Michael H. White

Title: Owner, President

Company: Memory of Tom Powell Post Golden Knights

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems, Tokyo College (1985)

Career History: Owner/President, Memory of Tom Powell Post Golden Knights (2008-Present); Engineer Analyst; System Administrator; With AT&T

Michael H. White, Owner and President at Memory of Tom Powell Post Golden Knights, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the fields of education, music, and philanthropy.

For more than a decade, Mr. White has dedicated himself to helping the youth through his organization of the Memory of Tom Powell Post Golden Knights, a nonprofit foundation based in St. Louis, Missouri whose mission is to assist young people and adults in counseling, music education, learning new skills, and preventing substance abuse, among other goals. Having played in drum and bugle corps through high school, he takes great pride in visiting public schools and teaching students how to read and play music, assisting band directors, and helping people of all ages to participate and march in parades, concerts, shows, and other events within the local community.

The group, which now has between 25 and 30 members, has roots that trace back to 1919 when Tom Powell Post #77 became the first Black American Legion Post and was ultimately chartered by Congress as well. Its namesake was an Army messenger during World War I, who enlisted in an all-Black regiment after he was initially rejected by Army recruiters; he was ultimately killed in France while carrying messages. The first Drum Crop was established in 1935, which branched off into several other groups, including American Woodmen Cadets, Page Park Cadets, and Golden Knights Drum Line. Donations to the group primarily go toward helping underprivileged children.

A gifted musician and educator within music programs, Mr. White has also deeply valued hard work and learning as many things as he could—among his many areas of expertise are bookkeeping, accounting, income taxes, management, and leadership. He served for many years as a system administrator and an engineer analyst; in fact, he wrote the very first income tax software that hit the market in 1978 and wrote codes for airplanes in Egypt. In 1985, he earned a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Tokyo College. However, since shifting gears and focusing on music education full-time, he considers his most rewarding accomplishment to be teaching children and marching with them.

Looking toward the future, Mr. White hopes to eventually retire, travel, and spend time with his family, including his wife, five children, and grandchildren.

Arcemio T. Smith

NAME: Arcemio T. Smith

Title: Music Enrichment Teacher                              

Company: Judson Fundamental Magnet Elementary

Education: Master’s Degree in Music Education, Centenary College (2018);

Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA (2010)

Career History: Founder, Cemitone Music and Arts Inc. (2021-Present);

Music Enrichment Teacher, Judson Fundamental Magnet Elementary (2017-Present);

With, Caddo Middle Career and Technology School, Shreveport, LA;

Itinerant Band Director, Oak Park Elementary School (Two Years);

Substitute Teacher (One Year)

Arcemio T. Smith, Music Enrichment Teacher at Judson Fundamental Magnet Elementary, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of education.

An accomplished musician from a young age and a natural educator, Mr. Smith combines his passions to bolster creative talent and energy in students spanning various ages. Since 2017, he has excelled as a music enrichment teacher at Judson Fundamental Magnet Elementary in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2021. That same year he also founded a nonprofit after-school band program for fourth through eighth graders called Cemitone Music and Arts Program, Inc., where he teaches wind instruments, including the flute and trumpet. In addition to his primary services, he provides piano accompaniment to Praise Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church, plays the baritone, trombone, and euphonium, among several other instruments, and produces music for singers.

Prior to these appointments, Mr. Smith gained experience as a substitute teacher for a year, served as an itinerant band director at Oak Park Elementary School for two, and was affiliated with Caddo Middle Career & Technology School. In preparation for his professional journey, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Grambling State University in 2010 and both a master’s degree in music education and teaching certification from Centenary College in 2018.

Born and raised in Shreveport, he had an early interest in music and took piano lessons; outside of developing his love and abilities as a pianist, he gravitated toward the idea of teaching when his own teacher philosophized that “it is doubtful” one has playing skills if he or she is unable to explain them. A faith-driven man, he believes his skills as a player and ability to pass his expertise down to the next generation are God-given gifts. He also had a strong support system in his parents and similarly creative brother, a playwright with screenwriting aspirations—while Mr. Smith strives to one day create the scores for films.

In the midst of teaching at Judson, he often thought of his longtime dream to own and operate his own music school, which he was ultimately able to organize and put into motion over the course of quarantine. The launch of the Cemitone Music and Arts Program has been a crowning achievement in his extremely productive career. Looking toward the future, he strives to acquire a proper building for the nonprofit and advance to an administrative position at the elementary school, as well as producing more music and playing at events.

