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Black History Month is dedicated to celebrating our roots, as we look toward the future of Black America. Typically, we revisit the legacy of black leaders who laid the ground work for the opportunities we take advantage of today. However, this year there's a certain energy swelling within Black America that feels like the dawn of a new era. Our community is no longer looking for recognition or acceptance, we're looking for our piece of the American Pie based off of the billion dollar influence we have on pop culture, which shapes the American identity. The New Black Renaissance is here, we understand the dollar value of our culture, and we're owning our responsibility to uplift each other mentally, spiritually, and financially. To celebrate the new black history made within the last 2-3 years, that is helping to mold the future of the African-American existence in our country, the REVOLT team debated for 3 days over who the cultural paragons are, leading the way through new standards of achievement, thought-leadership, innovation, and creative output across politics, fashion, sports/entertainment, and art. We give to you, the Leaders of the New Black Renaissance.

Angela Rye
  • CNN Political Commentator
  • NPR Political Analyst
  • Senior Advisor and Counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security
  • Served on the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and the Seattle University School of Law Alumni
  • Member of The Links, Incorporated, National Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Washington Government Relations Group
Ava DuVernay
  • 1st black woman to direct $100 million feature film. (A Wrinkle in Time)
  • 1st black woman to win Best Director Award at Sundance Film Festival
  • 1st black woman to direct a film nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • 4 Emmy Awards for Netflix documentary, The 13th
  • Included in Time Magazine's list of Women Changing the World
  • Highest paid woman in music grossing $205 million in touring in 2017 alone
  • 6 number 1 solo albums, bestselling single of all time, and 20 time Grammy winner
  • Innovated standard album releases by dropping a visual album with no promo
  • Listed as one of America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 by Forbes
  • Sparked worldwide conversation about feminism and social justice through her Lemonade album, which was the highest selling album globally in 2016
Black Lives Matter
  • Catalyst for social media activism, establishing hashtag usage of over 30 million
  • 30 chapters established nationwide
  • Organized and led protests against the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner gaining international support
  • Chosen by the American Dialect Society as word of the year
Bozoma Saint John
  • Chief Brand Officer of Uber credited for leading company through rebranding after worldwide sexual assault scandals.
  • Founded the Music & Entertainment Division at Pepsi
  • Lead iconic 2013 Super Bowl campaign sponsoring Beyoncé's halftime performance watched by 100 million Americans.
  • Former Head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple iTunes and Apple Music
The Breakfast Club
  • No. 1 on the Source's Power 30 of Radio for 5 consecutive years
  • 1.6 million YouTube subscribers
  • Over 100 million views interviewing cultural, political, and religious leaders such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Hillary Clinton, Louis Farrakhan, etc.
Chance the Rapper
  • 1st artist to win a Grammy, without selling music.
  • Petitioned the Recording Academy to include music solely offered through streaming services for Grammy Award consideration, leading to an effective rule change.
  • 1st artist to chart on Billboard 200 with a streaming-only release
  • Donated $1 million dollars to Chicago public schools
  • Partnered with the Chicago Public Library for over 15 Open Mike Night events in effort to provide a creative outlet for Chicago youth.
Claressa Shields
  • WBAN Super Middleweight Champion
  • 1st African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing
  • 1st African-American boxer to win consecutive Olympic medals
Colin Kaepernick
  • Brought social justice to the forefront of sports by sparking league wide protests against racial injustices, and donated $1 million to 24 charitable organizations. His protest spread over into other professional leagues as well as the NCAA.
  • Cited as a catalyst for the drop in national NFL ratings by as much as 14% as a result of the "kneeling controversy".
  • Finalist for Time Magazine's Person of the Year
  • Named Citizen of the Year by GQ Magazine
Combat Jack
  • Founding Partner, Loud Speakers Podcast Network featuring Lip Service, Taxstone Podcast, Combat Jack Show, and more
  • Provided legal representation for producers and entertainers, such as Jay Z, Damon Dash, Roc-a-fella Records, DJ Clark Kent, Nice & Smooth, Capone-N-Noreaga, Deric "D. Dot" Angelettie, Ski Beatz, and others, starting from an internship in legal affairs for Def Jam Recordings
  • Former Vice President of Audio/Music DVD at MTV Networks
  • Former Managing Editor of The Source
Dapper Dan
Fashion Icon
  • Pioneered custom streetwear with high-end monogram prints, sold for high end prices
  • Partnered with Gucci to reopen Dapper Dan boutique in Harlem
  • First Black Fashion Designer to lecture at the MoMA
David Adjaye
  • Lead architect who designed the African American Museum of History and Culture
  • Time Magazine's Most Influential Architect in the World
  • Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • Chairman of REVOLT TV, distributed through AT&T, Direct TV, Fios, Xfinity, and Time Warner Cable in over 50 million homes
  • Rebranded Ciroc, helping push sales from 50,000 cases per year to about 2 million per year
Donald Glover
Multi-Talented Entertainer
  • 1st African-American to win Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
  • Emmy Award winning show, No. 1 Album, and triple platinum single in 2017
  • Listed as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2017
  • Golden Globes winner for Best Actor in a TV Series
Elaine Welteroth
  • Former Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue
  • 2nd Black Editor-in-Chief in Conde Naste history
