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Meet Trailblazer Kendra “Kendro/Dro” Tate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendra “Kendro/Dro” Tate.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kendra. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was a child, I always wanted to do numerous things in the realm of creating; visual arts, dance, music, writing, and crafting my own business. Before I even knew what an entrepreneur or businesswoman was, I knew I wanted to be my own boss.

I was blessed with my many artistic talents from my father’s side. After illustrating mural like the artwork on my bedroom walls in permanent markers during my toddler years, my parents began prepping me to take my skill seriously. Throughout grammar school, I participated and won numerous visual art contests, eventually leading to speech competitions, acting, dance, music, and other forms of artistry. From that point on, I continued to take art classes at establishments like the Art Institute of Chicago, working as a student artist at Gallery 37 and build my own style and artistic identity on my own.

As I got older and did thorough research into family history, things started to make sense regarding who I am and my destiny. My grandmother Velma Randall came to Chicago in the 1940s and owned two businesses on the South Side. As stated, my father’s side is where I gained my artistic talent, especially being inspired by my multi-genre uncle Marvin Tate. I could go more into depth about grandparents, uncles, and aunts, but I believe everything I am, who I’m becoming, who I’ll grow to become. and what I create is and has been divinely set in stone by the Most High.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a tough road tackling so many talents and goals, but it’s so worth it. It’s my destiny to achieve all that I am pursuing and going through the struggle is just apart of the journey. There’s always a struggle of feeling discouraged artistically, budgeting and feeling a lack of support. Being a creative in every aspect of life, from my mentality to my actual artistry, I make “the best” out of every obstacle. Every negative experience and hurdle is simply an opportunity to create something whether it be visual art or a new business idea. One of my mottos in life is to constantly and consistently thrive and take everything I do and create to another level.

I advise women just starting their journey a few tips. One is to always have confidence. I find that to be my foundation in everything I partake in.

Be open to constructive criticism. It’s the best way to grow and level up, but also have discernment on the proper advice to utilize.

Study, research, and always look to perfect your craft. It goes hand in hand with being and remaining humility. No matter how much of a great creative I think I am, I know there’s always room for improvement.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
In high school, a counselor called me a “renaissance woman” and I’ve run with that title ever since. I’m the creative behind my brands KLT Art by Kendro, my art business, KLT Vintage & Retro, my online vintage shop, and The Kendro Show, my lifestyle, hip-hop, and fashion blog. Although my brands are somewhat separate, they all intertwine in some shape or form.

There’s nothing new under the sun, but everything I create is refreshing, bold, and unique. Everything I create represents my heritage and culture and preservation of both. It’s my duty to my ancestors to be the heartbeat of my culture. There’s a method to my flyness. If you read my blog and see me rocking a vintage ensemble from the 1970s, that might be a nod to Soul Train. A painting with a girl wearing a vinyl Salt ‘N Pepa record as an afro puff? Definitely a tribute to hip-hop and the women who have historically and presently been overlooked for their efforts. My vintage shop? Speaks to my love and passion for history and keeping the stories of the past alive because they’re important.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Be yourself. Always have a balance between being genuine and professional. My big personality is apart of my brand and I absolutely cannot and will not separate that from my work.

A lot of people look at networking as a chore, I admit I did at one point. Be natural, know who you are, and what you have to offer and opportunities will flow. One of the best things about being apart of creative communities is that you can be unapologetically yourself and still remain professional.

Know your industry, be respectful and humble, set boundaries with people, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when you’re not going to put your all into said project. Understand you don’t have to accept any and every opportunity waved in your face.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Warren Alexander Photography, KLT Art by Kendro

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