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Inspiring Stories from East Atlanta

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 East Atlanta’s rising stars below.

Bree Gordon

My journey started with me at one of the darkest points of my life smelling breastmilk and desperation as I sat face-to-face with my therapist with my four years old daughter and my eight weeks old son. I had made a decision to walk away from a dysfunctional relationship even though we had ten years of history and two small children. The journey of healing and peeling back layers of unresolved trauma showed me that so many women are walking around not knowing what healthy relationships look like. I wrote Black Coffee: From Empty to Overflowing With Peace, Healing, and Purpose to bring awareness about the differences between love and dysfunction and to break the stigma attached to seeking help. Read more>>

Brittney Holmes Jackson

I began writing at a very young age. I was published by the time I was 16 years old with a major publishing house and eventually went on to receive several literary awards and honors, including being named a bestselling author by Essence Magazine twice. I experienced some professional challenges as I matured and begin to discover my purpose in life, not realizing it had already been revealed. Ultimately, through exploration and discovery, God brought me back to writing but positioned me as a coach for others who struggle to share their stories to empower and encourage others. Read more>>

Maya Igbinovia

I’ve always been a creative/ crafty person, ever since I was a little child. Something about arts and crafts always excited me! I will never forget my dad and I entered a school contest to build a birdhouse when I was in grade school and we won! It was right then and there that I knew how interested in creating something from nothing was a passion of mine. As I grew older, I fell in love with writing poems and making greeting cards. While working at my first job in 9th grade, I had an opportunity to create a happy birthday card for a former coworker. She was so annoyed that she couldn’t find the perfect card for her perfect person. I assured her that we will make him something nice and she allowed me to put my creativity to work. Read more>>

Austin Grimes

I am a 23 years old music producer, audio engineer, from Stuart Florida, a town north of West Palm Beach. I started producing at the age of 12 which makes that about 11 years. In the earlier years, when I was around 14-15 I started posting my music to SoundCloud and began networking through the power of the internet. With a lot of patience and effort, I eventually linked up with a group called “SCARECROW6” thru social media and was given the chance to create beats for some of their artists. This was a really exciting experience for me because I was finally starting to make progress, and it felt great to hear artists on my beats. They eventually invited me into their collective at the time and I’m still apart of the label today. Read more>>

Demoya Boozer

I have a passion for helping and educating others. I always knew I wanted to do something that involved connecting with people, even though I’m very introverted. That passion and personal experiences led me into the field of social work. I thoroughly enjoy having so many options to help others in this field. Along with the desire to help others, a large part of my identity is the fact that I am Jamaica. Typically someone will know that shortly after meeting me. My culture and being a Black Woman are things that I celebrate! The blog was an idea I had for a long time but as time went on and I encountered more people in my day to day activities, I felt it was important for me to step out on faith with my idea but have it focus on black people. Read more>>

Debra Rocks Sawyer

To be honest, this book has been on my heart for quite some time. I was actually in the process of completing another book when I took a leap of faith and decided to publish Miseducation of Teen Depression; Not Just Another Case of Teenage Blues. It started as an ebook but due to the overwhelming response, I published in paperback as well. One of my students called me one day during quarantine, without divulging her information she stated she was struggling with suicidal thoughts and that one of our conversations made her aware that she may be struggling with depression. I immediately contacted her mom to inform her and guided her through the process. Many parents are placed in shock when they hear news of this nature, rightfully so. Read more>>

Jave’l Wilson

I was born in Cleveland, Mississippi on March 16, 2001. Was birthed by a woman, raised by a woman, and showed how to be a man from a woman. I never met my father. I don’t know where his is or who he is. All I know is his name and I barely remember that well. I grew up in a single-parent household raised by my beautiful mother, Constameka D. Wilson. I moved to Memphis, TN when I was about five but moved back to Cleveland once my great grandmother passed away. I stayed in Cleveland till my mother decided that she wanted to move to Atlanta, Georgia in 2015 to put us both in a new environment for new opportunities. I attended Westlake High School my sophomore year of high school and transferred to Decatur High School to finish out my high school career. Read more>>

Saaj

I was a hooper at first. Like that’s where I was making my name spread at first by hooping. Cause everybody from my area already knew me but hooping just made it really spread around in my hood. I was still doing lil crazy stuff here and there but that’s just what was around all the time. Like you can’t really say no to getting money cause at the end of the day you know you gone need it, ya feel me? that’s just how I be thinking about it. But I ended up graduating high school and I wasn’t even trying to play ball no more lol like my mind was already shifting towards doing the whole music thing but I didn’t know how to come about it. People was for real thinking I was going to the NBA lol and I’m like chilllllll. Read more>>

