Last month I was at Lake Merritt and I happened to see a table of children. From where I was standing I could not tell what they were selling, but I walked over to the table and I must say I was impressed. These children were selling t-shirts and when I asked for the story on their brand, I got such an intellectual response that I became intrigued. Children like these are our future and I wanted to make sure I connected with these young entrepreneurs and helped spread the word about their amazing brand.


The thing that stands out about the members of TroubleMaker Ent. is that they are all between the ages of six and eighteen and they are all family! Four of the members are siblings and the fifth member is their uncle. The fact that this family can have fun together and also conduct business together is so inspiring. More families should take notes, come together and flourish like them!

(Left to right) Jireh Johnson, Dailen Johnson, Darion Johnson, Isaiah Zoller (Bottom left) Jemiah Johnson

To some, TroubleMaker Ent. may just seem like a clothing line. However, the brand is so much more than that. According to Dailen, 15 , the definition of troublemaker is as follows; “A troublemaker is somebody who organizes other people and tries to sway them the opposite way of authorities. So basically a troublemaker means to not always fit into the norm and to be yourself and never let somebody tell you what you have to do in life as long as it's good.”


After hearing this definition, I wanted to know what the term troublemaker meant for their brand. Jireh, 13 , explained, “All the African American activists like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were called troublemakers, because they decided they were trying to do something good in the community for African American people. We decided we were going to change the name troublemakers from something bad to a good thing, because they were calling young African American children troublemakers when they were not even doing anything wrong. Therefore, we wanted to change that from being a negative to a positive term.”


TroubleMaker Ent. has officially been in business since April 2018, but the idea was first thought of two years ago by Dailen. He was only In seventh grade and Dailen was already thinking of a business plan and a name for his brand.

Dailen explained, “I was thinking Drip or TroubleMaker and I thought TroubleMaker sounded better. Two years later we made it into a business and expanded on the meaning”.


Dailen reminisced on the exact moment the name was concepted: “We were riding in the car and my dad asked me what my brand would be called and the meaning came because of a club at my school called The Talented Tenth that taught me how to be and embrace being a young African American male in the world. From the knowledge I gained from that, we came up with a meaning behind TroubleMaker.”


“The club The Talented Tenth was a club at Berkeley High teaching lessons of W. B. Du Bois in a way so youth could comprehend. Shout out to brother D and David West they both came for one workshop, but then it turned into brother D becoming the mentor of the group and coming every Wednesday and David West came a couple times throughout the school year”.


The TroubleMakers Ent. t-shirts come in various styles and colors. Isaiah, 18 , let us know how to get one: “You can start by DMing us on Instagram. We can bring the shirt to you or have a meet up at the barbershop in North Oakland on 59th and Shattuck.” When asked about future products, Isaiah gave us all the tea: “At the moment we just have t-shirts, but we are planning on coming out with a lot more merchandise for our brand like hoodies, bags, sweatsuits and minor accessories like hats. That’s our goals for this year.”

Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of

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What’s also pretty cool is that TroubleMaker Ent. will be coming out with music to help promote their brand. According to Dailen, “This mixtape is to get more people attracted to our brand. There’s no cussing first of all and it’s mainly rap with local guest artists. One of the songs we made is about living your life to the max and never letting anything hold you back”.


The music is coming soon to promote the brand, but I wanted to know how the children are currently promoting their brand.

Darion, 10 , said, “We promote with Instagram, social media and if you go to our father’s barber shop you can buy some of our products there. We also have pop up shops in a number of locations around the Bay Area.”


TroubleMakers Ent. products are available online and via pop ups, but I was curious to know if there would ever be a physical TroubleMakers Ent. store. Dailen explained, “Yes. We want this to become one of the big clothing labels people wear. We just want to spread positivity and sell our clothes to the whole world”.


I was impressed that the entire TroubleMakers Ent. squad credited their parents as their inspiration. According to Jireh, “My mom has been a positive role model in my life, She went and got her nursing certification and that was a really good thing for me. Now I want to go into the medical field as well. My mom has taught me a lot of things and I really appreciate her.” During the interview her mom Roshawn Johnson asked Jireh, “What’s the prettiest color in the world?,” and Jireh responded by saying, “brown.” Roshawn explained that she’s been teaching her daughter to love herself and her skin tone since she was born. I thought this was amazing and I respect Roshawn so much for that. Jireh went on to explain, “I want to help fix colorism in the African American community, because you cant stop racism unless you fix the problems already inside the black community. I want to teach dark skinned people to love their skin. I’ve read stories about dark skinned women not feeling right in their own skin and it saddened me, because it's horrible to see your own people tearing you down because of your skin tone.”


The baby of the family Jemiah, 6 , also spoke extremely highly of her mother: “My mom has been a great parent and she’s a great nurse. She helps us out and it’s great to have a mother that will help people out even though they aren't in the family. It's good to be proud, rejoiceful and to help others.”


Many times throughout the interview, the TroubleMakers Ent. members mentioned their father, Daniel Johnson. “My dad inspires us, because he's had his barbershop for sixteen years and that inspired me to have my own business of some sort,” Dailen explained.


The lettering for the TroubleMakers logo was created by Duck Tape Graphics and the caricatures were created by Truckie Customs. “My dad was on the computer and showed me some font templates and we found one we liked and ran with it,” said Dailen, “As far as the caricatures, the bad bunny and racoon were my idea, then my dad contacted his friend Truck who put together something for us.”

The TroubleMaker Ent. children are related, but they have very different hobbies and personalities. However, they all mentioned how much they like to spend time with their family. According to Darion, “I am different than my siblings. I enjoy hanging out with my family, but I also enjoy wrestling, my action action figures, doing flips and dancing”.


In addition to building their TroubleMaker Ent. brand, each and every one of the members has their own individual goals for the future. Darion wants to be an activist for African American rights, an actor and a successful businessman, Isaiah wants to major in business management so he can run TroubleMaker Ent. or his own business, Dailen wants to work toward TroubleMaker Ent. being a known Bay Area brand, Jemiah wants to be a nurse, doctor or police officer and Jireh wants to get her doctorates degree in pediatrician. After asking all the kids their future goals, their father Daniel interjected and said, “Y’all missed ya’ll main goal!” and the kids all said with laughter that their main goal is to get out their dad’s pockets. This was such a cute moment and really showed me how much love this family has for each other.


When asked what advice they had for young aspiring entrepreneurs, Isaiah and Dailen had some great words of encouragement.


Isaiah said, “If you have a dream follow it and don't let anyone stop you from that. There's so many opportunities in this world you just have to grab it.”


Dailen added, “This is for the young people especially, but it goes out to everybody. It's really not that hard to start something of your own. All you have to do is have some people behind you and really believe in it and go after it. Don’t “half do it”, you have to put your all in and live it to the max.”


It was a pleasure to get to know these kids and discuss their brand. TroubleMakers Ent. has only been in business since April, but these kids are extremely ambitious and show no signs of slowing down. I also want to give a special shoutout to their parents who I am fortunate to have connected with. Daniel told me that he has all the children in their neighborhood selling TroubleMaker Ent. shirts so they can do something positive and stay out of trouble. I respect him so much for helping his children produce something so positive and creative. Make sure you guys support their business and spread the word, because TroubleMakers Ent. is going to go nowhere but up!

To shop and stay in touch with TroubleMakers Ent., make sure you follow them on Instagram at @Troublemakers.ent or head to!

Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of

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