Keyonna Jones-Lindsay’s dad used to live at 3200 Martin Luther King, Jr Avenue SE. About two years ago, she helped him transform the home into the Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center: a space for artists and entrepreneurs like 13-year-old Kalimah McKeaver-Jamillah who at 12 joined the adult class.
“My products all focus on the Dinkra symbols of the Ancient Empires of Ghana as well as products that focus on African heritage,” said McKeaver-Jamillah owner and creator director of Dinkra Stylez.
You can say she started small, with hair beads and key chains, but soon stepped up her game and expanded her line to include notepads and thank you cards that have different African languages that mean “thank you” on them.
She even sells activity tubes.
“It comes with an activity sheet that was designed by me, has a maze, and a little information about the Dinkra symbol called the Besa Saka. There’s a word search, coloring, and crafts to make your own banner set.
It’s a lot of work but McKeaver-Jamillah enjoys crafting and bouncing ideas off her CEO.
“I love my mom," she exclaimed.
In fact, a whole team of women have lifted up this young entrepreneur: her mom, mentor and executive director of the arts and culture center Jones- Lindsay. So what motivates the 13-year-old?
“In the end, not having to worry about finding a job or if I can’t find a job, to have the tools to start my own business,” she said.
In July, she is launching a second business called “Oh, so good confections.”
She will make organic, raw snow cones and the ice will be made “by me using reverse osmosis water.”
Her advice for future entrepreneurs?
“If you have a dream, follow it,” she said.
To learn more about Dinkra Stylez visit the pop up shop inside Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center or contact her twitter @dinkrastylez or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arts Center offers a monthly entrepreneurs boot camp plus a summer camp for kids in grades 6-8. Visit the website to learn more.