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Inspiring Stories from South LA

The heart of our mission at VoyageLA is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of South LA’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rebel rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool.  Check out South LA’s rising stars below.

Melissa Silva

I’ve studied Fashion Design since high school, but it was my passion long before that. In fact, I recently found sketches that I drew back when I was about eight years old while rummaging through a stack of my Dad’s keepsakes and was taken aback when I realized that I call out design details the same way that I did back then. I went to FIDM and graduated with an A.A. in Fashion Design in 2013 but decided to continue my education at CSULB where I earned my B.A. in 2015. It was there, in my textiles class, where I first learned about natural dye. Read more>>

Andres RHIPS Rivera

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Creativity has been both my wings and passport taking me to places physical and imaginative, that I never thought possible. For that, I’m utterly grateful. Alright. Now it’s story time. Ah, yes! I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was during my grade school years where it all began. There I learned that I can get attention using art and words. During the ’90s, Los Angeles had a governor by the name of Pete Wilson. He was a boisterous bigot who championed to pass Proposition 187. Read more>>

Meko Williams

I’m a Los Angeles, California native with an (IT), Information Technology and Radio Broadcasting background. I’m the founder and creator of Meko Williams Entertainment established in 2010. My first on-air special guest appearance after recurring co-host features was on the Sunset & Gumbo Productions and 102.5 FM Urban Soul. To expand my portfolio, I later joined KLIQ 1670 AM, producing three shows titled “Meko Williams Show,” “Real Talk with Meko Williams” and “Sista Truth.” Showcasing Live celebrity interviews which were the featured segment of my program. Read more>>

Chrxstal Sarah

I grew up surrounded by music and listening to my mother sing. I remember listening to a lot of gospel and Motown music. I was a pretty sassy toddler and was always trying to sing or make a lot of random noise. My mom even told me that I was being loud in a grocery store once and based off of the tone of my voice a woman told her that she knew I was going to be a singer! I’m not sure what happened, but all of that sassiness left when I hit six or seven, and I got insanely shy. Read more>>

Emely Solis

I remember taking a drawing class in Junior High, and being surprised that I was actually good at it. However, my interest in art didn’t really take off until High School. I took an Art and Photography class, and I immediately knew that I would pursue in college. I enjoyed drawing more than taking pictures, but I figured both it would come in handy. In college, I signed up to study abroad and lived in Rome, Italy for a month. I took a drawing class, and as you can imagine there was inspiration everywhere. Read more>>

Jason Gilmore

I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, went to film school at the University of Pittsburgh and moved to L.A. shortly thereafter at 22. I had written a few feature scripts and directed some things in college but had no job or buzz and arrived, unbeknownst to me, at a time in which the black film boom that had inspired me as a teenager in the 1990’s was over. I worked a few industry jobs and got burnt out — learned a lot about how movies are really made — but it killed my initiative to make my own films. So I decided to take a break for a while: work at a job that had nothing to do with the industry and make sure my bills were paid and go where my artistic whims sent me. Read more>>

Eric Saunders

For me, it all started with a pen, paper, and an empty room. I often just sat there thinking about life or surfing the internet for new music to listen to. I was about 13 years old when I heard a song called “Closer to my dreams” by Dolla. The song made me feel some kind of way, to the point I just played it over and over again. Prior to hearing this song, I never thought my life was interesting enough to write about, but the inspiration just started pouring out. Read more>>

Corrie Scully and Renie Schoenkerman

MiddleBar began in the middle room of our shotgun style apartment. We wanted to build the worlds best library bar in the comfort of our own home. And so, instead of making that room a traditional dining room, we built a long narrow pub height table from beautiful redwood, which invited people to stand and engage. Cooking and cocktailing was just a hobby, a way to relax after work. MiddleBar was our space to gather with our loved ones for a chance to connect, relax, laugh, drink smoke, and listen to excellent music.. it was not a business. Read more>>

Katrina Long

My passion for mental health began in childhood watching family members and other members of the South LA and Inglewood communities struggle with trauma and its numerous effects. I knew I wanted to help people in the hood become well and thrive, so I embarked on a journey to become a therapist immediately after high school. While providing therapy in communities of color, I began to see that talk therapy was simply not effective enough to treat the complex trauma we often face. Read more>>

Oliver Mayer

In MEMBERS ONLY, the long-awaited sequel to the groundbreaking BLADE TO THE HEAT, 20 years have passed. It is 1982 in New York City: the golden age of boxing, the dying gasp of disco, and the flowering of identity politics. Pedro Quinn is well past 40 and still fighting, not only for championships but for the right to be himself, on his own terms. He even has a protege, a young female boxer who reminds him of his own youthful fights in and out of the ring. But when a detached retina threatens to end the only life he knows, and when old frenemies Vinal and Sarita want to make a movie about the champion he killed in the ring 20 years ago, Quinn can no longer hide from the ghosts of his past. Read more>>

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