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.

Tyra Shange | Community Organizer, Poet, & #SlayTheDream Enthusiast

I am from the Southside of Chicago and have family from the southern United States, mostly Mississippi and Georgia. My background and upbringing have had a strong impact on who I am today because I was raised on a side of the city where we were provoked (by local agencies like Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, and the media to believe we were not valuable. The only thing that saved me from actually believing this as a child was how I perceived my Grandmother’s faith in God, the experiences I had with family, in the church and outside of school, and being able to see the Sears Tower (renamed Willis Tower in 2009) from my bedroom window. Read more>>

Leanna | Ky & Lo Co.

My family and I are from Trinidad & Tobago, the land of Steel Pan, Calypso and Carnival. Trinidad is a melting pot of cultures, and religion. Coming from a family of 10 (8 girls, and 2 boys), the necessity to be an entrepreneur has always been in my heart. After working 30+ years in corporate America, I was forced to retire due to dire health conditions. I took that opportunity to showcase my Trini Delicacies, Chutneys & Pepper Sauce. Read more>>

Enaj B Da Light | Artists and Musican

I am from New Orleans Louisiana. I came to Houston as a result of the storm in 2005. My family was already planning to move but hurricane Katrinanoushed is out quicker than we expected. growing up in a lively city such as New Orleans has given me so much musical influence and inspiration and continues to lead me as a strong force in my artistry. Read more>>

Danielle “Yelly” Crenshaw | Creative Director & Content Creator

I’m originally from a really small town in Kentucky. It was a pretty good place to grow up but lacked a lot of what you would find in bigger cities like diversity. Everyone was pretty friendly, southern hospitality for sure. I think that impacted how am I now because I get along very well with people. I like learning new things and experiencing new cultures since I didn’t get that growing up. So when I first moved back when I was 19, I was super open to everything. Read more>>