From Pop Star To Private Practice

By Jenna Hanchard
By Sam Gaddes

February 16, 2012 Updated Feb 17, 2012 at 5:01 AM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Action News Reporter Jenna Hanchard and Action News Videographer Sam Gaddes continue their series featuring black business owners in the Greater Binghamton Area.

Chukym Alexis-Johnson is one of the only African American female dentists in the area with her own practice.

Her skill set, however, reaches far beyond fixing cavities.

The local dentist had a brief brush with fame before she earned her white coat.

If you're looking for the dentist, she's right in front of you.

"They would think I was the assistant. I don't know why. I have the white jacket on. I try to purposefully wear my name so that people know I'm the doctor. People would walk in the room and say where is the doctor," said Alexis-Johnson.

Chukym Alexis-Johnson is one of the only African American female dentists in the Greater Binghamton area with her own practice.

For many patients, she's not the face they expect to see checking for cavities.

"People assume that a doctor is a male. They more or less assume that the doctor is a Caucasian male," she said

Alexis-Johnson says she's as dedicated as any dentist to perfect smiles.

Long before Johnson wore the white coat, the Rochester native left home in search of something more familiar.

"In my high school, my friends weren't African American, so I just wanted to experience being around more African Americans."

Alexis-Johnson landed in Washington DC at Howard University.

The historically black university raised her expectations for herself.

"I felt like I could do anything. I could be a professor. I could be an oral surgeon, I could be a doctor because I saw these people doing these jobs," she said.

It also gave the seemingly shy student the confidence to show off her voice.

"When people knew that I sang it was sort of a shock," said Alexis-Johnson.

With a music video and an album, Chukym had a brief ride in the stardom lane.

"I was really nervous before I got on there and then it was like a release. It was awesome. I liked doing it," she said.

If being a musician and a dentist isn't enough for one lifetime, Alexis-Johnson can also add painter to her resume.

Alexis-Johnson says there is little difference between the toothbrush and the paintbrush.

"I think dentistry is very creative. Everyday is something different which I love. I'm that type of person. I have to be doing creative things."

From the bright lights to the pearly whites, Chukym Alexis-Johnson always finds a canvas for creativity.