"My husband and I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and love for our community. We've always searched for ways to combine those two things," Queen says.
Brad was born and raised in Jackson and is a graduate of Jackson State University. Queen spent her early years growing up in Clinton and attended Tougaloo College. They have three children from previous relationships and one daughter together.
Queen says the idea to create the Kundi Compound came to her after she resigned from her job as a data analyst with the state of Mississippi, a position that she had held for 15 years.
"After witnessing a management hierarchy that was predominantly white and male, while seeing capable black and female employees being looked over, I felt my talents were not being best utilized," Queen says. "If I was ever going to make a move, this was the time."
She began formulating the structure for the business that would become the Kundi Compound after her resignation on April 28, 2017, and opened the space in May.
"I watched my father, (Howard Spencer), oversee the Black and Proud School and do community events early in my life, and it sparked the charge to serve as he had," Queen says of one reason for forming the compound.
She says that she and her husband have several major long-term community goals and plans for the space that they are hoping to put into action in the near future. In the meantime, the Kundi Compound is already providing a working space for growing businesses and artists at affordable rates in hopes of creating an organic incubator, she says.
"We'd like to serve as a hub for small businesses, especially non-traditional, non-brick and mortar businesses, to plan, meet and to network," Queen says. "If someone is looking to start a business and lacks the funds to do so, we are a resource to assist."
The compound also features a public computer lab and rents out spaces for everything from panel discussions to pop-up art exhibits. The Franklins hope to be an anchor in the midtown area of Jackson.
"We'd like to be a resource for the residents and businesses in midtown," Queen says. "We'd like to be a part of one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city of Jackson."
The compound currently houses four businesses, OurGlass Media Group, which manages rising hip-hop artist Silas; HATHOR, LLC, the parent company of Thick And Proud Sisters, or TAPS, which Queen started in 2012 with the goal to empower full-figured women; Mississippi in Action, which provides education on reproductive justice and HIV awareness around the country; and WeBase Media Solutions, which focuses on training for small businesses.
"It is very difficult for creatives in this city to nurture their ideas," Queen says. "One's creativity should not hurt their finances."
In addition to providing a sort of home base for local businesses, the compound also hosts a monthly mixer for the Jackson Black Pages, which is a publication and online resource that promotes black-owned businesses in the city, as well as training seminars for upstart businesses on a regular basis through WeBase.
"We are hopeful to become a major entity in the city's arts and business community," Queen says. "Everything we do, we aim for major impact."
For more information on the Kundi Compound (256 E. Fortification St.; 601.345.8680), email email@example.com or find it on Facebook.