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Contributed photo by Chris Cohran / Thunder Studios CEO Kinnawa Kaitibi, center, addresses the audience during the grand opening of the marketing and public relations studio on Market Street this past weekend.

Kinnawa Kaitibi, 27, loves everything about the public relations, marketing and branding business. Whether it's conceiving the marketing idea or actually shooting the photographs or videos, or recording the jingle or message, he likes being involved.

The Memphis native developed his talents while a student at UTC and later while working at WJTT and then for the city of Chattanooga in public relations. But it was his work on the blog, Tha Milk Drop, which is focused on promoting the local hip hop community, that got him attention from people outside of the area. They later became clients and about three years ago, "I became really serious about it."

This past weekend, he opened Thunder Studios on Market Street in the Clark Center at the corner of Main Street. It is a one-stop studio dedicated to videography, photography, strategic marketing, audio production, and anything else that needs doing.

"I've working from LA to Houston to Chicago with some A-list people and companies like Def Jam and Erika Banks at 1501 [Certified Entertainment]," he said.

"I've done photography, video, rebranding, PR and audio production. I've also done some DJing and whatever else it takes."

He does work with Colby Mitchell out of Memphis for his graphic works and has partnered with Dynamo Studio here to give the high school students involved in that program for high school-aged students interested in all aspects of the music industry.

"They train the kids and I give the opportunity to learn life skills and be compensated for their work."

Thunder Studios is part of Kaitibi's AfricanThunder umbrella of companies. He is CEO of The Milk Drop, which was founded by Sammy Lowdermilk to showcase the talent in Chattanooga.

"I believe there is a lot of talent in Chattanooga and there are a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs that I didn't know about that need a company like Thunder Studios."

Kaitibi also has a strong belief in advocacy and Thunder Studios has also entered into a partnership with SUSPIRE, a mental health organization dedicated to dealing with mental health issues.

"I have plans or ideas for other things as well," he said.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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