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Midtown’s Hidden Gems

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of Midtown’s gems below.

Sydney Tucker

I have always been a creator; it is what I am and who I am at my core. From a young age, I have always had the desire to create with my hands, mind, and body. I am blessed to have loving and supportive parents who have always encouraged my inclination for the arts and outlets for creative expression from competitive dance to design. I first gained notoriety for my creative abilities when I launched my clothing line, Damsel In Distress in 2016, during my senior year of college at The University of Michigan. Being a primarily self-taught artist, I have had to navigate the design world on my own, working to perfect my craft and run a successful business at the same time. I am grateful for any and everyone that has ever supported my work; it truly means so much. Read more>>

Gabrielle Morse

Photography is a medium that came naturally to me. It is a way to capture a moment in time, but also make it a moment all your own. I am often carrying around a scene in my head, one that has very little possibility of happening naturally. By being able to create these scenes and share them with others, I feel like I am leaving some kind fo mark on the world, proving that I was here. Ever since I was young, I have loved being behind the camera. My parents had an old film Nikon camera that they gave to me when I was 12. From there, I began taking pictures of all the things I found interesting, unknowingly teaching myself how to be a photographer. Read more>>

Nicholas Reed

I have always had a flair for the creative, but it always seemed to fade into the background. A few years in my undergrad, I took a digital imaging class as an elective and was just naturally talented and captured the right angles of our subjects. But I found myself becoming more and more intrigued with people. I was finally beginning to understand the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” There is just something about the way emotions are so easily translated through an image. After graduation, I purchased my first professional camera and since that day, I’ve done nothing but hone in on the craft that came to me so naturally. I started off capturing images of friends and family, which led me to find my true niche. Read more>>

Imani Murray

Well, I’ve always knew, I wanted to have my own company and I’ve always had a love for creating. Those are my two true passions. I planned my entire Sweet 16 from picking out the venue to choosing the décor, theme, everything. So, it was only right I combined my two passions into one and created my own thing that could offer event planning services. Fast forward to college – Delaware State University to be exact – I studied Communications and Marketing, with a focus on journalism and public relations. It was then I realized how important it was to be multidimensional and multitalented. After graduating, I worked at a few companies doing PR but I noticed I wasn’t truly fulfilled, which pushed me to start my own creative agency. And here we are! Read more>>

Brieanna Miller and Sherifa Akinniyi

Melanin & Medicine started through our friendship. Both Brieanna and I attended the same early college, and through classes, we were able to communicate and discuss our future goals. Through long nights of preparing for chemistry exams and sociology essays, we were able to bond over academic and social experiences. Preparing for college was a tough time for both of us; we leaned on each other for advice. Although we both ended up attending different colleges, it made us realize that we both have our own stories to tell with the same goal in mind: attending medical school. With that thought in mind, we wanted to share our journey to our ultimate goal with the world and network with people of shared interests. COVID-19 has not made it easy on us, but we are dedicated to informing people about our journey and how our goals are not limited to our community. Read more>>

Abhinav Goyal and Saribek Hovakimian

Our story starts at the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, with a brand-new, yet unfamiliar, semester for two incoming freshmen: Abhinav (Abhi) Goyal and Saribek (Bek) Hovakimian. We were both filled with eagerness and excitement as we did not know yet what was going to happen and the possibilities were endless. I came from the windy city of Chicago and Bek from the reputable city of Boston. We both found ourselves living on the fourth floor of the Woodruff North dorm and due to an overzealous RA, Bek and I quickly became friends. Read more>>

Raia Strickland

After successfully recovering from my own mismanaged finances and bad credit, I realized how much power I had. I now have access to limitless opportunities, stability and am able to build generational wealth. I made it my mission to share what I learned to help others, shortly after Strick Holdings was born. Read more>>

Robert Sims

At the young age of three in the summer of 1998, I was introduced to the church and I instantly fell in love with music. In December of the following year on Christmas, I got my first toy keyboard and fell even deeper in love. At the age of 7, I began playing drums for my church. Fast forward to age 15, I began alternating between the piano, drums, and bass in my home church. While in middle school, I joined the band as a percussionist and continued to do band throughout high school. I received many awards, such as the most improved percussionist, most outstanding percussionist, and the best of all the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and Scholarship. Prior to graduating from high school in 2013, I knew that I wanted to pursue music as a career indefinitely. Read more>>

Leah Wardlaw

As a child, I struggled with acute anxiety and paranoia. I didn’t come from a household of much emotional clarity and I internalized much of the discomfort that came with this. I can truly say my childhood was one of the darkest, but critically important parts of my life. I also went to a predominantly white high school where I constantly felt the need to prove that I belonged and that my emotional and intellectual positions were valid. Despite being an honor student, being a star member of my community, and going above and beyond hitting all the marks I “should,” I still felt deeply angry and sad due to the traumatizing and emotionally isolating events that happened in my childhood. As I entered into my later teenage and college years, I was thrown into the realization that if I could not understand my mind, I would be continuously unable to show up as the person I knew I was destined to be. Read more>>

Destini Hines

A self-taught MUA (Make Up Artist) With a black owned cosmetics line that goes by the name FACE By Destini. I’ve always loved playing in makeup and doing my friends & family’s faces since I was young. My mom Keisha Allen and friends would tell my i was really good and should take it serious and actually make money doing something I love. So, I started taking clients which led to the start of my cosmetics line. Launching at the end of September! Today I am booked and busy, and it’s only going to go up from here. Once I launch, I predict that I could be the first black owned cosmetics line mua who is a millionaire. Read more>>

Jessika Dickerson

I always knew I had a strong voice. I was told at a very early age that my voice would be used to do great things in this world. I never understood why or in what space but it was spoken over me so it became a question of if I believed it. In kindergarten, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Unlike other kids who name traditional careers like being a doctor or a policeman, I stood up in front of my class and said ‘when I grow up, I want to be me”. The silence in the room was broken up by my mother clapping and saying she loved me from the crowd of parents. From that day forward, the best thing I could ever be was me. I entered the gates of Spelman College in August of 2015 and coming from northern Virginia, my suburban white-dominated community never felt like home. Within my first year I learned more about who I was and who I am destined to become in all of my 18 years of life prior. I owe that to Spelman and all who entered my life that first year. Read more>>

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