Brandon Scott

It was 2013 when I started to love photography. Only thing was I didn’t own a camera yet. I would always use my iPhone 4s. I would sit down on the steps of my house and take pictures of my sneakers everyday. I always felt like I had an amazing eye and vision when I saw something I wanted to capture. It wasn’t until early 2015 when I bought my first camera, it was a Canon PowerShot SX520 HS. I would always go take pictures with one of my friends named Dwight Foster! Everyday straight from school we would either go shoot or go look for some new spots to shoot. My friend Dwight was smooth when it came to photography!! I’m talking about amazing! He had a Canon EOS Rebel T5. Read more>>

Jakayla Hearns

Kmodernbeauty started in July 2019. Originally I was a makeup artist but took it upon myself to expand my services after Esthetician School. Attending Esthetician School was the best decision I could’ve ever made. There is nothing more satisfying than helping a client with a particular skin issue. The gratification of knowing you were able to help someone is beyond amazing and will also create a lifetime client. Promoting my business on a social media platform got me where I am today. Read more>>

Richard Dennard

I began composing music at the age of eleven. I was inspired by big artists such as Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Big L, Chris Brown, Omarion and Meek Mill. At age 13, I recorded my first song at a home studio in Hoboken, Georgia. That encouraged me to begin engineering my own music at my mother’s house where I recorded my first three mixtapes: “Forever Famous,” “The Dream is Real” and “Dreaming Making Pt.1.” When I hit 17, I recorded professionally in Tifton, GA and that is where my biggest tape was made, “Rich Mentality.” That tape created a local buzz for a while, but the kindle eventually burned out. I ended up going to The Art Institute of Atlanta to achieve my Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Audio Production. I recorded my hit single “3 Wheel Motion” at Hustle Gang Studios. Read more>>

Londynn Cardea

I say my story started with something as fragile as death. The death of my grandmother gave me purpose to pursue the things in life I really wanted to. My first ever business venture was making bowties in 2012 at the age of ten. The company was called a TripTooLondynn. Over time I saw a different vision for my brand and that name just didn’t stick. That name transformed into what you see today Londynn Cardea. Read more>>

Kendal Powell

I started rapping around the age of 12. At 16, I wanted to start recording myself so I downloaded FL Studio and started looking into how to make my vocals pop as much as I can. After that, about a year goes by and I start recording my friends for free. Then I started getting recognition and that’s when I started charging to record people in my studio. I started to get so much bookings to the point where my own music started getting people’s attention. Read more>>

Gadrien Williams

Genuinely Helping Everyone Treaded Through Oppression, Giving Light Offering Brotherhood And Loyalty. That’s Ghetto Global. Almost ten years ago, I and my homie Craig Newton started Ghetto Global Productions at first for an outlet for music and music production. During the early years, I was fighting the judicial system in a battle for my freedom. I was offered 120 years my first plea deal. A lot of people counted me out, a lot of people told me I’d never get out of jail. I didn’t accept that and The Most High saw fit to rescue me in the war for my freedom. After two years of fighting the judge sentenced me to 5 years in prison only if I took my first offender’s plea. I did and this is where the story truly begins. Read more>>

Chanel Waldorf

When I was younger, I lived in a very abusive home with my mother who was a drug addict and mentally ill. We were homeless time to time barely could afford a dollar menu meal. Countless night sleeping under bridges in the city of downtown. My father’s presence was absent. He did not claim me as his own because he would rather chase money and I was only a burden. Since the age of 6, I’ve been in and out of different foster care homes feeling hopeless ready to give up. I managed to finish high school top 10% first in my family to do and I am now I’m my 3rd of college as a senior. When I first got to college, I was once again on my own and didn’t know who to turn to but God. Read more>>

Dean Priest

I hail from Birmingham, Alabama and started singing and dancing at the age of four and continued down that path with concert band and marching band with percussion… From a myriad of church services and talent shows, I honed my singing voice… I later ventured into Hip hop through friends and group members G.I. Magus, Supreme Euphony and Joe Clark of the Battle C.A.T.S…In Two words… I’m Soulful. Read more>>

