This story is reprinted with permission from The Birmingham Times
When Tanisha Sims-Summer and Yogi Dada met during a Minority Business Network entrepreneurial event in 2017, there was an immediate connection.
Sims-Summers, founder and CEO of the Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company, said of Yogi Dada, “I loved everything he represented. His vibrancy and energy is infectious and rather amazing. He broke his earrings, …I saw those beautiful designs, and I knew right away that we had to part ways one day or the other.”
Multidisciplinary artist Yogi Dada said of Sims-Summer, “Her work ethic is insane. That’s what I first saw about her, and I was immediately struck by the magic of this woman. The ideas she has, the community she has.” Love for. … I knew there was something special about him. Plus, I’m a sucker for kettle corn.”
The two then went their separate ways on their “entrepreneurial” journey. Sims-Summer created the Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company, and Yogi Dada continues to make an impact in the Birmingham area with his artistry.
Yogi Dada’s artwork on the label of bags of Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, which resembles a face made of several different colors, was recently reimagined through a collaboration to promote Black History Month Gone. The theme is “NGUVU: A Woman’s Power”.
Naughty but Nice Kettle Corn packaging with Dada artwork. (Amar Krosky, for The Birmingham Times)
Yogi Dada, born Yolonda Carter, said, “NGUVU is a Swahili word meaning strength.” “This is one of four designs from my perfect grandpas limited-edition series, [the moniker for my hand-painted earrings],
The gift box holds nine assorted mini snack bags of hand-crafted kettle corn and hand-painted earrings from the Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company from Yogi Dada’s limited edition collection. Boxes are available through February 28 and can be purchased individually at 5831 1st Ave. N. Suite 200, Birmingham, AL 35212, or can be purchased online at nbnkettlecorn.com.
“I reached out to Yogi Dada on social media last year and it moved on from there,” Sims-Summer said. “We definitely had a blast making this together. … We think it’s a great tribute to Black History Month, and we look forward to continuing to impact the community together.”
“Find Your Passion. . . Giving Back”
Partnerships have always been important to Sims-Summer, and she makes it a priority to collaborate with others.
“We’ve partnered with other small businesses in the area, such as Eugene’s Hot Chicken’s special edition hot chicken flavor [in 2016] and the internship program we have established with the Birmingham Promise, [which provides tuition funds and work experience for Birmingham City Schools students], It is important that we serve our community, which serves us.”
Sims-Summer, 40, said she wants to give to the community that has given her: “It’s been a long journey, and the community has been along the whole step of the way. [We are] We want to continue the work we are doing, and we want to thank from the bottom of our hearts all those who have been involved in our journey.”
Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company was founded in 2014.
“We have been in the business for almost eight years, and it still amazes me every day what impact we have made on the community and hopefully will continue to do so,” she said. “We have a fun, unique spin on sweet and salty kettle corn, hence the name naughty but cool.”
For Sims-Summer, the impact on the Birmingham community is one of the main goals of her business, which is “popping with a purpose”.
“It is so important to be purposeful in your life. Find your passions, harness them and give back,” she said. “Small businesses must be part of the community, collaboration and education to grow our ecosystem. God was able to take a product like kettle corn to allow me to grow a purposeful company that includes everything I stand for. I am dedicated to mentorship and mentorship. So, it’s not just popcorn with us – we exist to sweeten relationships.”
Like a relationship with Yogi Dada, whose mission is similar to Sims-Summer.
“My gift is to share my story and the stories of people, especially women, for whom I make jewelry,” said 51-year-old Yogi Dada. “I wear my stories with pride — lessons, pain, and love. I hear stories from different women from every walk of life, and so many of them have shared what I felt. I’m black people.” I want to be an artist making beautiful things for all human beings. I want to make people who have felt beaten up at some point in their lives, feel powerful and important I make art for the human condition. I make art for humanity.”
He said making art and finding ways to help others is something Yogi Dada was born to do.
,[I asked myself], ‘What if I did what I was made to do?’ I wondered what it would be like if I was born with scales and gills. Well, I’ll be in the ocean. … fish don’t think about where the next meal is going to come from, don’t question their purpose or get caught up in the distortion of their identity or value. They just swim. … that has become my mantra: ‘Just swim.’ I know that I am doing what I was made to do, and my spirituality guides that philosophy as well.”
Both are also conscious of who they have come to represent.
Yogi Dada said, “It’s very important that I be able to give young girls a positive representation of black women. It’s best to show that representation early. We know kids love snacks like kettle corn, so Why not mix education and a sweet or savory snack together?”
Sims-Summers said, “I want my daughters to see something like this collab because I need to know that they are capable of anything and everything. …with me serving as an example.” While doing so, I need them to know that they are strong and can set their mind to anything they want to do.”
The Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company is located at 5831 1st Ave N. Suite 200, Birmingham, AL 35212. For more information, see nbnkettlecorn.comor see them instagram And Facebook,
For more information about Yogi Dada visit his website Hereand follow it instagram And Facebook,