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Southern Atlanta’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 Southern Atlanta’s gems below.

Richie Lennon

I always used to rap, way before I thought about being a rapper. Me and my cousin used to just freestyle. Sometimes for my dad, I just always rapped. Read more>>

Jasmine Felder

My story consists of strength and determination but also abandonment and unhealthy generational cycles. In 2015 my sister passed away unexpectedly, I was searching for a career field that gave me purpose, and I wanted to have a way to express myself and my journey. For five years, I played around with the thought of writing a book but, in January 2020, I began to feel as if my back was physically against the wall. I had a newborn daughter to provide for and I wanted to get my story out to others. As I finished with the writing portion of my book, I created my publishing company Motivated Minds Publishing so that I can continue to self publish and also help others who have a story but need help with the business aspects. I know there are many people who take advantage of people who are uneducated on certain topics. My business is about showing individuals how to write from the heart. Read more>>

Christopher Marcs

I began CHRISTOPHER MARCS DESIGN in 2013 after a string of rejections. It was birthed out of necessity for employment and ultimately – the need for creative autonomy. I had no intention of ever becoming an entrepreneur though one of my college classmates suggested I start a design business almost ten years before I responded to the recommendation seriously. I went to school to be a vocal music teacher in hopes of opening. A fine arts school. While applying for another teaching position, my sister became engaged. Initially, I was just a sounding board but later became much more involved. I became Wedding Planning. Immediately, I was immersed into the planning and designing industry; however, as a creative leader, organizer, and strong communicator, I was not overwhelmed by the skills I felt were needed to be successful in the industry but I had so much to learn and I was open to the potential and possibilities this career path could actualize. Read more>>

Orlando McGhee

While working as the Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer to the City of Atlanta shortly after college, McGhee found his way into the music industry through an internship with the legendary production trio Organized Noize (ONP). Assisting ONP with a myriad duties right as Dungeon Family began attracting the Hip-Hop business to Atlanta, McGhee had the opportunity to not only learn every facet of the game but to play a hand in developing a legacy that laid the foundation for Atlanta’s music creatives. As the Vice President of BME Recordings, McGhee was instrumental in pushing “Crunk” culture forward and solidifying Lil’ Jon’s place within Hip-Hop history. While working at BME, McGhee also helped to develop artists like Crime Mobb, Lil Scrappy and Trillville whose youthful energy allowed BME to capture a segment of Hip-Hop fans that had been largely ignored until then. Read more>>

Amynata Kouyate

My name is Amynata Kouyate. I’m born and raised in the south side of Georgia Riverdale to be exact. Growing up my mother always had me looking nice. She would always buy me clothes, dress me up all cute and stuff. In high school, my two older brothers were always fly and I always looked up to them. At the time, Jordans were in high demand. I would work hard to get those shoes on a Saturday. I won best dressed in high school. After high school, I started to wear my hijab it wasn’t the easiest decision because at the time, I really did not know how to dress it up it was hard. So I just found ways to wear my hijab and look nice and people would always reach out to me and say “hey girl, where did you get this and that” and they would say how they want to wear a hijab and still look nice so that’s when I decided to start KouV. At first, it was just styling here and there and then I realized a lot of the things I would want for my self was really hard to find. Read more>>

Kelius Shannon

I first caught an eye for photography when I saw my friend get her camera for the first time. All of her pictures were extremely sharp all the time and she was very creative with how she shot as well so it definitely caught my attention seeing that. I eventually got my first camera when I was 17; however, it wasn’t very good at all so I used it solely to practice. I would take pictures of any and everything, download the pictures, and do many different edits just so I could get a feel for it. Then shortly after my 18th birthday, I finally got my first real camera and I’ve grown with it ever since. The difference in image quality from my first camera to this one was amazing. For the entire first year, I had the camera. Read more>>

Vick Morris

Ignite Sneaker Co. started out of spite lol. There was somebody who I was close to and they would criticize the fact that I collected sneakers. They didn’t understand why somebody “with my brain, was interested in something so trivial” – yeah, that didn’t go over too well, to say the least. From conception to actual launch, it was about two years worth of false starts and figuring out how to go about it. I started with a basic black and gold shirt and only sold ten to family and a few friends. Read more>>

Robert Nichols, HotBoiRob

I always had a deep love for music as I was growing up. So when I got to middle school, that love deepened. That era was full of new wave trends and I found it fun to be apart of that. In middle school, I met my friend Jose and we just hung around the same group of people all the way through middle school. Starting high school, a lot of people split because there was this new performing arts school that many kids were interested in. Eventually, some of my friends went to the regular public school, including myself, and the rest went to the new magnet school. Now, this school was/is the face of our county, Clayco, as some call it. All of the other schools were kind of rough compared to this school like you had to audition to get in So at the end of my freshman year, I auditioned to join the orchestra and I was reunited with my boy Jose and some other friends. Read more>>

