Family is the bedrock of my resilience. Growing up, surrounded by the love and support of my family, I learned invaluable lessons about strength, perseverance, and the importance of belief systems. My parents instilled in me the core values that guide me through life. They taught me that I have every right to exist, to learn, to love, and to laugh—to revel in the freedoms granted to me as a citizen of the world and a steward of the earth.
Their teachings formed the foundation of my character, shaping me into the person I am today. In times of adversity, it’s the memories of my family’s unwavering support and the values they imparted that empower me to keep going. Their resilience in the face of challenges serves as a constant source of inspiration for me.
So when asked where I get my resilience from, the answer is clear: I draw it from the deep well of familial love and wisdom that has sustained me throughout my life’s journey. It’s a legacy that I carry with me every day, reminding me of my inherent strength and the boundless potential within me.
Tech & Art
As an artist and tech innovator, my journey has been a thrilling blend of creativity and cutting-edge technology. Professionally, I wear multiple hats—painter, photographer, fashion designer, and app developer—each aspect allowing me to express my unique vision and make a positive impact on the world.
In the art world, I’ve been honing my craft since declaring my ambition to be a professional artist back in 7th grade. What excites me most about my work is the opportunity to merge traditional art forms with modern technology. Through my fashion line, I integrate augmented reality (AR) into textiles, creating an immersive experience that blurs the lines between the physical and digital realms. It’s a thrilling convergence of art and innovation that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the fashion industry.
On the tech front, I’m the creator of “GoVia: Rate a Hero,” a groundbreaking app designed to foster safer interactions between law enforcement and the community. This app provides real-time assistance, including mental health support and legal guidance, to both parties during police encounters. By leveraging technology, we’re modernizing the policing and justice space, promoting accountability, transparency, and above all, safety for all involved.
Exciting developments are on the horizon for both my art and tech ventures. In the art world, I’m thrilled to announce my upcoming exhibits at the Botanical Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio, and Deep Roots Art Gallery in May 2024. These showcases will feature my latest creations, showcasing the intersection of art and technology.
In the tech space, “GoVia: Rate a Hero” is making waves in the Google Play Store, and we’re gearing up for our launch on the Apple App Store in May 2024. This expansion will allow us to reach even more users and further our mission of promoting positive interactions between law enforcement and the community.
Overall, my professional journey is fueled by a passion for innovation, creativity, and making a difference. Whether through my art or tech endeavors, I’m committed to pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and building a brighter future for all.
Looking back on my journey, three qualities stand out as profoundly impactful: determination, vision, and patience.
Firstly, determination has been my driving force. I’ve learned to never give up, but also to be flexible and pivot when necessary. My advice to those starting out is to cultivate a mindset of resilience. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and never lose sight of your goals, even when the path ahead seems uncertain.
Secondly, having vision is essential. It’s not just about envisioning the end goal but also about using creativity to shape that vision into reality. For those embarking on their journey, I encourage them to explore their imagination freely. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with new ideas. Creativity knows no bounds, and it’s often where the most innovative solutions are found.
Lastly, patience has been key. Success rarely happens overnight, and it’s important to be patient with yourself and the process. Take the time to learn and grow, and trust that the right opportunities will come at the right time. To those starting out, I advise them to cultivate a sense of patience and perseverance. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your career. Stay committed to your path, and the rewards will come.
Whether in the art world or the tech space, my approach has always been guided by these principles. For those aspiring to enter either field, I offer this advice: look inward to find your true passion and then pursue it relentlessly. Embrace the journey with love and dedication, knowing that it’s a lifelong commitment. And remember, even when the road gets tough, keep pushing forward. It’s through persistence and dedication that true greatness is achieved.
Reflecting on my journey, I owe a debt of gratitude to the many individuals who have played pivotal roles in shaping my path and helping me overcome challenges along the way.
First and foremost, my teachers have been instrumental in my development. From middle school, where I boldly declared my ambition to become a professional artist, to my time at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art during my master’s studies, each educator left an indelible mark on my growth. Their guidance, encouragement, and sometimes tough love pushed me to expand my understanding of myself and the world around me.
In the business world, I found invaluable mentorship from George Fraser, a true master of connecting the dots. Through his mentorship and the wisdom shared by the myriad of celebrity speakers he brought into my orbit, I gleaned priceless insights that fueled many fruitful conversations and endeavors in my own business ventures.
In the art world, individuals like Hector Vega, Nana Agyare, and Bruce Conforti have been sources of inspiration and guidance. Their passion for their craft and willingness to share their knowledge have inspired me to continually push the boundaries of my own artistic expression.
And then there are those unexpected opportunities that shape our lives in profound ways. As a self-taught professional photographer, my journey took an extraordinary turn when Grammy-winning musician Jill Scott gave me the chance to photograph her concerts across the country. Her trust in my abilities opened doors and expanded my horizons in ways I could have never imagined.
To all those who have played a part in my growth, whether as teachers, mentors, collaborators, or clients, I extend my heartfelt thanks. Each interaction, lesson, and opportunity has contributed to my journey, and I am forever grateful for the support and guidance I have received along the way.