey Cham

My father got me a tutor immediately and told me to push through my senior year to graduate because there was a better life waiting for me after college…SIKE! I successfully graduated and had almost 6.5 years of new struggles ahead. I attained my Associates Degree at GA Perimeter in biological science and told myself why did I pick science. Well, Dr. Newman, my chemistry teacher in West Orange High School broke it down and made it fun! With him in mind. Read more>>

Aerica Sauls

I was sitting at home and just had a ton on my mind, but had no idea how to get motivated and not let these little nagging problems get the best of me. I knew one thing though, I was hungry. Stress is the only time that I like sweets. I didn’t want any of the typical store bought cookies or cakes. So after watching Tasty videos for about two hours and still unsure of what I had a taste for, I decided to come up with some ideas on my own and get in the kitchen. Read more>>

Merita McCalister

With Love, Ari Mac, is a public-service company that was formed in October 2012 in Atlanta, GA. The company is owned and operated by Merita “Ari” Mccalister who is pillar in the community as a MSW (Master Social Worker) and Grief Recovery Specialist currently working in grief and loss. She has also done charitable and educational work with Children’s Hospital, Kate’s Club and Live Safe to name a few. Read more>>

THEFOODLORD

Everything pretty much started in 8th grade when I moved back to my aunts house in stone mountain. I linked up with my cousin K.I.D & Tazz and formed a group called ” YMG “. We was just kids then and it was just the beginning of learning how to rap. Once I got to high school it was a whole different thing. People were more serious and could actually free style so it was a bit scary for a minute. As I got older I started to get more serious with my craft. Read more>>

Tabitha Higgs

10 years ago, I started as a member of collegiate chapter of a Nonprofit with a focus on increasing awareness on HIV and AIDS. I was completely green and unaware of where I saw my life going. I was going to class, going to work and going home. But I joined this organization as a way to pay homage to a friend of mine and it changed my life. I found purpose in magnifying a message and finding creative ways to engage other people. Read more>>

Lawrence Inman

Fitness was not always my passion. I started my fitness journey because I was dealing with personal health issues. From a young age I have dealt with asthma, numerous people told me I wasn’t allowed to do activities because of it. I was determined to prove them wrong, and create/live a stronger,healthier life. I started fervently studying my own body and my own nutrition. Read more>>

B. Faith B. Faith

I came to Atlanta about 5 years ago to enroll in school for audio production. I encountered a few setbacks and detours but thats life! Regardless of the delays I kept pushing forward. Almost a year and a half ago I enrolled in SAE Institute and I’m happy to say that im now officially a graduate and actively recording and producing music here in Atlanta. Read more>>

Emani Rashad

My interest in multimedia started back in 2013 as a sophomore in high school when a Nikon camera was assigned to me by a JROTC instructor. With absolutely no knowledge of how to use a camera, I used a host of Youtube tutorials to highlight students and events at school. Fast forward to freshman year in college, I had experience with web design, photography, digital design, and videography but nowhere to truly hone in on my skills. Read more>>

Clay Jones

I’ve always had a great love for comics and animation, and my mom used to draw a good bit. I think around middle school I started to draw a bit for fun, and in high school I started to take it much more seriously. My art teacher then sought me out to put me into advanced placement classes, and when I found that I was able to thrive in that environment, I worked toward getting my BFA in studio art (which I just got this past May). Read more>>

Stacey Rex

After struggling to find a truly safe and natural solution to soothe my daughter’s eczema, I turned to plants and was blown away by the impact they had on her skin. Not only did they work for my daughter, but I discovered how versatile botanical ingredients were for my whole family’s skin and skin care routines. I was making lavender lotion sticks for her, facial oils for myself and friends, and it was really my friends that pushed me to create my Etsy Shop 5 years ago. Read more>>

 CeCe Kyle

Everyone that knows me, knows that this was my first idol. I loved music, and from watching him I grew a strong love for dance as well. My dancing then met creative forces with my hobby of skating and from there I have been able to combine my talents. From my passion of music & connecting with others, I have had numerous opportunities from hosting events, performing live at Center Stage with artist Lloyd. Read more>>

Black Kenn

Independent artist Black Kenn was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. Growing up, music was always around but all he dreamt of was becoming a star basketball player. He dedicated himself to becoming the best player he could be throughout high school and college. His dreams of being that hoop star was unfortunately blocked and was only left with his second love; music. Read more>>

Alexis Wallace

Me being raised by my grandparents was probably be the best thing that happened to me because my father was killed when I was 3 and my mother was on and off crack for most of my life until she passed away in November 2014. Growing up I’ve always been calm and collected and that what makes me so cool and different from other people. I never really got into any trouble at school because I knew that there would be consequences. Read more>>

Ge Holla

My first interview coverage was with Tamar Braxton in studio live interview. It did so well and the executives at iHeartmedia was so impressed with my platform ge.holla.com-Celebrity blogging and vlogging it prompted them to have me cover virtually every event moving forward that involved Fantasia, Lyfe Jennings, Mary J Bridge, Tamar Braxton, Doug E. Fresh, Trina, Monica, Avant, Urban Mystic, Carl Thomas, & many more. Read more>>

