Featured Slider

Behind the Camera: Photographer's Edition

Kristopher Anderson @ikrisanderson  

We are now into the third installment of my Behind the Camera series on my blog where I zero in on someone to interview in the entertainment or media industry. Anyone who is behind a camera on either side of it is eligible to be interviewed as a person of influence. 

If you have any suggestions on who I should pick next, feel free to email me at blancosbranding@gmail.com or DM me on my Instagram @curlyblanco. 

Faith is the true motivator when it comes to photographer and branding agency owner, Kristopher Anderson. The Atlanta native was always interested in.. , but could never quite pinpoint what it was until he began his journey at the illustrious Hampton University. While attending the university, he studied sports management and graduated in 2018.

Kristopher is known for being very expressive in his faith and open about his relationship with God. When speaking with him, he always made sure to give credit to the one that guided him through it all and was the one who was, even today, leading and guiding him in his decision making. 

In 2015, he founded his nonprofit organization called Awaken Future Generations. This organization caters to the younger generation in helping them become more aware of their capability to be whatever they have their heart set on being in adulthood through mentorship, scholarship, and service. 

I want people to work together to get to the next level. - Kristopher Anderson, 2020
This passion for helping others is what led Kristopher to also create The UpNext Brand, LLC. This branding agency is to help give everyone the opportunity to see not only what they bring to the table, but the understanding of their potential to truly be "up next." To go more in-depth, his true intentions behind his brand are to allow people to be creative and have a space to do so. When going into business, it can be difficult trying to balance a career and still stay true to your creative self. 

It all started after Kristopher became interested in becoming a Youtube vlogger, but it winded up not working out so he decided to put his camera to use anyway. He winded up taking some of his friend's pictures one day that eventually went viral. 

This transformed into various people after asking him to take their pictures for special occasions in a more professional setting.

Originally, the UpNext Brand was originally supposed to have a podcast. Things were quickly changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began rising across the United States. With this, Kris decided to take initiative and create what is now recognized as The UpNext Magazine. Despite him not having any experience writing articles or being keen on reading & writing, Kris did not let him detour him from what he felt in his heart that he should pursue. 

September 2020 Issue of The UpNext Magazine

The origin of the UpNext Magazine was in place of Kris' original idea of beginning a podcast series that was halted by the current pandemic. Today, the magazine has grown in readers and notoriety showcasing various black creatives from industries such as fashion, media, and music. His hopes for the magazine is that it will be a platform that helps those featured and those viewing work together to get to the next level.

When asked about his favorite interview, Kris was first unable to pinpoint one. He then explained that one of his favorites, though he loves them all dearly, was the one he did with long-time friend Nigil Crawford.

What intrigued me most about his answer was not the answer itself, but the fact that they both are in the same industry and still found a way to co-exist being successful. And as FRIENDS at that! In many cases, people end up being against each other when they don't have to be. This could be from being driven apart or hidden jealously from either party if not both parties at some point in time. In the African American community, we are so quick to support each other when we have something to personally gain so that's why I found it to be so commendable. 

One of his favorite parts of the process of combining his two passions is seeing the end result of the magazine covers after envisioning them in his mind and hearing the subject's positive feedback.  

Picture Courtesy of The UpNext Studio
Photography is an art form that many people are fond of but is not always executed properly.
Kristopher's obedience to God to redirect him into what is now his pride and joy has been a transition that is not only admirable but inspiring. 

As for his advice to those looking to do what he does or something similar, he encourages to be mindful of the connections you already have and the new ones you will make. This is because everyone may not have your best interest at heart or sometimes where God is taking you, everyone cannot go and it is not meant for them to be apart of your life for that season. Additionally, to implement financial discipline and to put God at the center of your business or brand. 

The UpNext Brand is a great resource for creatives that are looking to expand themselves and network with other people with similar mindsets. I know sometimes when starting your own brand, you want to do everything yourself, but maybe that's why you're still in the same spot that you've been in since this time last year.

There's nothing wrong with asking others more knowledgeable for help. Taking this initiative is actually more effective than doing everything yourself because it will help you grow past the perspective you have and help take some of the stress off of yourself. 

The rest will work itself out.

When asked "what's next" for both Kris and The UpNext Brand, he had much to say. "What people can look forward to seeing from me is new articles from heavy hitters, traveling, and expanding the name of the UpNext Studio." 

