Art is a medium in which a person, through creative means, can delve into to find his or herself and cultivate an identity that may have been unexpected. In fact, the late Thomas Merton has blessed us with a thoughtful statement: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” This was the case for Atlanta-based painter, Muhammad Yungai.

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As an Atlanta native, reading Lil Nas X’s hilarious tweets and witnessing the success he has enjoyed as a result of his country-rap hit single “Old Town Road,” fills me with an unexpected feeling of kinship and satisfaction. Here in Atlanta it can feel as if wanting to be a rapper is some sort of rite of passage for black men—especially for creatives from low-income backgrounds. I personally know more black men independently pursuing music than I can count on both hands, and it’s a really beautiful form of artistic expression to be surrounded by.

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“When I started my first business,” entrepreneur Cher’Don Reynolds explains, “I simply wanted to put messages of empowerment and celebration on shirts. I wanted customers to have the option of glitter, rhinestones and different colors.” But it didn’t take her long to find out that what she wanted didn’t quite fit her start-up budget.

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“What’s most important to me is to be relatable. I don’t want to be out of reach, I want people to know that I am a regular person…I’m not out here to compete with anyone.

I’m going to try to outdo myself every single time.”

-Baj

Introverted, laid back and down to earth, she is the epitome of a “girl next door.” At 5’4 and 125 pounds, the singer/dancer/songwriter is simple and low key, embracing her very own authentic flavor and style.

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