Conquella Essex

I was born in Saginaw, MI and raised on the southside, Riverdale, GA. I graduated from North Clayton High School. I started out at Clayton State University, where I earned my BS in Psychology and Human Services. I then went on to earn my MBA in 2017 and that when I started my own consulting/professional writing business. I am currently working on my PhD in business psychology. Read more>>

Vick Martin

How I started getting interested in videography was back in high school. I use to watch our school news channel and seen how much fun they were having making content. I joined the class and seen how much behind the scene work it takes to create the things that they were creating. After about two years of being in that class, I became very great at it and wanted to continue my education and learning more about filming and everything it has to offer. I then attended the University of West Georgia, where I began to start my studies in Mass Communication/Film & Video. My senior year comes up and I have a lot of classwork videos on my YouTube page. Some of my close friends tell me that I should make this into a business. Read more>>

Taye Jackson

I began braiding when I was about ten years old. My mom was a single parent & worked two jobs. My job was to take care of my younger two siblings. I would braid their hair to give me more time to myself as a teen. As I got older, I started my career as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher. I was in that field for 9.5 yrs. I was always in someone’s head on the side, because it was therapy for me to make others feel good about themselves. I moved on to the administrative field when I began to have my boys, due to the physical dedication requirements as a 911 dispatcher. I was able to work through the day and be home with my kids as night. On most days, I was braiding or styling someone’s hair on the weekends. But never thought I was “good enough” to be mainstream. One of my dispatch counterparts referred me to her cousin & it’s been on since. Read more>>

Terez Peguero

I began my brand off of pure exploring to figure out my inner talents hidden. I picked up a paintbrush, a sketchbook, and some pencils from Family Dollar one day after work and fell in love within a week. I kept at it, built my skills from self- taught learning and continued to progress each day. Every day I wake up, I find a new way to advance my skill set and come up with new strategies of how I can internally heal, and aspire to inspire my supporters and my #uncutlamez family. It makes me push ten times harder to help those who are struggling with self-expression and need a form of encouragement to go for it! Read more>>

Amanda Welch

I started my small business selling Mink lashes and sunglasses almost two years ago in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s been a fun journey on the way; I’ve met a lot of amazing people during the process. I have done vendor events and private parties. I moved to Georgia and expanding my business here. At the beginning, it was a struggle trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t but it’s better than ever now! Read more>>

Zakiya Brown

The most beautiful thing about my story to me is that it’s just getting started. That God and I stand hand and hand as the author and co-author and seem to be creating a masterpiece so far. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, a family full of hard-working individuals who have instilled so much into me over the years. So many values, so many morals, so much determination, and most importantly so much love. I grew up in a not so big city in North Carolina whom I will forever thank and have endless love for molding me into the young woman I am today. That city has allowed me to grow, to dream, to prove myself, but as we know, there are seasons in life and times in which we must part from what’s comfortable and fly to a destination that is far greater than what we are accustomed to in order to fully grow and reach one’s full potential. Read more>>

Angela Anderson

When I was trying to find my way as a young adult, I really didn’t know what type of work or career I wanted for myself. I would always hear people say this is my dream job or this is what I have always wanted to do. I thought to myself, how in the world do they know that. I did attend some college at The FVSU but I did not complete my degree. I ended up pregnant and had my first child in 1995. Well, all I knew was I needed to take care of both of us so I worked two jobs most of the time just so I could provide for my child. Read more>>

Erica La’Shun

From childhood, I have always enjoyed seeing the smiles on the faces of others when they first see a cake prepared for any occasion – be it a meal at home or for a special occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, holiday celebrations. And, then, I love to watch them take their first bite and become elated with a taste that truly satisfies. Mid-January, I remember cutting images and empowering words from magazines and putting them on my vision board. I only wanted to start and even gave myself a low goal of a few orders a month. I truly wanted to turn my hobby into a profit; so I can provide as many opportunities to myself and my son as possible. Read more>>

Brian Jackson

Music has always been apart of me for as long as I can remember, and I have always wanted to learn and do as much as I can with music. I had thought of B-Tru in my freshmen year of high school, but I didn’t bring the idea to life until my freshmen year of college. At the beginning of my freshmen year of college, I was supposed to have a full academic scholarship, but I was informed some things out of my control occurred at my college and I wouldn’t be able to receive an academic scholarship. At that very moment, a light build went off in my head and I was able to smile. I was able to smile because that’s when my mind truly became open to a few things I really wanted out of life and could still obtain. Read more>>