Kristopher has now even begun creating apparel for the UpNext Brand which is currently available for pre-order here

You can also find the latest release of his October 2020 edition for the UpNext magazine here

I don't know about you all, but I am definitely excited to see what Kris' brand expansion looks like, and with God on his side, it will come to full fruition.

To keep up with Kris and The UpNext Brand, here are his social media page links:

Always a pleasure sharing with you, thank you.

Success Spotlight: Quentin Davis

 Success Spotlight: Quentin Davis - Donte Dinero 

When you think of an entrepreneur, the first picture that comes to your mind may or may not be an African American male, especially a college student. 

This is where I swoop in and introduce you to a different perspective. 

Many people know the brand, but not the man behind it all.

Quentin Davis, the owner of clothing brand Donte Dinero, has made his brand a household name in his at-home community of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Along with his school community which is the illustrious Hampton University where he is currently a junior pursuing a degree in Business Management. 

Though he had various people in his family that attended Hampton, he initially didn't want to go to college which can be surprising considering that usually when a child has a parent or family member that is legacy, they will go to the school where the legacy is.  His parents wanted him to be in a better environment to be able to grow and use his knowledge so that is where things began prior to starting his business. 

The Birth of Donte Dinero

One day, Quentin was asked by a friend of his why he wouldn't turn his likes into profit considering his larger social media following from incorporating fashion into his feed and people always questioning what he was wearing. Though the concept had never crossed his mind before, he needed a way to make some money so he was open to the concept.  What helped to seal the deal was when he was asked to hang out with another friend, he had to decline the offer because of him not having money. 

He decided soon after to write down everything and make it plain while at a track meet for a family member within a 2-hour time span. Every detail and specification came to him at this time which made things easier to plan. The only part that was left was the actual execution. 

The name was what took longer than the actual coordination of the business. It originates from Quentin's middle name being Donte. The word Donte in Spanish means "endure". Since he also initially wanted the name of his business to have something to do with money, he decided to use the word "Dinero" which means wealth in Spanish. As a result, the name of the brand itself means to Endure Wealth

Running a business can be stressful, but Quentin is sure to balance both his academic life and business life. He also has learned to manifest more of the things that come into his life and write about the things that stress him out which in-turn has produced growth in different areas of his life. 

The brand specializes in streetwear clothing for both men and women such as t-shirts, shorts, accessories, and more!
               " Individuality is most important. " - Quentin Davis, Donte Dinero

When asked who were his fashion influences, he said that he didn't specifically have any. However, he did mention that he admired business owners Milano DeRouge & Gsuwoo because of the way both
brands operate and cater to the concept of being both luxury and streetwear. 

Being a business owner hasn't always been great. Though rewarding over time, it can be challenging sometimes having to do everything yourself when others aren't available to help you. An example of this was when Quentin talked more in-depth about his experience one summer trying to get his business off the ground. He described this particular summer as the "worst summer ever". This was because he decided to do a photoshoot for his business in New York. Upon arrival, things did not go as planned... at all. From wasting time and money to being kicked out of the hotel he was staying at with friends, everything was out of alignment. While he still may have gotten nice shots to use for his business, they weren't 100% what he wanted but he had to take it for what it was for the sake of his business because it was too late at that point. 

After contemplating to keep his business or let it go, he decided to post the shots anyway which had better views than what he had anticipated. 

This taught him to pace himself because the ideas he had were so elaborate, but when starting off sometimes things can't always start in that way. Giving yourself room to mess up and grow is essential when having a business because as the years go along, you do not want to hold regret or not live enough in the present to actually experience your different milestones because you'd be always going for the next thing. 

What I personally learned in my experience with speaking to Quentin is that in many situations, it truly is me vs. me. YOU are the only one that stands in between you and what you truly want for yourself. Yes, there will be naysayers but people will talk about you whether you are doing good or bad so it's vital in your journey of success to have laser-focus on what you want for yourself. 

Quentin's advice to anyone looking to pursue a business venture or even just generally thinking about doing something potentially out of their comfort zone or something new is:

#1) Pace Yourself - Passion can make you want to rush through things, but do NOT rush your process. Don't overwhelm yourself, especially if you are in school. 

#2) Always Promote Yourself - You never know where a like, retweet, or share can take your business so make sure that people are doing these things for you (they are FREE!)

#3) Stay Consistent - Everybody struggles with this, but it will get your brand to touch places you've never been. 

