Ajani Jeffries; A Beacon of Light within the Community.

Ajani Jeffries; A Beacon of Light within the Community.

You first met Che in Rochester works for actor Che Holloway, an impromptu interview and amble through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!

Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.

For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews (1-19)

Ajani Jeffries; A Beacon of Light within the Community.

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Photos provided by Che Holloway

It is seldom that you catch someone within the community, energized and in a positive mood consistently. This seems to be the way that our next highlight, Ajani Jeffries operates. Maybe I am just consistently lucky to witness him giving back to the community in forms of recognition, like he does with his food program, “Thank You, Rochester,” co-created with Sage Cruz.

“Thank you Rochester” is unique because of the objective of the series, the show consists of Ajani Jeffries and Sage Cruz going around to hot Rochester eateries, sampling (sometimes devouring) there famous dishes, all while getting the back story of the establishment. This is great economically and educationally because the show encourages the community to visit the eateries, all the while educating the community of its origins. Ajani also played a key role in last years Fashion Week of Rochester, which turned out to be a roaring success.

Ajani introduced himself in his own words and gave us a little background about himself and his endeavors. Here is what he said:

My name is Ajani Jeffries. I was born in Rochester NY. As a child I always had a flame inside of me for entrepreneurship. I was always creating a new product and going door to door in my neighborhood in the South Wedge area in attempt to make a profit off of my ideas.Ajani 6 compressed

I graduated from the School of the Arts  in 2011 for visual arts. There I found the art and freedom of skateboarding. Once exposed to its beauty it was immediately integrated into my life. Skateboarding is where I found my sense of fashion , my love for filming and editing video, and believe it or not my desire for business. I also rekindled with my love for music. I made my first official record when I was 17. After releasing a few songs to the public, I realized music was my first love.

The first EP I put out gained a lot of traction amongst the  network of people I knew. In all, I believe it was so outer space that either you loved it or despised it. There was no in between with my listeners. Being so young and underdeveloped as an artist, I did not take the harsh criticism well. I noticed that everyone’s story is different but we all tell it the same.  Although, music was always screaming inside of my soul, I decided to put it on the back burner and set out to become known for something other than my songs.

Ajani 5 compressed croppedAfter graduating from  high school, I attended MCC for approximately 3 weeks before dropping out to pursuit my own business.

*GoldnRd* began not with the intention of making money or making a living. My soul purpose was to shine a light in the darkness in Rochester NY. I worked day in and day out to spread positivity and create a platform for all forms and mediums of art. My calling was to show everyone around me that art is in everything and everyone is an artist.

We began as small time clothing line that intertwined the vibrancy that Rochester lacked in our clothes. Our motto was Rochester. Specifically Rochester. Like a nurse with a needle. we began to inject small city pride in the people around us.

We made our first appearances as a business hosting small pop up shops at small niche business for the sake of cross collaborating and getting the word out about shopping local. I figured if you shop local you can change the world. Since then (2011-to now) we have flourished developing a household name by using this exact method. We have also branched out into video and graphic design for clients outside of our very own business. Now we are the proudly the GoldnRd Creative Agency. Yet still grounding and pounding with the same cause.

ajani 1 compressedBeing a young black male owning your own business for 6 years now, I have learned to roll with the punches and embrace the roller coaster in which it is. I have encountered so much, good and bad that I have finally reached the point in my life where I am ready to turn back to music whole heartedly. My music is at once parallel to my business motto. The roots are uplifting. Therapeutic.

Now It is more important to me that I pursuit music above all else. I feel this way because  our subconcious thoughts are on auto pilot 99% of the time through out our lives. As people, especially black people I believe we get careless with what we feed our minds “musically.” The msg in hip hop music is repetitively reassuring us that we are irrelevant and not good enough. My songs are the blueprint to being the best version of yourself. Soon I will release my debut project to the world. Look up. For a new legion of legends is on the rise. #hightidesAjani 4 compressed

Follow along in Ajani Jeffries journey, social media links below:Ajani 3 cropped




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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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