Judson Fundamental Magnet Elementary

Cemitone Music and Arts Inc.

Jarvis J. Taylor

Title: Founder, Artist

Company: Top Of The South Entertainment

Location: Henderson, NC

Education: Bachelor’s Degree Coursework in Theater and Film, St. Augustine’s University

Career History: Founder, Artist, Top Of The South Entertainment

Jarvis J. Taylor, Founder and Artist at Top of the South Entertainment, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of entertainment.

Fueled by a lifelong passion for music and a drive to succeed, Mr. Taylor—also known by his artist name “J Real”—has dedicated his career to creating, producing, and releasing songs and albums that move people. Born and raised in North Carolina, he gravitated toward his profession naturally—from a young age, he was obsessed with the A-track stereo and record player setup that sat in his family living room. So enthralled by it, he wanted to know how to get inside the machines and become the voice that he heard emerging out of them. That’s when, he noted, his music journey began.

Always writing and recording music, Mr. Taylor also flexed his artistic muscles by pursuing coursework in theater and film at St. Augustine’s University; just six credits shy of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in these subjects, he had to leave school due to financial setbacks at the time. However, he has wielded his creativity across all mediums, from cinematography to screenwriting to music, as the founder and an artist at Top of the South Entertainment. Over the course of his career, he has been a featured artist on the 2006 BET HBCU college tour, taken part in major hip-hop freestyle challenges—claiming victory after three rounds—and entered a “Dollar4 Dollar challenge” on TikTok, a platform he has used to post and build his content. The latter challenge proved to be a major highlight of his career as it made him realize who he was as an artist, gave him a whole new layer of confidence, and enhanced his craft immensely. He has found it incredibly rewarding to utilize his talent, express it, and hear from people that his work had an impact on him.

In the midst of further building his music career, Mr. Taylor’s father, James, a Vietnam veteran, passed away in 2021. Married to his mother for 47 years, the passing of his father was a sudden shock to the family, which prompted him to put his creative side on hold. But looking ahead, he strives to establish connections and network with people from within the music and entertainment industry who share his passion and style, and collaborate with them. He also hopes to write R&B music for companies such as Capital Records. Encouraging others to pursue their dreams, Mr. Taylor said, “Time waits for no one. If you think it, feel it, see it, then go for it with everything you got. Regret can [grow] over time. Trust in God, have faith, and go for it.”

When he isn’t making music, Mr. Taylor enjoys cooking—and has even created a signature chicken sandwich called the “Southern Smothered Chicken Sandwich” that’s available in the city of Los Angeles.

Jerome Davis

Title: Owner, Producer

Company: Brit Lake Records

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Education: New York City College of Technology

Career History: Owner, Producer, Brit Lake Records, (2007-Present); 1 Connection Records (2022); Worker, Metro-North Railroad

Jerome Davis, Owner at Brit Lake Records, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of music.

A gifted singer, songwriter, and record producer, Mr. Davis, known artistically as 360Degree, developed his love and passion for music as a young boy living in Jamaica; though impoverished and without a musical background, he had a drive and a strong connection to reggae—so much so that he knew early on that he would grow up to make songs for a living. “Music is what I was ordained to do,” he recalled thinking in his teenage years. He eventually relocated to the United States and attended the New York City College of Technology and subsequently worked for the Metro-North Railroad while working on songs and building his dream career.

The launch of Mr. Davis’ professional journey, however, coincided with a personal tragedy. His brother was murdered in the city of Kingston in their home country, the emotions from which fueled a heartfelt song about the event. He also produced a music video with the track, which led to the opening of his business, Brit Lake Records, a company that has been in operation since 2007. Among his myriad achievements in the music field—including his own extensive catalog, such as the albums “Full Circle” and “Seaview”—he has been especially proud of recording for artists in Jamaica. In 2022, he started 1 Connection Records.

In addition, Mr. Davis is an active figure in his field, holding memberships with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. He has also been committed to bolstering his education, having attended Queensborough Community College, where he made the Dean’s List in 2016. One of his goals for the future is to complete his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the New York City College of Technology. Looking ahead within his artistic career, he strives to produce more songs for the billboard charts and become known worldwide as a music maker who came from nothing and climbed to the top through hard work, commitment, and productivity. For those who aspire to follow in his footsteps, or simply want to achieve their dreams, Mr. Davis stressed the importance of never letting anyone steal you away from what you want. “Build up your confidence day by day and do not listen to the naysayers,” he said.