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From homeless to hopeful, this artist and entrepreneur says 2020 was a 'blessing'

'My life is definitely a lot more stable now'
Presius Tajah smiles during an interview with WCPO 9 News. Her curly, brown hair is piled on top of her head, and she's wearing gold, hoop earrings.
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 18:54:29-04

CINCINNATI — Presius Tajah made her WCPO 9 debut in February 2020, just weeks before much of the country shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back then Tajah was struggling with homelessness and housing insecurity while hustling to build her brand as an artist, an entrepreneur and a mentor for marginalized young people.

RELATED: This homeless entrepreneur feels like a millionaire

WCPO 9 caught up with Tajah recently to find out how the past 16 months have treated her.

“The past year has been nothing but a blessing,” she said. “Everybody’s holy word says that we will have struggles in our life. But it also says that we will have an abundance of heaven.”

Tajah got stable housing with the help of her mosque, she said, and has been in her apartment for more than a year now.

“My life is definitely a lot more stable now,” she said. “You don’t realize how discombobulated the mind and the spirit and the body can be without a home.”

More people have invested in her brand and vision, too, Tajah said, by asking her to sell their art, helping her create merchandise and allowing her to exhibit and sell her work in collaboration with their own businesses.

“I knew that people would come together through humble times to help each other get on their feet,” she said. “Now I’m able to take care of myself, and I can teach people that, again, it’s not a competitive spirit that will get you successful. It’s a collaborative experience that will help you to be successful.”

This artwork by Presius Tajah shows a person looking into the distance with long, dark eyelashes, full yellow hair and a pink scarf.
Artwork by Presius Tajah

David Siders is a friend who got to know Tajah when she was working on creative projects in the MakerSpace of the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library.

“I was immediately struck by Presius’ great sense of determination and love and kindness for those around her,” Siders, the library’s civic engagement coordinator, wrote in an email to WCPO. “Presius is courageous and eager to share the wisdom of her journey to overcome housing instability, promote social justice, and how to grow her artwork and brand.”

Tajah says she went from having no income and just $30 to fund her artwork to now having an income that allows her to support herself. It only took about a year to get there, she said, and her unity arts brand Lov MPNZi continues to grow.

“I really wanted to say thank you so much to all the people who have seen me walking around Cincinnati, carrying my merchandise on my body, carrying my situation and being humble about my situation,” she said. “I’m very blessed that Lov MPNZi has been very well received in Cincinnati and that my personal story as Presius Tajah is also being received and that people are taking me seriously now.”

More information and photos of Tajah and her work are online at presiustajah.com. She sells her artwork in person monthly at Pistil Vintage in Over-the-Rhine.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. To reach Lucy, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.