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More Than Cloth : The Avi8ted Mindset of Charlton Woodyard II

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Growing up in Washington, D.C. in the ’90s wasn’t easy. With the influence of drugs and crime, one could easily find themselves on the wrong path. Charlton Woodyard II’s parents had a different idea that included private schools, martial arts, and a strict home environment that allowed him the space to fulfill his own destiny. He attributes these circumstances to what he now describes as an aviated mindset. He is sharing his philosophy with the world through his company, Avi8ted Holdings. They recently launched a clothing line, Avi8ted Thoughts, which promotes positive thinking and the idea that you can achieve beyond your wildest dreams.

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Lafayette Barnes IV

Growing up in Washington, D.C. in the ’90s wasn’t easy. With the influence of drugs and crime, one could easily find themselves on the wrong path. Charlton Woodyard II’s parents had a different idea that included private schools, martial arts, and a strict home environment that allowed him the space to fulfill his own destiny. He attributes these circumstances to what he now describes as an aviated mindset. He is sharing his philosophy with the world through his company, Avi8ted Holdings. They recently launched a clothing line, Avi8ted Thoughts, which promotes positive thinking and the idea that you can achieve beyond your wildest dreams.

A purebred Washingtonian, Charlton Woodyard II was born in Southeast Washington, DC at Washington Hospital Center in 1987. While in elementary school, his family moved to K St. Northwest where crippling poverty was flagrant. Despite the conditions, having a grandfather who worked for NASA at Goddard, he was inspired to achieve in education. He was also inspired by martial arts, which at times got him in a bit of trouble at school. His teachers recommended that he take an aptitude test, which resulted in his parents sending him to Georgetown Day School (GDS) where he attended throughout the rest of his secondary education. His classmates included kids of Fortune 500 company CEOs and congressmen, which exposed him to a new lifestyle that he embraced.

As a student of martial arts, he enjoyed the practical and personal aspects and was inspired by Bruce Lee. His father signed his brother and him up for Tae Kwon Do and cultivated a competitive environment around physical fitness. His teacher, Sherman Spinks, who is a legend in the taekwondo community, developed the mental fortitude within him to understand the meaning of hard work. As Junior Olympics champions, he learned to push himself to do things he wasn’t aware he had the ability to do.

What is Avi8ted?

Avi8ted Thoughts, as a business and lifestyle company, is a subsidiary of Avi8ted Holdings, an impact investment and business development company. The goal of Avi8ted Holdings is to develop an ecosystem that provides resources where ideas can thrive. The first business is Avi8ted Thoughts, a clothing company.

According to Charlton, Avi8ted is grounded in the concept of the law of attraction.

“An Avi8ted thought is one that is pure and positive, necessary and eternal,” he says.

Charlton would prefer to ask, what does it mean to you? He describes is as a “divine dream or purpose”, which shouldn’t be boxed in as it is very personal to each individual. He was able to ask artist and celebrity Jaden Smith about what an Avi8ted Thought meant to him. He answered that it’s a mission to provide a better human experience.

Charlton understands that this concept is a big leap. He doesn’t want to inundate people with such a large burden of responsibility. “Making the world a better place doesn’t happen in one day”, he said. He wants people to understand that they first can make their personal world a better place by understanding the constructs that exist and how they interact with them.

“Avi8ted Thoughts, the clothing brand serves as the uniform we can all point to as the way to connect”, said Charlton.

He recently released his first line with the “Follow the Sun” capsule collection. In his words, “the sun, both literally and metaphorically, is something you would want to follow considering it is the thing that gives us life on earth. But also it means to follow your light, follow the things that help you to grow.”

In 2018 he participated in the Remote Year program which allowed him to travel and study in various countries for months at a time and learn about global entrepreneurship. He visited Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia where he formed relationships that changed his thought process. He met two friends in Japan who introduced him to augmented reality which he included in his production process and can be seen in his “Follow the Sun” capsule.