When asked what to expect next from himself and his brand, Quentin's response was one of joy and much anticipation. He spoke briefly about more collaborations with people in the industry and the true expansion of his business. He also has a Fall/Winter 2020 Collection dropping soon, but for now, he is having a 50% off sale on the remaining items he has in stock before the launch which you can participate in by going to the link to his website listed below. 

You can keep up with Quentin & Donte Dinero through these links: 

Always a pleasure sharing with you, thank you. 

September's New Music: #LetsTalk About It


I know, I know. “Where you been girl?” “Where are the blog posts?” “Do you even still have a blog?” I’ve been all over and back around again but I am happy to be sharing with you all today some content. I apologize for the lack of content, I do have a life haha! I also have a mini-business where I do marketing consulting & graphic design.

Follow @blancosbranding on Instagram for more details & to see my work! 

Yes, I’m plugging myself! But I know you came here for the music so let’s go ahead and jump right in! 

The first piece of music I will be reviewing is the Do It Remix by Chloe x Halle featuring the City Girls, Mulatto, & Doja Cat. At first, I was hesitant about the song because I didn’t know how everyone’s voices would sound on the track but I was excited because I thought “maybe this was just what the track needed.” I was pleasantly surprised by Doja Cat’s energy on the track and the extra beats and ad-libs they added to the background really made it smooth. One of my favorite verses of the song was from Mulatto when she said “classy like Chloe and Halle, nasty like Megan” because I feel like all of us as women are a mix of both with different ratios. After listening to the song, I was fairly please. It gave me the same hypeness as the original song and left me feeling like that chick! I’m looking forward to seeing more from the powerful sister duo, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.

Next, I’ll be reviewing SZA’s newest single called “Hit Different” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.  Now me personally, I loveeeeeee me some Ty from his early days! So whenever he puts something out, I’m already hype. I’ve also been a fan of SZA for a long time, since her first album “Z”. I wasn’t too fond of her music as she started to gain a bigger following because I was used to a certain musical style by her and it felt like she was sort of switching up. Nonetheless, I still think she’s a great singer. As for the song itself, I’m not gone lie... I listened to the song twice and felt the same way. I really wasn’t feeling it like that. It actually upset me because I saw clips from the music video and set higher expectations but when hearing the entire song, it sounded like some of her other songs. However, I do still love the concept of the music video. The cinematography and wardrobe of it all was very nice and showed SZA in a beautiful light. The vibes it gave off was also very chill yet aesthetically pleasing. 

“Down” by G-Eazy featuring Mulatto was definitely a song that surprised me. Though I like Mulatto’s tone when rapping I think sometimes her rap style just doesn’t do it for me. Like there are some female rappers that I’d choose over her but on THIS song, she snapped. The theme of the music video was supposed to be some sort of prostitution with Mulatto starring as the Madame and G-Eazy as the prostitute which I found intriguing considering normally it’s the other way around. The wardrobe and decorum of the music video were very well put together. On top of that, they featured Flo Milli, Santana, and in the music video towards the end. What a great way to close out a music video AND they all looked good. The song is very catchy and I’m sure it’ll be a song that I’ll be hearing a lot more soon. 

Last but certainly not least, Big Sean’s Detroit2 Album. One of the things I was most excited about with this album was the features. I thought it was so honorable that Big Sean decided to really put the city on by having a cypher of all Detroit rappers including Eminem, Tee Grizzley, Sada Baby, Kash Doll, Cash Kidd, 42 Dugg, Boldy James, Royce 5’9, Payroll Giovanni & Drego which was absolutely amazing if I do say so myself. Everybody’s separate parts on the track were on point and the beat... it was just beautiful. Some other songs I enjoyed most on the album was Deep Reverence (RIP Nipsey!), Everything That’s Missing feat. Dwele and Guard Your Heart feat. Anderson .Paak, Earlly Mac, and Wale. I’m a HUGE Anderson .Paak along with Wale so to have them on a track together for me was everything. The stories in between from Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu & Dave Chapelle all meant a lot to me because to hear people talk highly of their experience with your hometown really makes you feel proud. It was a great touch as this album was in a way, a dedication to the city of Detroit hence the album title.  

I loved the fact that there was so much vulnerability throughout the album as far as his feelings towards certain things and the vibe just felt different and sincere. I saw some people complaining on social media as far as Big Sean going “soft”, but personally seeing this side of him creatively is refreshing. When someone grows, you should give them room to grow. The album overall was great, I’ve already been learning the words and I hope you do too. 

Always a pleasure sharing with you, thank you!