There are so many factors that affect how our lives turn out, but one of the most interesting is how our backgrounds give us unique strengths and perspectives that affect who we are as adults. We asked rising stars from the community to tell us about their background and upbringing and how they feel it’s impacted who they are today.

Tyrone Dennis | Creator & Founder of Clippers & Cops: Retired Gang Detective

I’m Tyrone Dennis, I was born and raised in St.Louis, Missouri. Graduated from Marquette High School in ’97 after being kicked out of school for 43 days at the end of my senior year. Lost a few Division 1 scholarship offers because I helped my friend in a fight. Got a basketball scholarship to a community college (Lake Land College) in Mattoon, Illinois. I graduated with my associates degree in Criminal Justice in ’99, then transferred to the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama where I played basketball for two years and to get more money to pay for school I ran Cross Country in my 5th year. Read more>>

LaShae Wallace | Author and School Counselor

I was born in Washington D.C. I’ve lived in Illinois, Tennessee, Ohio and currently reside in South Carolina. My Dad served in the military before becoming a Physician and my Mom also worked in the government. My parents are my biggest inspirations. I grew up in a Christian household which shaped who I am today. All that I am, and all that I have is because of the Grace of God. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was baptized at age 14. I’ve always had a bubbly personality and a heart and zealous spirit for serving the Lord. At age 21, my first book was published titled “Look at God” while I was in undergrad at East Tennessee State University. Read more>>

Vernita Gage | Chicobraidqueeen

Im born and raised in sacramento ca. raised in a family that di nothing but hair.. hair is how my mom and auntys provided for us one of my favorite aunty taught at sac city in sacramento for decades.. hair is in me its is my culture it is my life my soul speaks hair. every sice the young age of 12 i found myself loving to do hair. Read more>>

Brianna Kidd | Nail technician & Stylist

I was born in Detroit, Michigan but I was raised in a small country town in Louisiana called Haughton! Me and my family moved to Bryan, Texas in 2009 and I have been back and forth from Texas to Louisiana every since then. August 6, 2021 I decided to move me and my son to Atlanta. It was a big move for me and I took a chance I’m so glad I took. I was raised by my mother and my grandmother. Both super strong black women. They made me the woman I am today and I am so blessed to have them. They have supported every move I have made throughout my life. In May of 2017 I graduated with my Associates in Business Administration. Even still I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. November 2019 I started practicing on my own to be a nail technician and it’s been great every since. Read more>>

Janiya Simon | Lash Artist

I’m from a small town Salem , New Jersey . It’s not the best environment but a lot of gems reside there. Salem is a place where we love to hustle because there are very little opportunities there. My background made me strong & determined . Both of my parents are victimized the streets and I made the choice to EVOLVE instead of repeat. I had to eliminate what wasnt helping me grow & made an opportunity for myself. Read more>>