For 16-year-old Kheris Rogers, who already has a clothing line, foundation and book under her trendy Gen Z belt, uplifting young, Black voices doesn’t stop there.
The Los Angeles-based teen entrepreneur has taken her burgeoning empire to the next level — this time with her inaugural High Vibrations Teen Summit, an in-person event on the Loyola Marymount University campus that invites kids ages 14-18 to learn about everything from healthy relationships to the effects of social media on self-esteem.
As someone who admits to struggling with anxiety, Rogers wanted to support other teens who might be going through the same thing.
“Why not give them the voice that we feel like we don’t have?” she tells In The Know by Yahoo. After all, she says, “sometimes adults can make us feel like our voices aren’t heard or like they don’t matter.”
Rogers’s voice in particular has stood out for several years now, despite her young age. In 2017, in response to bullying because of her skin color, she and her older sister co-founded a clothing line, Flexin’ in My Complexion, which offers colorful hoodies and tees sporting messages like “Black Women Matter” and “Support Black Business.”
This came after a tweet her sister sent at the time, using the hashtag #FlexinInHerComplexion, which immediately went viral.
“I wanted to turn a negative into a positive,” Rogers said. “I wanted to show other people just because I was being torn down for so many years doesn’t mean that I can’t turn that into something amazing.”
A confidence-builder for kids
“Amazing” might even be an understatement, given how much this L.A. teen has accomplished in such a short amount of time.
In addition to her work as the CEO of Flexin’ in My Complexion, Rogers has also written a book for younger children, Shine Bright, about a girl who is bullied because of her dark skin, something that Rogers herself experienced in school.
“I wanted to teach young kids about what the real world is like in a kid’s way of understanding, because being taught racism or being taught colorism, it’s taught at home,” she says. “So they bring that back to school, and I’m just showing other young kids, you have to love yourself at all times.”
Her inaugural summit, which is scheduled for Feb. 11, is a partnership between the Kheris Rogers Foundation and Jeneration J, the youth division of Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention organization in L.A.
One of the breakout sessions, facilitated by the Jenesse Center Youth Program, is focused on building healthy relationships, something Rogers admits she’s still learning about herself.
“We don’t need toxic relationships. We’re too young,” she emphasizes, reiterating a message that seems especially meaningful to her, “Self-love is the best, period.”
Other sessions include navigating the entertainment industry with Cedric Joe (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and TikToker Mya Johnson, as well as therapist-led discussions about understanding who you are and healing through arts.
Rogers is especially keen to help kids and teens of color heal and feel confident in their everyday lives, something that was a challenge for her before all of her success.
“I just love giving back even now, being fortunate enough to do it and growing up not fortunate and knowing how it feels not to have school supplies,” she says. “Now I’m fortunate enough to give back to other people. It’s like, I want to do this every year, every month — or every day, if I could.”
How Kheris Rogers is inspiring others
The multihyphenate has inspired other kids, and some have even reached out to share their stories. One in particular, she says, stands out the most.
One girl on social media reached out to Rogers, telling her “how bad her bullying was and how she’s brought herself down in so many ways. She didn’t want to be here anymore.”
“When she heard my story on how I went through the exact same thing as she’s going through and how I turned it into a positive,” Rogers added, “she said how that inspired her and helped her gain confidence in herself, made her want to love herself 10 times more.”
Rogers’s own role models include the actress Lupita Nyong’o, the musician Alicia Keys, and her mom and sister, as well as people who “paved the way for a lot of Black girls.” She even admits that she, too, is a role model.
“I feel like I paved the way for a lot of young girls and boys just to come in and voice their opinions, do what they love,” she says. “Because if you want to do something, you don’t have to start it when you’re 20. You can start it now.”
And while the 16-year-old got an early start in entrepreneurship, she says she still enjoys doing what your average teenager likes to do, too, including roller-skating, shopping and going to parties.
Nevertheless, her message is clear, and her priority is uplifting young Black voices, especially the ones struggling to find confidence in themselves.
“Don’t be afraid,” she says, is her message to kids and teens of color. “If you want to do something, you have to go for it. No one can stop you but yourself, no matter what social media says, no matter what your family says, no matter what your best friends say, no matter what anybody says.
“No one else can want it more than you. Period.”
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