C.Michelle Jones-Harrison

My name is C.Michelle Jones-Harrison, a resident of Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m the Founder, President & CEO of “4 My Destiny Community Arts Center Inc,” a 501c3 charity organization located in Atlanta, Georgia. This organization was founded in January of 2018. I started this organization out of compassion for at-risk youth & young adults in my family as well as in underserved communities in the metropolitan Atlanta area. My heart breaks whenever I see a child on the news, under the age of 18, that has been arrested for armed robbery, murder, rape, vandalism, selling, purchasing & using drugs, drug possession, gang activity and a number of other serious crimes. Read more>>

Angelenna Grant-Ashanti

I was involved in real estate as a youth. My grandparents raised me on a farm that they owned. They owned so much land that they were able to sell it to other members in the community to build on. I also had my mother, who was a great role model when it came to owning real estate and investing. I watched her rent out rooms to individuals for profit and used equity from her home for other projects. Between my grandparents and my mother, I was exposed to owning real estate and investing early on. Once I became grown and got out on my own, I bought my first property at the age of 23, rented out one of the rooms, with allowed me to be able to afford the property. My future husband owned a property too. Read more>>

Tatiyauna Reese

I am born & raised in Gary, Indiana but I’ve found Atlanta to be my home as well. Like a lot of people, it took me a moment to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I went to college and worked in various jobs which paid the bills but were not personally satisfying. I took a job with a company that managed health insurance plans. I quickly moved up in the company because I had found my passion, helping others. I was trained to help people understand their insurance plans so they could make informed decisions. From there, I worked with a company that sold life insurance. Because of my experience with the health care industry, I was able to excel in this area as well. Read more>>

Brittany Lloyd

After working in the banking industry for seven years, I decided to take a Leap of faith in 2011 and move from my hometown of Baton Rouge, LA to Atlanta, GA to pursue my cosmetology license. I attended Aveda Institute of Atlanta in 2014 and began working for Mac shortly after graduating in 2015, where I became a certified makeup artist. Read more>>


I got into music @ age 14 after I freestyled to Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” after I downloaded the instrumental off Limewire. I recorded it off my sister’s laptop one went when she was home from college. (S/O 2 my suh ily) From there, I used to just make songs off instrumentals from other popping songs. Until I was 15 when I started making songs of my own. Ofc they suck at first but I never gave up. I would let people hear the songs and they would give me their opinions on it. Some people told me it sucked; some people told me it was dope. Most folks were tryna figure out how I was even making songs, to begin with. I started uploading my songs onto MySpace and the rest is history. Read more>>

Jasmine Williams-King

After a long interest in cooking, I officially started my culinary journey in 2016. That same year I was presented with the opportunity to attend FCS College & Career Academy, an Academy which offered a half-day of informative and specific instruction in four career pathways: Construction, Aviation, Film and Animation, and Culinary Arts. I exceeded all requirements for my pathway and attended my sophomore year to my senior year of high school. I gained lots of reputable knowledge and insight on food, the culinary industry, and the importance of food safety. From there, I became ServSafe certified & took all I had learned and implemented it into my very first job. Read more>>

Edlyn Emelia

I started my business in my college dorm my sophme year at Savannah State University, in savannah Georgia. I’ve always wasnted to have my own business, I just never knew what it was I wanted to sell. I came up with the idea of selling waist beads when I was in high school, but procastinated until my sophmore year of college. I first tried to make my own waist beads, but then I decided I wanted my waist beads to be authetic so I got my waist beads imported from the motherland Ghana. I have been selling waist beads since 2018 and I am now expanding my business to build a bigger collection of products. I am now about to release my 3rd restock. I have grown from where i first started, i now have a website and am in the process of rebranding. Read more>>

Ronnie Bleu

I started making music when I was nine. My mom was my inspiration for me making music. She used to sing and rap as well. I used to always freestyle for fun but never took it seriously. In 9th grade I decided to take it serious dropping songs and getting good feedback I had no choice but to keep this going. I dropped a series of mixtapes such as Bleu Cheez & Riverdale’s Finest. Those projects did fairly well. I recently just dropped my newest project Riverdale’s Finest two that’s at 40k plays in three weeks. That’s the most I ever got on any project. I’m working hard to reach my goals that I set for myself and I thank everyone that supports me along this journey! Read more>>

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