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South LA’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 South LA’s gems below.

Niki Waters

When I was three years old, I picked up an orange crayon and pushed that waxy substance against a sheet of printer paper. Ever since that moment, I knew that I was in love. Almost every decision I made in my life since then was made to ensure that I can continue making art in any capacity. That’s the short version of my story. Read more>>

Jamea Hill

It was in Earnestine Green’s honor that Green Family Jewels emerged and then grew through my community presence. Word of mouth gets the news around, especially when rhinestones are involved. I started making blankets, bedazzling apparel and handcrafting Basketball Wives earrings and suddenly, folks started buying them. What started out as a hobby soon grew into the discovery of my purpose. Read more>>

Stanley Barrios

I was introduced to wine by my girlfriend (now wife) when I was around 22 years old. A simple steak and wine pairing sparked curiosity, trying to understand how the wine complemented the steak and vice versa. Not too long after we found ourselves on vacation in Paso Robles wine country tasting different wines, comparing grape varieties and grape clones, learning about soil types and microclimates and how they all play a role in the identity of a finished wine. Read more>>

Dwight Mayfield

My family full of educators provided a solid foundation and belief system of seeking knowledge of self. My family participated in numerous community service events and programs throughout the city. When I was a few months old, my beautiful mother suffered a brain injury from a physical altercation with my father that led to her behavioral abnormality. Read more>>

Onyebuchi Iwuorie

My life started in Compton being raised by my Nigerian parents. Seeing how my father came to this country with only a Bible and $100 in his pocket, and now has a Masters and teaches at a school for a living. That was my push and drive to work hard. I have been running track since 6th grade at Markham Middle School, where I grabbed the passion for the track spikes and the rubber on the track. Read more>>


iAmMoneyMoves was born on Aug. 29, 1990 in Baltimore, MD. From a very young age, he fell in love with photography and was fascinated by how he could speak to people without even saying a word by showing them his pictures. His fresh take on photography and ability to tell a story led him to shooting major celebrities, up-and-coming models, also major industry musical artists, concerts, and brands. Read more>>

Gabriel Smith

I’ve experienced the worst life had to give but stayed determined to overcome all. I’ve been homeless, a single father and put in circumstances that most couldn’t have made it through. While going through one of the worst periods in my life. I made the decision for myself and my children that I would not lose! I used a method I used since a child that I would later define as “Envision Believe Obtain” or EBO for short. Read more>>

Jamal Wade

I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My mom was a single mother raising my two younger brothers and I. We lived in an all black subdivision situated on the North Side of Baton Rouge near Southern University. Much like many other Southern, black families, a large part of our family and social bonding experiences were centered around sports. Read more>>

Richard Ragudo

My journey started sometime in early 2015 after I stopped going to college. A friend who goes by the stage name Dre;Creez reached out to me out of the blue and asked if I can do a hook for one of his records. He had just started putting tracks out on YouTube/SoundCloud and I got inspired to learn from his process all while we collaborated on more music. We went into the studio a week later, and it was history being made from that point on. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Jane

    October 9, 2019 at 03:32

    JBalloonFiesta is a hand made shop run by an great woman with an amazing story

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