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Meet Tesi J.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tesi J.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Hmmm… My story is one of many different roads taken to a singular destination. And as I say that, it occurs to me that the word destination has the word ‘destined’ in its root, which is in essence how I feel my journey has unfolded.

I grew up in Atlanta, graduated from North Springs High School in Sandy Springs and attended Georgia State University studying Public Relations and event management. After three years at GSU, followed by a three-year hiatus, I relocated to Dallas to attend the University of Texas at Dallas, where I received my PR degree in 2007. That same year, I began working as a Media Relations Assistant for a small firm named Gemstone Management in Dallas. Working directly with the CEO of Gemstone allowed me to learn a lot of hands-on event management, public relations, vendor and community management skills that I most likely would not have been exposed to in a larger organization. After seven years with Gemstone, I worked my way up to Communications Director where I handled public relations and community outreach for such large scale touring events as The Ebony Black Family Reunion Tour, Ebony Sister Speak Luncheons, State Farm 50 Million Pound Challenge Tour and many more.

While navigating the growth of my professional career, I also worked through many challenges and growing pains in my personal and spiritual life. Being raised in the Southern Baptist / COGIC traditions, I did not have many outlets to help assist me in the exploration and growth of my spiritual identity outside of the church. I spent many years seeking knowledge in every book, source and person I could find. It wasn’t until about five years ago when I discovered a group on Facebook for African American Wiccans that I began to find my tribe.

The name of the group is somewhat misleading, as it is not a group strictly for the study of the Wicca religion, but is made up of elders converging and sharing knowledge from many different spiritual traditions. While I was able to make many key connections and learn a good deal of information as a member of the group, I also noticed how much mis-information was being spread in regard to many spiritual traditions. That is where the need for ATL Conjure Fest was first observed.

ATL Conjure & Culture Festival is an event aimed at educating and celebrating all of the spiritual traditions and culture of African Americans. From Spiritualism and Mysticism to Hoodoo, to Vodun, to Ifa, Palo and Santeria, many people are not aware that a lot of the Southern conjure culture which was celebrated and revered in the slave quarters prior to emancipation was either absorbed by the church or cast off as “evil” after the slaves were freed. My event is aimed to educate those seeking knowledge on how to spiritually connect with themselves and with a source greater than themselves.

ATL Conjure Fest is a celebration of ALL of the spiritual traditions of persons of African American descent and ancestry. Day 1 will feature workshops, guest speakers, performances and a vendor market, while Day 2 will feature a banquet celebration with live music, as well as a hair and fashion show. All of this will take place on October 26 – 27, 2019.

Please tell us about your art.
The art that I create is knowledge.

I am simply a facilitator. I create the opportunity for individuals to expand themselves for their souls ascension process. I am partnering and working with different workshop presenters and elders of respective traditions so that people will have the opportunity to learn the correct information instead of relying on Facebook, Google and YouTube for their spiritual knowledge. It is my hope that by creating a safe space for those who want to come learn the basics, they can then have a firm foundation from which to continue their spiritual studies in any tradition of their choosing. I am not here to recommend any one tradition over another, but instead seek to celebrate them all and let all of our people know the roots from which we were grown.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Just keep working… The money will come.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
ATL Conjure Fest will be hosting several workshops throughout the city in conjunction with our partners and presenters.

Our host partner is Ibu Ile Spiritual Center and Botanica and is where some prefestival workshops will be held, located at 6009 Memorial Drive Ste 7 in Stone Mountain. We most recently held an Ancestral Veneration 101 workshop there, where attendees were taught how to properly set up an ancestral altar to connect and commune with their ancestral lineage.

We also have a FB group called Conjure Culture, where we host online workshops for those who may not be able to attend in person. The next online workshop will be a 6-part series called Intro to Astrology, being presented by master astrologist and featured Conjure Fest presenter Dani Shade.

We will be announcing many more Conjure Fest sponsored events throughout the summer, leading up to the main event October 26 – 27, 2019.

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Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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