Founder and CEO of Hazel Visions, Hazel Simpson, is versatile in the performing arts and film industry. Her brand Hazel Visions, is an umbrella to house her other three companies, Sis to Sis Productions, Drama and Arts Academy, and I Am Awards.
“I was led to becoming an entrepreneur by seeing my parents being entrepreneurs. I like being in control of my time, especially after the experiences I had working for others,” Simpson said. “I became very determined to become an entrepreneur after my first marriage and having my children. With the stress of working for someone and trying to raise a family, I knew I needed to get control of my time.”
Simpson’s experience in education contributed to her passion for assisting children in sharpening their creative abilities in the performing arts industry. Two decades ago, she founded Drama and Arts Academy in College Park, Georgia. Her educational learning center ensures children from ages 1 to 13 can access a high-level performing arts school without the hassle of traveling to another district or paying a hefty tuition fee to enroll.
Stemming from her passion for performing arts, Simpson established Sis to Sis Productions in 2011 to house her films and creative content. Her films, which she executive produced and directed, have received national praise and are available to stream on platforms like Amazon Prime, Roku, and Tubi, as well as her website, Hazel Visions. Her most notable films, Sisters & The Shrink series, feature celebrities like Leon Lamar, Trina Braxton, Towanda Braxton, and Rashan Ali.
Naturally, Simpson is a generous and selfless person who believes in helping others reach their goals and accomplish their dreams. This led her to create her company; I Am Awards, an annual award show highlighting women who are impacting their community by giving back their time and resources.
Simpson’s businesses have allowed her to connect with other influential leaders within the performing arts and entertainment industry. Many people, from fans, admirers, and colleagues, often ask her about her love of storytelling and where it stemmed from. She credits her time as an educator for propelling her film career.
“Being in the school system for 32 years, I have seen so much. I started writing by venting to relieve stress, which turned into storytelling. Most of my stories are based on true and relatable stories. I know I am truly called to this because I don’t mind investing in myself and my businesses,” Simpson said. “I love creating stories based on spirituality, drama, comedy, inspiration, and uplifting. I know I have found my purpose, and seeing my content come to life gives me joy. People love it and want to be a part of it.”
A powerhouse in her own right, Simpson comes from humble beginnings. She was born in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica, and relocated to New York in 1985. She then decided to enroll at Monroe College, where she graduated in 1995, and chose to start her career in education as a teacher.
“In the 80s, most of the West Indie countries were migrating to New York and England because it was a phase of going to different countries and opportunities,” Simpson told the Charleston Compass in a recent interview. “My parents wanted me to go to America after I graduated high school because there were more opportunities for me.”
After living in New York for two decades, Simpson relocated to Atlanta in 2007. After continuing in the education field for a couple of years in Atlanta, her entrepreneurial breakthrough happened in 2009.
“I opened a dance studio in 2009 with a business partner, which went on for a few years. Then in 2010, I opened my full-day school and got licensed with the state of Georgia, and since then, I haven't turned back. I haven't worked for anyone else, and I now have a staff of 15 full-time and part-time employees.”
As a busy business mogul and humanitarian, she enlisted the marketing and branding services of NobleSol Art Group based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, to help give her audience an all-in-one experience with her companies.
“The target goal of working with NobleSol Art Group is marketing and branding. The products and the content were all over the place because I was so busy,” Simpson said. “So, the conversation with NobleSol Art Group was about housing everything in one place. I needed some stability and someone to take that load, and with NobleSol Art Group, I truly believe I am going in the right direction.”
Simpson is a multi-talented businesswoman who continues to push past many boundaries, such as being in the male-dominated entertainment field and being a Black woman thriving with multiple businesses. Whether producing and directing films, training teachers, or giving back to her community, Simpson keeps her mission at the forefront of her mind.
“I want to be remembered as a person that kept her word,” Simpson said. “I want people to be inspired and uplifted by my work.”