Entrepreneur Interview Music

A TRUE Musical Experience

BOOMscat On Red Couch

Last week, I attended the official release party for BOOMscat’s Album The West Wing Project Live Ep. It was held at Mad Momos Beer and Deck Restaurant on 14th street in Northwest DC. I came rushing in all late because I had just left a dinner on the other side of DC but ironically, I believe I came right on time. I told my girl, who tagged along, that the place was going to be packed and don’t bother wearing heels; from what I’ve heard BOOMscat knows how to get a full house. So, it was no surprise when we came in and it was exactly that, a full house. We circled around the bar area and luckily found two seats. While in the mist of settling down, the crowd was shouting “give us more, give us more.”

Asha Santee (BOOM) and Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat), the beautiful duo of BOOMscat, are naturals. While on stage, they carried a normal conversation as if this was not a live performance but rather a causal day at rehearsal. Their energy, passion, and emotion spilled over into the crowd. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Not only did they deliver a five-star music experience but they gave us a show to be remembered. BOOMscat interacted with the audience, urging everyone to get in on it by asking “should we do another” as if the crowd could ever say no. I watched the entire set in “aw.”

Once they were done I had to snap back to reality, because if I wanted to speak to them I would have to beat the other fans who had come early and gotten good seats and had strategically placed themselves right by BOOMscat’s equipment.

The official name of the group is The Peace & Body Roll Duo BOOMscat and as their bio, from their website, states “together, they create a sound that ignites vulnerability, elevation and self-reflection.” I snagged the two ladies separately and was able to get you readers a little more of an insight on BOOMscat.


[A] “Why music?”

[P] “Because it is the thing that comes so natural to me and because I know every morning I will wake up and be able to do this thing and love it and do it with my entire heart because it is in me…I was born with it.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[P] “Ledisis! I think her voice is amazing, she is technical goddess, and I want to interact with her on a vocalist level.”


[A] “Why music?”

[Asha] “Because music is necessary for life…I can’t live without music I wouldn’t be here.”

[A] “If you could open up for anyone, who and why?”

[Asha] “Erykah Badu, not questions asked. Her style, her freedom, and her passion with music – just the way she arranges music, it touches my soul and that is how I want to touch other people with my music.”

These virtuosic women are humble and passionate beyond measure. I truly believe that the music they create has the power to evoke emotion that would other wise go untapped. Do yourself a favor and support this dynamic duo. Download their album here: and visit their respective sites below.  Oh and if you wanted to know my favorite song is: #7 Closure. Get HIP!

This article is just a sample of what is to come from SDBUP & BOOMscat – full interview coming soon. Stay Tuned!

Connect with BOOMscat


Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Entrepreneur Events Inspiration Interview

“Am I too African to be American, too American to be African?”

As a child, children would blatantly ask me “what are you?” As a teenager, my peers would joke and say you are my African queen or Nubian princess. As an adult, I find myself tangled up in conversations about whether I am truly African-American, Black enough to be Black, or if I am too American to be African. Growing up in a city where there was a population of 6 Africans, which was my entire family, I never took the time to discuss my identity with anyone but my father. Thankfully my parents were always there to reinforce my Ethiopian-American identity. Being in the DC metropolitan area now, a place full of culture, I now know every first & second generation immigrant experiences this at some point in their life and Nadia Sasso is attacking identity head on.

photo (7)Beautiful, outspoken, and goal-orientated are all words that come to mind when describing, my new friend, Nadia Marie Sasso. This past week, in the midst of a random snow storm, I was able to sit down with Nadia at one of my favorite spots, Bus Boy and Poets in Arlington. She is the daughter of Sierra Leonean immigrants, a Maryland native, and currently resides in Pennsylvania. Pursuing a master’s degree and completing her thesis at Le High University, Nadia is the definition of versatile. Not only she is student but she is a brand curator, social entrepreneur, and digital storyteller. During our meet-up we laughed, we joked, and bonded over the similarities of our experiences of growing up in America. But for Nadia the topic of identity is not just for laughs but rather for research. As mentioned before Nadia is taking identity development by the horns, in producing a documentary, alongside cinematographer Corey Packer , on the ever so popular question “Am I too African to be American, too American to be African?”

She traces her interest in this topic back to a panel discussion at Bucknell University, where she attended undergrad. The panel consisted of generational immigrants that openly discussed their experiences in the United States. Not only did this panel steer her in the right direction but it gave her insight on a topic that has not been translated into film just yet. Nadia has found a way for her passion to be her thesis project. Her film, which includes in-depth interviews with women from different African backgrounds, will be the first of its kind that can be appreciated by all: academia, cultural enthusiasts, and the general public.

The film will debut this spring and to find out more about her projects or this particular film please visit: Make sure you subscribe to #SDBUP to find out when screenings in the DC area will occur!



Connect with Nadia Marie

Twitter: @iamnadiamarie| IG:iamnadiamarie| Website:

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Advice Human Character Inspiration Motivation Mondays

Group by Group

[Late post]

I am sitting at my favorite chain coffee shop, Starbucks, and like always I am unintentionally observing the different groups of people. I have been here for about 3 hours, do not judge me, but I was cranking some work out for school and work was rough today. Anyway, I am not sure if I have posted about this topic before but I find it rather important and I believe it will be an excellent addition for my Motivation Mondays segment.

