By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer
Fort Worth senior Tanaka Tava said he felt a calling to serve God above anything else, which lead him to change his major from pre-med to theatre arts his second year of college.
“I felt a calling to motivation, entertainment, and really going back into the niche that God has created me to be [in],” Tava said.
A first-generation American, Tava said his parents were born in Zimbabwe. He learned about the importance of living for Christ growing up.
“My identity and who I am is [that] I am a servant of Yahweh who wants to continue to spread the Gospel through the work that is placed on my heart,” Tava said.
Tava is the founder and lead creator of Tava Multimedia Group LLC, an internet production company that produces inspirational and intellectually engaging content that adds value across the globe with a fresh perspective, according to their website.
Tava has made a number of accomplishments during his time at Baylor, including starting the Campus Cuts podcast, writing a poetry book, acting in various films and plays and recently speaking at TEDxCSUF. Tava has also been featured in the New York Times and was the 2019 Social Identity Award Recipient from Baylor University’s Academy for Leadership Development.
Tava said he learned to balance a busy schedule and many projects through prayer and time management, which he attributes learning during his time at a college preparatory high school. He also said his motivation and love for his work helps.
“Life is easy once you find out what you are passionate about,” Tava said. “I really think that it is important for us to go and hone into our skills and what we need to do.”
Tava came into college with various credits from the IB and AP programs from his high school, which he said gave him the freedom and flexibility he needed to pursue his interests in college.
“It gave me the free time to continue to pursue student government early on, being elected as the vice president of the freshman class, first semester. Also being able to do some theater shows and being one of the first freshmen since 2001 to join my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated,” Tava said.
Tava said he looks to his family for inspiration, because they have sacrificed so much for him to be where he is today. That alone helps drive him to success.
“Seeing them take the risk to uproot their whole life to come to a whole different country, only hearing about it on TV, and being educated enough to really go on and do those big scary things always inspired me.”
Tava said he owes his inquisitive nature to his family for allowing him to pursue his desires.
“For me, my family really did a great job of instilling curiosity into me, time and time again, because curiosity is what keeps the human spirit engaged and able to continue to move on for innovation and also for great relationships,” Tava said. “I’m moved and I’m driven by people to serve them but also to hear their stories.”
Tava said his newest venture is an upcoming social networking app that he has been a part of since 2020.
“I’m the co-founder and the chief information officer of a new social network named Videloo,” he said. “Right now, we are working on the process of creating and releasing this product in the summer of 2021, but we’re releasing our beta within the next few months. We just really wanted to hone in and take the tech industry by storm by being authentic.”
Tava said it’s very important to him and his fellow co-founders and co-creatives that they have an environment that fosters diversity, representative of their backgrounds.
“We are just a team who are humble, who are hungry and the majority of the team members, five out of seven members, are first-generation American immigrants,” Tava said. “We’ve got to have people that look like us be in those same positions and at the table. It’s one thing to just be at the table but also creating the table so other platforms have that representation.”
Baylor Alum Esrael Yohannes, director of media relations and content development of Videloo, said in a statement that the team will leave an impression on the tech industry.
“With the team’s ultimate desire to change the narrative and create content that will inspire the Baylor family and others across the globe. It’s just a matter of time for this to catch on fire,” Yohannes said in the statement. “It’s all about the journey, bringing the audience in to root for something and be a part of a revolutionary shift.”
Tava said Videloo is more than just an app — it’s meant to bridge people together. The beta version of the app is scheduled to be released in late May. You can sign up to join the beta list on their website.
“I’m just a co-founder, I’m just a co-creator. It’s the people’s app. That’s what we want to continue to showcase,” Tava said. “All of these insights and everything that we are creating now is not just our ideas, but it’s the ideas and everything from everyone we interviewed, everyone that we talked to, from people that are young and people that are old. They have all contributed to this vision.”
Tava said each year before he starts school, he looks at his high school yearbook for advice that he received from one of his high school classmates, Nima Rahman.
“’Live life with an open mind, an open heart and open arms.’ That’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given,” Tava said.
Tava said that Baylor taught him many important things, but the most value piece of information he has received was to care for people no matter what their story is.
“I’ve learned at Baylor University to love people for where they’re at and to get to know their story,” Tava said. “I’ve seen so many examples personally and also in passing, of people really understanding that idea of community and loving people for where they are at, at that moment.”