Tameka Ellington: Fashion pioneer gives back to TRIO, Kent State

Tameka is the founder and CEO of First Generation Revolutionaries.

Tameka Ellington grew up in the inner city where crime, drugs, and teen pregnancy were the norm. A single teenage mother raised her while her father served a 15-year prison sentence. She knew she wanted something different, so she participated in the Cuyahoga Community College Upward Bound program in high school. Upward Bound opened her eyes to opportunities she did not know existed. Tameka graduated high school tenth in her class and went to Kent State University to study fashion design. 

After graduation, she worked in the fashion industry designing clothing for corporations such as the Limited Corp and Abercrombie and Fitch. Later, Tameka pursued her master’s degree and Ph.D. at Kent State University and became the first Black professor in the school of fashion. She was invited to serve as assistant dean for the College of the Arts due to her major contributions to the University and her field of research. 

In 2020, Tameka started First Generation Revolutionaries, a company with a mission to support students professionally, personally, and spiritually through empowering keynotes, training sessions, and mentorship programs. She also started the Ellington Foundation to support first-generation students majoring in the arts financially. To date, she has been able to gift four scholarships to students in the school of fashion at KSU.

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