Cedrina

My love and appreciation for music started at the age of 6. Hearing old school R&B/Soul, Blues, Jazz, & Hip-Hop has always fascinated me. It definitely made me appreciate sounds & lyrical content early on. I started out singing locally in school and church choirs. As a young teen, I was also heavily involved in theater art programs as I performed in numerous musicals. This catapulted my love for music, although I felt the need to continue my studies by furthering my education. After graduating college, I moved to Atlanta to pursue singing and started collaborating with artists & producers of ATL’s underground music scene. Releasing my debut single “Pieces” in 2017, I amassed over 50K Soundcloud streams and shortly followed with another ballad, “War”. Read more>>

Bethony Wright

I started selling lashes to see where I would go with being an entrepreneur and selling what I love to wear. As a college student during when COVID came about, I thought that it was very important to find a side hustle with also thinking what do the women around me like the most. I have always loved lashes, from when I was able to wear natural styled ones in 9th/10th grade to wearing the long and fluffy lashes now. Women around me love lashes, so it is my duty to give the girls what they want. Read more>>

Bryson Eller

I started photography when I was 16 years old when I got a camera for Christmas. I wanted to create youtube videos, but I slowly realized my passion was in portrait photography instead. I took photos of my friends, then slowly started taking Senior photos while I was a senior myself in high school. From there, I went to Georgia State University to study photography. I started to photograph models in the Atlanta area but started to lose my passion for photography halfway through my Junior year of college. It wasn’t until I get to photograph a wedding with my friend that I realized I had a passion photographing love. Read more>>

Jauvontei Jammison

I was raised in a single-parent household on very clear terms that you get what you earn so I knew my life would evolve around my grind. Wasn’t sure how I would earn my dream life, but after paying OVER 8 semesters of tuition at a PWI & missing lectures because I’d rather be somewhere making money — I knew for sure my dream life as not gonna land in my lap because of a degree. Earned that debt… lol for sure. Today I work for a property management company as a regional marketing manager. This is my 10th year in the industry, and I’ve been blessed enough to own and operate several businesses. Read more>>

Rashae Glover

My love for travel started when I was about six years old. Although my family was considered middle-low class, my mother always took time to take us on family vacations as often as she could. In elementary school, I always found myself getting lost in the pages of my history books when I saw Spain, Greece, and Africa. I always imagined what it would be like to see these beautiful places in person. Traveling changed my life forever in 2015 once I took my first flight and vacation to Dubai. I had never seen a place so beautiful! Read more>>

TaKarah DuPree

Families and Youth Innovation, Inc. (FYI) was created in order to provide an opportunity for innovation and advancement to Wilkinson County, GA and the Middle GA area. I’ve always desired returning to Wilkinson County to improve the area. I stalled on moving forward with the idea for so long because I felt like I wasn’t ready. After attending a vision board party, I finally decided it would be better to start somewhere and just roll my ideas out in phases. Read more>>

Tyler Jackson

When I got started, I was shopping mainly for myself and friends. If I saw something in their size, I would just get it for them. Then it got to a point where I saw pieces that weren’t our sizes but still couldn’t let it just sit on the rack. I love thrifting, you find pieces that you’re not gonna find everyday. The type of pieces you won’t catch too many other people in. These pieces are truly one of a kind, they just have more meaning than just a simple tee. I started ATL Treasure Chest during quarantine. When there wasn’t much to do yet, a few thrift stores were open. The thrift store brought me peace and a break from reality. Read more>>

Victoria McClendon

I’ve been a nurse for 5.5 years now since 2015, and with each position I’ve held, there have been some common factors that I’ve noticed. One HUGE factor is the lack of knowledge that black patients have about their health conditions. African Americans are facing many health disparities at higher rates than their counterparts. High blood pressure and diabetes are more common and more destructive in African Americans than in other ethnic groups. These two diseases can lead to a multitude of other health problems if left untreated. Another common factor is that “nurses eat their young.” That’s a nice way to say that the more experienced nurses tend to bully the newcomers. I experienced it during my first year of nursing, and I began to get discouraged, but I stayed the course. As a nurse, I vowed never to eat my young. I have a few student nurses whom I mentor. Read more>>

Laura McMahan

I’ve been around music my whole life. My Mom sings and I grew up watching her sing in the choir or be on stage in the theater. It was a natural progression for me to take piano and voice lessons and music was just always there as a huge part of my life, whether it was through lessons, choirs, or performance groups-music was always available to me. Right now, because of COVID, so many kiddos aren’t able to have the experience I had. As a music teacher, I try my best to provide that music connection virtually. My sweet preschool is currently closed so I offer Pre-K Virtual Music Classes and have moved my Piano and Voice Studio all online. It’s not the same but I’m thankful to have a platform to keep the music going. Read more>>

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