Today’s History Makers: 28 Black Leaders Who Are Shaping Modern Day History


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We celebrate our Black leaders not only during Black History Month but all year long!

Keep scrolling to see the Black Information Network's spotlight on 28 Black leaders who are driving our culture and community forward.

Amanda Gorman

Poet

Amanda Gorman made history as the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration. At 23 years old, she has spoken out on issues related to race, voting and sustainability, and proved to be a particularly bright light for many. She has inspired a nation and continues to change the world one word at a time.

Joe Biden Sworn In As 46th President Of The United States At U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony

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Lil Nas X

Artist

Lil Nas X has become a role model for young queer people around the world. At 22, his impact has gone beyond his great contributions to music — he has blazed new trails for LGBTQ inclusion in hip-hop and made a profound impact on Black culture.

2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards – Arrivals

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Simone Biles

Gymnast

Simone Biles is considered one of, if not, the greatest and most dominant gymnasts of all time. The seven-time Olympic medalist changed the game this past year at the 2020 Olympic Games when she chose to put herself and her mental health first over competition. Her decision to prioritize her mental health started an important conversation in the sports world about the role of mental health in sports.

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 4

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RuPaul

The Queen of Drag

RuPaul is considered the most commercially successful drag queen in the United States and is "easily the world's most famous" drag queen. He has created wider exposure for drag queens from LGBT culture into mainstream society, thanks to his early-career chart success, and later, the successive climb in viewership of RuPaul's Drag Race.

73rd Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room

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Jackie James

TikTok Star

Jackie James is a Black Lives Matter activist and social media influencer who uses her TikTok platform to uplift social issues and help educate other young people on the app.

Photo: Instagram/jaxajueny

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter

Artist

Beyoncé is one of the world's best-selling recording artists of all time. Within her three-decade career, she has changed the direction of pop music, becoming one of the most significant cultural icons of our time. She not only gives us countless bops and number one hits, but she also uses her platform to engage in conversations about gender, race, and politics and is a powerful voice for our generation.

Beyonce "The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour" - Los Angeles

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Issa Rae

Creator, Director, That Gworl

Issa Rae is the creator of multiple culture-changing TV series whose work includes stimulating a modern Black media renaissance.

2019 Women In Film Annual Gala Presented By Max Mara With Additional Support From Partners Delta Air Lines And Lexus - Inside

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Matthew Cherry

Film director, writer, and former football player

Matthew Cherry is an Oscar-winning director of the animated short “Hair Love” created after his children’s book by the same title.

2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Roaming Arrivals

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Nija Charles

Songwriter

Nija Charles is the 24-year-old behind some of the industry’s recent major hits. The Jersey native has worked with Cardi B, Kehlani, Summer Walker, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and more.

62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals

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George M. Johnson

Journalist, author

George M. Johnson is the author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue” a collection of personal essays that explore their experiences as a LGBTQIA+ young person.

Photo: Vincent Marc

Abby D. Philip

Political Correspondent, journalist

Abby D. Philip is CNN’s Senior Political Correspondent and anchor of “Inside Politics Sunday”

Photo: CNN

Kennedi Carter

Photographer

Kennedi Carter is a Durham, North Carolina native photographer who has captured the likes of Beyoncé for British Vogue, Lakeith Stanfield, and boasts a commissioned collection in The New York Times, The New Yorker and more.

Photo: Kennedi Carter

Karine Jean-Pierre

Activist, political commentator, author

The principal deputy press secretary for the White House made history after becoming the first openly gay woman and second Black woman ever to brief White House press on behalf of the President Of The United States.

Press Briefing Held By Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre

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LeBron James

Four-time NBA Champion

The Los Angeles Laker founded a non-profit organization called The LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps children in his hometown area of Akron, Ohio. He created the I Promise village, which serves as a “transitional housing community” for Akron families who are struggling with domestic violence, homelessness or other obstacles.

Los Angeles Lakers v Atlanta Hawks

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Rihanna

Singer, designer, businesswoman

The Bajan beauty recently made history as the first Black woman to own a cosmetics brand worth over $1million. She also currently holds the title as the world’s richest female musician.

The Fashion Awards 2019 - Red Carpet Arrivals

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Jay-Z

Rapper, Business Mogul

The Award winning billionaire established his own sports agency to help young athletes with financial health and literacy. He also co-founded the Reform Alliance – a criminal justice reform organization.

36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Inside

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Marley Dias

Social Activist, Writer

The 13-year old launched a campaign called #1000BlackGirlBooks in November 2015, an international movement to collect and donate children’s books that feature Black girls as the lead characters.

Anti-Racism Protests Held In U.S. Cities Nationwide

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Tony Weaver

Writer, Educator

The award-winning writer founded Weird Enough Productions, an ed-tech company focused on combating media misrepresentation through original content production and media literacy education.

Photo: Instagram/TonyWeaverJr

Mari Copeny

Activist, philanthropist, public speaker

This award-winning teen caught the world’s attention when she spoke out about the Flint, Michigan water crisis at age 8. Since then, Copeny makes sure her hometown is not forgotten in the aftermath of the incident, advocating against environmental racism across the country.

Supermajority Hosts Supercharge: Women All In

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Yolanda Renee King

Emerging activist, public speaker

The only grandchild of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Yolanda Renee King is continuing the family’s legacy of activism. Even though she’s 13-years-old, Yolanda has already spoken about racism, voting rights, and other issues affecting Black Americans today. She also participates in demonstrations and marches.

MLK Holiday D.C. 16th Annual Peace Walk & Press Conference

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Tarana Burke

Activist

Tarana Burke founded the MeToo movement, which took the world by storm as a hashtag and rallying cry for survivors of sexual violence. She also dedicates her time helping people of color, young women and girls, and other marginalized groups.

ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards - Show

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Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Professor, scholar, activist

Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a strong voice when it comes to critical race theory and intersectionality. Her scholarly work focuses on race, gender and constitutional law. Crenshaw is currently a professor of law at the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia Law School.

2018 Women's March Los Angeles

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Stacey Abrams

Lawyer, politician, voting rights activist, author

Stacey Abrams has been at the forefront of the fight for voter’s rights. Ever since her governor run in Georgia, the former state representative has founded an organization dedicated to fighting voter suppression. She has also published several books.

Stacey Abrams, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate.

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Michelle Alexander

Author, lawyer, law professor, civil rights activist

An award-winning law professor best known for writing The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Her book is considered a must-read for civil rights activist. Alexander advocated against racist practice before publishing the New York Times bestseller and worked as a law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Harlem Women's Round-table Conversation

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Naomi Osaka

Tennis player

The four-time Grand Slam singles champion is no stranger to making history both on and off the tennis court. She is the first woman to win successive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015. Osaka is also an activist, who continues to use her platform to show her support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

2021 Australian Open: Day 13

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Aurora James

Fashion Designer

Aurora James founded the fashion label Brother Vellies with the goal of promoting traditional African design practices and techniques. In 2020, James found the 15 Percent Pledge as a non-profit organization to support Black-owned businesses.

Brandon Maxwell - Front Row & Backstage - September 2021 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows

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Nikole Hannah-Jones

Journalist

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a New York Times reporter known for her coverage of racial injustice in the U.S. In 2020, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her work on the controversial The 1619 Project.

2021 Morehouse College Commencement

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Economist

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an international development expert, is the seventh Director-General of the World Trade Organization. When she took office in March 2021, she became the first woman and the first African to serve as the WTO's Director-General.

The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2

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