Most recently, Avi8ted Thoughts has been able to partner with 202Creates as a resident of their creative entrepreneurship program headed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. With the added workspace and resources they’ve received a lot of help building the infrastructure. With almost a decade of planning, studying, networking, and grinding he’s finally seeing his vision come to fruition.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. has also become one of the most physically fit cities in America. The Avi8ted Thoughts brand represents a lot of that idea.

“Wellness is a huge part of the brand”, said Charlton.

The influence of martial arts has been maintained throughout his brand. He believes that hard work is what it will take to get us ahead. Charlton cited how the ancient pyramids in Egypt were built with the mindset that people can achieve things greater than they know. He wants to project those ideals with his brand.

“You have to master yourself and find your inner rhythm before you’re able to affect the world,” said Charlton.

Charlton credits his team with putting a strong plan in place that he believes will create a lasting impression. Although the price-point is more expensive then most he believes that once people understand the mission behind the brand there will be a lot of support. The Avi8ted team reaches from D.C. to Los Angeles, CA., Atlanta, GA., and even Japan. “In a start-up, everyone is responsible for everything,” said Charlton. “These are a group of people who have “Avi8ted” themselves for this time….for us it was always about longevity”. His team helps to reel in his ambitious dreams and work to make them possible.

Currently the “Follow the Sun” capsule collection is being released in phases with the first being the “Sunrise” tee in AM (white) and PM (black). The collection debuted at their launch event on June 29 at Beyond Studios. More pop-ups are planned that will feature socks, button-ups, and shorts, all featuring the AR technology and pure and positive energy. To find out more about Avi8ted Thoughts visit www.avi8tedthoughts.com.

This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

Business

Don’t Be Chick’n and Try Something Vegan!

What was originally known as Compassion Meals in Sacramento has now rebranded and blossomed into a vegan fried chick’n food truck based at Lake Merritt in Oakland, called Don’t Be Chick’n (DBC). 

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Outside of the Don’t Be Chick’n Food Truck at 277 Grand Ave. in Oakland. Photo by Isabelle Price.

What was originally known as Compassion Meals in Sacramento has now rebranded and blossomed into a vegan fried chick’n food truck based at Lake Merritt in Oakland, called Don’t Be Chick’n (DBC). 

Owned and operated by Nkoyo Adakama, the food truck that began operations July 3 serves vegan soul food based around the star theme of the truck, the vegan fried chick’n. 

While Adakama’s start in the food industry was rough due to racial attacks against her and her business in Sacramento, Don’t Be Chick’n seems to have received great traction in Oakland. Before the food truck, DBC had pop-up locations at New Parkway Theatre and Au Lounge on Broadway that were such a success that they led the way for the food truck to make its debut. 

The prices for the food are a bit on the higher end and the wait, not including the line, for the food is roughly 30 minutes. However, if you are looking to support a business owned by a Black woman and want to try some solid vegan soul food while enjoying Lake Merritt, I would recommend going to this food truck. Adakama’s food reminds me of a vegan dupe for Raising Canes.  

The truck is located at Lake Merritt, usually at 277 Grand Ave. in Oakland, generally from about 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Both the location, hours and menu may vary during the week, so it is important to follow their Instagram account for frequent updates. For any questions or catering requests, they can be emailed at contactus@dontbechickn.com. 

All information for this article was gathered from Don’t Be Chick’n Instagram and website and an Oaklandside story. 

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Business

August is National Black Business Month

August 1st kicks off National Black Business month. And although Black businesses should be supported year-round, all month long people across the country are encouraged to recognize and support Black-owned businesses. 

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Black woman owned business/Photo Credit: Isabelle Price

August 1st kicks off National Black Business month. And although Black businesses should be supported year-round, all month long people across the country are encouraged to recognize and support Black-owned businesses. 

The origins of National Black Business Month can be traced back to 2004 when Frederick E. Jordan teamed up with John William Templeton, president and executive editor of eAccess Corp., a scholarly publishing company, to have August recognized as National Black Business Month. 

Jordan and Templeton also encouraged local government officials, community leaders to address structural barriers that adversely and disproportionately impact Black-owned businesses—namely a lack of access to capital. 