It is something important, it is something that makes the world go around, it is important to business development, and it is something I value immensely; can you guess what it is?

photo (14)The answer is community. That word is almost the reason why I decided to go in the direction I am going with this blog. This past weekend I went to a lounge and a fraternity hosted a centennial party for their organization and it was astonishing to see the support, love, and overall loyalty the participants had to their respective organizations. Their community came out, from literally all over the US, and showed out. It was truly a beautiful thing to see and this can be translated into any developmental stage of an entrepreneurs growth. The people who back you, whether they be random or in the case of this a fraternity from the same college community, your community can be motivation enough to further develop yourself and grow. You almost do it to not to let your supporters down because they already see the potential in you.

Community is key, your network is important, and quality friends are irreplaceable! These people will help you when you are down and out on yourself. Starting something from scratch, as many entrepreneurs do, is hard and it is important to find your people in your field of interest and capitalize on it with genuine interactions.

I know I used the word IMPORTANT a lot in this post but I can not stress how pertinent community is to everything you do! This is not something I learned recently but something my father has taught me and has shown me over the years.

Side note: The post title, ironically, is a play on my father’s tendency, thanks to his Ethiopian English to describe unification by saying “group by group.”

With that said lets build together, develop an unstoppable positive community, and gather group by group.

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Clothes . . .

Far from a pair of normal jeans . . .

Inspired by Rihanna’s personal stylist, unique in her own right, and a person with an intense passion for denim – Jasmine White is a force to be reckoned with in the up and coming fashion realm. I was introduced to her through a mutual friend and I was struck by her denim designs. I was able to snag her during the infamous Redskins vs. Cowboys game this past Sunday for a quick chat.

Check out our interview below . . .


Astu: “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this I am really excited to learn more about NormaJeans! So tell me a little about yourself?”

Jasmine: “I am 24 years old, I took a couple of courses at the Art Institute of Atlanta, and I have a diverse background in retail – so I am very familiar with different trends and fashion in general.”

Astu: “So what exactly do you do to get your custom jeans? And where did this idea come from for NormaJeans?”

Jasmine: “It started out as a summer thing. I started making them for me and it caught on quickly. It was not anything serious but I have gotten so many compliments that everyone was telling me ‘girl you really need to start a business’ or just flat-out asking me can you make a pair for me.  I basically use a cut and bleach method – sounds simple but it is tedious and I can guarantee that it is different and you will never get the same pair so that makes them right away custom-made. And, surprisingly, it was not only the girls a lot of the guys I know were hitting me up, too, asking for a pair of custom jeans.”

Astu: “Wait? Guys too?”

Jasmine: “Yes! Everyone! I am even doing pants for children. “

Astu: “That’s amazing! Now I want to go back to a point you mentioned. You mentioned the season: summer. Now that it is getting colder – is business still booming? Also the name, very creative, where did that even come from?”

Jasmine: “Of course! Everyone still wants a pair especially since you can throw on tights/leggings with a pair of boats. It is very easy to put something together. Ha ha now as for the name, believe it or not it came to me with the recent wave of interest in Marilyn Monroe that came about. Everyone loves her. I did not go along with the hype, right away, and I am one to really research something before I jump on a bandwagon. So one day, at work, I looked her up and found out that her real name is Norma Jean.  I do admire her, especially, after learning more about Ms. Monroe – so that is basically how the name came about. Haha the funny thing is that there is also a strip club in Baltimore, Maryland called NormaJean but do not get confused ha ha.”

Astu: “Ha ha! I would have never known that her name was that – I can see why she went with Marilyn.  Now, Jasmine, where do you see this going for you? Where is NormaJeans going?”

Jasmine: “Well, I would like to open an online boutique where I can sale wholesale items along with my things. To me, an online boutique is cost-effective and just smarter than opening up a physical location because you’ll have to factor in all these other things such as rent and anything else that comes along with a place’s upkeep.”

Astu: “That is very smart and makes sense! More flexibility for sure and you can reach more people. Now is there anything else you would like for our readers to know?”

Jasmine: “Yes, I will be purchasing more jeans and customizing them very soon so that they will be up for sale. I also want people to know that with everything I will provide above and beyond customer service, I have big plans for how items will be delivered to people, and I am really looking to invest in myself and make this business become an even bigger reality.”

Astu: “Thank you so much Jasmine for taking the time to speak with me and take care!”

All in all, I was really impressed with this young woman. She was able to take something that a lot of people can and are able to do and turned into something profiting. I asked her what sets her apart from any one person cutting and bleaching their own jeans and she simply replied “I am doing the tedious work…no one wants to take the time to, constantly, rip and rip these items and that is exactly where I come in.”

Once the interview concluded I, of course, continued to probe and I found out more about her passion for denim. It started early on in her fashion career back in high school.  Motivation came from a school teacher who saw potential in her with her first creation of a “jean purse” made solely from a pair of Levi’s. Her desire as an entrepreneur is unmatched and quite interesting. Please support NormaJeans by placing orders via email and follow Jasmine on her instagram: Besdress, I promise you will not be disappointed by her hard work.

CONTACT: and IG: Besdress

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up