Ashanti D

I’ve always had a passion for the beauty community ever since I was 13, I would always play in my mom’s makeup and loved the different things you could do with it. Eventually, I graduated and I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I ended up working a lot of jobs but wasn’t happy at any of them until I decided one day to enroll in Esthetician school. Read more>>

Angela Wilkerson

I started Lovejoy Naturals 4 1/2 years ago. I’ve always been in the beauty world-meaning all things beauty, makeup, lipsticks and glosses, cleansers, etc excite me!! I was working on a Chikdcare center a few years back. To me it was an ongoing conversation with women saying they had given up on skin care- especially as they are aging. Hmmmm, so I thought to myself, nooooo we cant give up so easily. Read more>>

Quinton Miles

I’ve always been a creative person so doing anything that challenges/expands my creative possibilities is my passion. I love creating art and doing activities with my hands. When I was younger I was inspired by Dragon Ball Z. My first drawing was a character from the show, Krillin. From there, I would draw different characters all the time. One day my cousin showed me how to use photo editing tools on the computer. Read more>>

Hadi aka HADIBOYYY

I began rapper around 2008, 2009. I am currently 22 now, so the math can show you how long I’ve been embarking this journey. I met my now label partner and brother SwaVay and middle school and we began our journey as rappers. We started as a duo called NSK, then called New Swagg. By the time 2011 came, we became DOLO. From 2011 to about 2016 I was finding myself as an artist. I was figuring out my style, subject matter and sound I was aiming for. Read more>>

Leo Marshall

behind the scenes at events, involved in productions and living in that scene. One of the things I am known for is beautiful visuals and lighting. I attribute that to the passion for production that started when I was younger. I brought that behind-the-scenes knowledge with me when I moved to Atlanta. Read more>>

Zayden

I always had an interest in fashion design and fashion illustration. In high school I used to design my high school marching band Drill team uniforms and then I started designing prom dresses for seniors in high school. After high school I decided to go to Alcorn State University where I recieved my bachelors of science degree in business administration. After doing alot of soul searching,I wanted to take a different direction and fashion was it. Read more>>

Kadisha Phillips

Currently, as an entrepreneur, Kadisha dedicates her time to providing start-ups and established brands with the tools they need to reach greater heights. As the founder of Take Cntrl Consulting, Kadisha is passionate about creating partnerships and using digital marketing strategies. In this role, Kadisha leads a team of consultants and addresses the business needs of her clients using innovative approaches that excite, inspire, and engage target audiences. Read more>>

Tyrone McQueen

My name is Tyrone McQueen, I am a Native of Charleston. I have always been interested in Photography and decide to make it more than just a hobby. I describe my work as making art through photographs. God, my family and my life is inspiration for my work. I originally Called the company Flashing Lights Photography but I woke up one morning just really hating the name. Read more>>

Darnell Samples

Our most successful Brand to date is “Black Women Are Dope, its a powerful statement that any gender or nationality can get behind and celebrate the greatness of Black Women. YCTN is becoming a household name in Atlanta, GA and we have expanded into doing custom bulk orders no matter the size for any event, occassion, or idea. We have partnered with Atlanta based companies such as Atlanta Ink, HugLife Cares, SMART Foundation. Read more>>

Tifiny Johnson

I’m a teacher. I’d like to tell you one of my many stories to help you see who I am and how my life has changed to a thriving one regardless of deep pain. In my story you will find lessons from my life. Experience is a great teacher. The late great Lola Mae Cobbs (my Great Grandmother) said bought sense is better than told. However, I believe there is another way to learn and it’s through someone else’s pain. Read more>>

Tamika Adams

I’ve always had a passion for music, playing piano and taking vocal lessons from age four. I’ve been in a few girl groups but found the always greatest joy in writing and creating stories in songs. I’ve worked with many different producers and artist in Atlanta and New York. I stay grateful for the gift of creating music and that always brings me opportunities. Read more>>

Anesia Saunders and Sivonyia Beckford

They knew that they wanted to create something beyond themselves that could serve as a safe space for women. On a fateful day in the library in 2016 (whilst procrastinating studying), they began to brainstorm names that would encompass the feeling they wished to ignite. Before they knew it Black Power Punk Girls was born! The very first BPPG event was called ‘The Good Vibe Circle’, hosted on a quiet beach in South Florida. Read more>>

Megan Rogers

I began dancing at the early age of six, however, prior to my enrollment with studio dance, it’s the only thing I did at home. My mom and dad tell some of the funniest stories of the dance moms and prop work I would perform in places not limited to; the grocery store, church, the park, outside, and of course all over the furniture in our home. Read more>>

Devon Mckelvin

As a creative soul, my journey in life has been a constant battle of fighting my fears. Learning to overcome the limitations, I mentally place on myself whether it be in my work, relationships, or career. Four years ago in 2015, I went through a chaotic situation which seemed like the worst. I was falsely accused of rape which led to me being kicked out of school, fired from my job leading to me becoming homeless. Why me was the only question I asked myself. Read more>>

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