“It’s important that we take this time not just to promote Black Business Month, but support Black businesses,” said Ronald Busby, president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce.

“As we reopen America, it’s important we acknowledge the wealth gap that exists between Black families and White families has grown. The real way to address the wealth gap through the creation of new black-owned businesses and broad support of those businesses. In order for there to be a Great America, there’s got to be a Great Black America,” he said.

Busby encourages readers to visit the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce’s website to learn about programming, events and resources available to Black entrepreneurs and businesses. 

Busby also acknowledged the impact the COVID-19 has had on the Black businesses, who he says were hit the hardest. According to a report by the House Committee on Small Business, between February and April 2020 Black business ownership declined more than 40%–which is noted to be the largest decline across any racial group. 

According to the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy there are more than 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S. Black businesses realized a 34% uptick from 2007-2012. Black-owned firms generate an average of $150 billion dollars in annual receipts.

Firms owned by Black women continue to grow at an exponential rate. According to Forbes  businesses owned by Black businesses grew 67% from 2007 to 2012, compared to 27% for all women, and 50% from 2014 to 2019, representing the highest growth rate of any female demographic during that time frame.

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Bay Area

Nancy Lieberman Congratulates Kaplan and AASEG, continues to support efforts to Bring a WNBA team to Oakland

This week the AASEG (African American Sports and Entertainment Group) has moved forward to secure the exclusive rights to bring a WNBA team to the Oakland Coliseum.

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Nancy Lieberman/ Wikimedia Commons
This week the AASEG (African American Sports and Entertainment Group) has moved forward to secure the exclusive rights to bring a WNBA team to the Oakland Coliseum.
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan was pleased to hear that National Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman was pleased too. Both parties had a lengthy conversation back in February, about the business of the WNBA and some of its hurdles. Kaplan told Lieberman the AASEG ( www.aasegoakland.com), and the motion she brought forward received a resounding approval (6-0-2) vote from Oakland City Council members to pursue terms to acquire the City’s 50% interest of the Coliseum Complex.
This critical vote came just three days after the Alameda County Joint Powers Authority unanimously approved a resolution to begin negotiating with the AASEG to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.  With these successive actions, the AASEG can formalize negotiations with City staff toward a Purchase and Sell Agreement for the Coliseum Complex.
Nancy Lieberman is one of professional basketball’s most celebrated female players and an American sports Icon. Nancy truly represents the theme of what is being proposed by the AASEG investment group. The council heard Ray Bobbitt, of AASEG and 97-year-old Gladys Green, present the goal of women leadership and ownership of a WNBA franchise as its primary agenda.Nancy Lieberman has an established record for being a leading advocate and supporter for social and racial equality her entire professional career. She has often credited the African American community, for supporting her and inspiring her possibilities. Now, that she is on the other side of her legend, she wants to pay it forward. Nancy and her business advocate Gary Reeves, said they plan to join a conversation with Ray Bobbitt and Rebecca Kaplan to review a potential alliance soon.

Nancy Lieberman loves the community outreach and civic leaders, who have paved the way for this opportunity. She cited the AASEG for its extensive community support. She said she is looking forward to meeting the AASEG community members and to give high praise and thanks to Rebecca Kaplan for her full-court press-style of support for AASEG, women’s sports, minority businesses, housing and job opportunities for the homeless and formerly incarcerated populations. Lieberman and Gary Reeves, her Bay area-based business advocate, want to meet and work with Gladys Green who is the inspirational leader of the East Oakland community and to congratulate Gay Cobb for the Post News Group’s extensive coverage and the recommendation that AASEG make an offer to purchase the coliseum.

In addition to working as Nancy Lieberman’s business advocate, Gary has been campaigning for support from a Who’s Who list of philanthropists and investors to support a home ownership pledge for those that need their down payments bridged to help them become home owners. During the pandemic his group, along with Lieberman, provided over 1 million dollars in free PPE and clothing for those in under-resourced areas. Oakland was also a benefactor of that program with BPL campuses and the Al Attles Foundation, ACE (Attles Center for Excellence)

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