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Black TAMU-CC graduate who started a business at 24 hopes to inspire others

TAMU-CC graduate Haile Lokumbe faced the difficult decision of either working in his desired field or pursuing his life-long dream.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduate Haile Lokumbe is just 24 years old and is the proud owner and CEO of Stellar Optics Video Production. 

"We've been making videos with my friends since I was probably eight years old, and then I just continued," Lokumbe said. "It's always been a passion of mine to make movies, especially like just growing up watching movies and stuff with my dad. Like, it just got me into the field."

After graduating from TAMU-CC, Lokumbe faced a difficult decision: either work in his desired field or pursue a life-long dream.

"So I decided, either I can use my degree and go into like the environmental field, which is where I decide to make more money, or I could follow my dreams and chase my passion," Lokumbe said. "So I decided to chase my passion and just take a chance on myself."

Coretta Graham with the Corpus Christi Black Chamber of Commerce is working on access to capital, exposure, and networking for other Black professionals just like Lokumbe.

"A lot of times people don't know that, you know, that this particular Black business exists, unless we give them an opportunity to network with other businesses," Graham said.

Now a successful business owner, Lokumbe knows that there are hurdles he must still overcome to reach his goals.

"Being a minority and being young, you definitely have to work twice as hard to try and prove yourself in the industry," Lokumbe said. 

According to Graham, the Chamber's mission extends to helping individuals like Lokumbe understand and overcome the hardships that Black professionals can experience.

"Whether you're a Black professional or a Black business owner, we do try to address issues dealing with work-life balance, mental health," Graham said. 

Lokumbe hopes his success inspires others to chase their dreams just as he did.

"I know it's super cliché when people tell you just work hard and follow your dreams, but I am a firm believer of that now," Lokumbe said. "I guess I would be like a testimonial for just, like, work hard, chase your dreams, and just don't give up. Don't let people doubt you."

For more information about Lokumbe and all that his business has to offer, click here

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