  • 1st black Beauty Director for Teen Vogue
  • Youngest Editor-in-Chief in Conde Naste history
  • Expanded Teen Vogue's brand presence and grew web traffic by 57%
Floyd Mayweather
  • Multiple title belt holder across 5 weight classes
  • Retired undefeated at 50-0
  • Ranked by ESPN as the greatest boxer, pound for pound, of the last 25 years
  • Topped the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012 and 2013, 2014, and 2015, listing him as the highest paid athlete in the world
  • Generated approximately 23.8 million in PPV buys and $1.67 billion in revenue throughout his career through, Mayweather Promotions
Issa Rae
Producer & Actress
  • First black woman to create and star in a premium cable series, developing content garnering over 23 million views on YouTube
  • Golden Globe Nominee
  • Launched Color Creative
  • Producing two new original series with HBO
  • Newest face of Covergirl Campaign
  • Included in Forbes 30 Under 30 in Entertainment
Jamira Burley
  • Director of Youth Engagement & Skills, Global Business Coalition of America
  • Former National Deputy Millennial Vote Director, Hillary Clinton Campaign
  • Youngest Youth Commission Executive Director in Philadelphia History
  • Guest Host – SiriusXM
  • United Nations Appointment to the Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group
Janet Mock
Author & Activist
  • New York Times bestseller
  • Included in the Trans 100, the first annual list recognizing 100 transgender activists in the United States
  • Listed in Time Magazine's "12 New Faces of Black Leadership"
  • Listed in Fast Company's "Most Creative People in Business"
  • Honored by Planned Parenthood with the Maggie Award for Media Excellence in "Social Media Campaign" for her work in creating a powerful and safe space for trans voices online
  • Turned TIDAL into the first artist-owned streaming platform, partnering with Sprint bringing the platform’s net worth to $600 million
  • Acquired 1.2 million TIDAL subscribers according to Forbes
  • Generated conversation surrounding generational wealth and ownership in the black community through the platinum selling 4:44 album, and nationally trending Rap Radar Podcast interview
Jordan Peele
Comedian, Actor, Director & Producer
  • Directed Get Out, grossing $254 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget.
  • Directorial debut chosen by the National Board of Review, the American Film Institute, and Time magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year
  • Peabody Award winner, American Comedy Award winner, and 5 Emmy nominations for Key & Peele
  • 1st African-American and 3rd filmmaker ever to be nominated for 3 Oscars at once in one year for a directorial debut
Kamala Harris
  • 2nd Black Woman elected to U.S. Senate
  • 1st Black District Attorney, California
  • As San Francisco's District Attorney, Harris instituted the Back on Track program putting first-time offenders ages 18-24 into month long college apprentice programs, dropping the city's rate of repeat offenders by 44%
  • Under Harris' direction, the CA Justice Dept. adopted body cameras and police were made to undergo implicit racial bias training
  • Presented legislation to close gender pay gap and co-sponsored bills to raise the federal minimum wage
Kanye West
Artist, Producer & Fashion Designer
  • Forged Adidas & Yeezy Brand partnership, helping to propel Adidas' popularity while they eclipsed Nike as leader in sneaker market.
  • 1st artist to go platinum solely from streaming.
  • Produced the 1st and only NYFW collection showing/album listening party at Madison Square Garden
  • 2015 Footwear News Shoe of the Year Award Winner and 2017 Beazley Design of the Year nominee.
Kehinde Wiley
  • Commissioned to paint official portraits of Barack Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
  • Named Artist of the Year by the New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers
  • Commissioned by Puma to paint portraits of prominent African soccer players. Patterns from his paintings were incorporated into Puma athletic gear
Kendrick Lamar
  • 7-time Grammy Award winner, including Best Rap Album
  • Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People
  • 2nd to Michael Jackson for the most Grammy nominations in 1 night
  • Listed by Billboard and Rolling Stone as one of the "10 Greatest Rappers of All-Time" and "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time", respectively.
Lavar Ball
  • Widely reported by ESPN, Bleacher Report, and more for potentially disrupting the sneaker industry by launching an independently owned and manufactured sneaker through Big Baller Brand.
  • Announced plans to launch Junior Basketball Association as an alternative to the NCAA for All-American athletes who wish to be paid to play as they prepare for the NBA.
  • Debuted one of Facebook's first original shows with "Ball in the Family"
  • Negotiated son's (LiAngelo and LaMelo) Lithuanian team to leave it's league to participate in the Big Baller Brand Challenge, a five-game scrimmage series in partnership with Facebook to promote Big Baller Brand.
LeBron James
  • Reported as setting a precedent for player contract negotiations by leveraging his value for the max amount of money, while signing for the shortest amount of time.
  • Signed $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike
  • Surpassed Michael Jordan as NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader. A record held by Jordan for 20 years.
  • World's 2nd highest paid athlete
  • Donated $41 million dollars, sending over 1,000 students to college.
Lena Waithe
  • 1st black woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
  • Creator and Writer, The Chi on Showtime
  • Out100's Artist of the Year
  • Directed, wrote, and produced for over 11 shows and films in the last 7 years
Morgan DeBaun
  • Founded 1st media and tech company for Black Millennials
  • Blavity reaches an audience of 20 million a month
  • Through Blavity, leads the largest Black tech conference in Silicon Valley establishing partnerships with Comcast, WeWork, eBay, Bank of America, and more.
  • Listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 in tech
Pharrell Williams
Artist & Producer
  • Recipient of the 2015 CFDA Fashion Icon Award
  • First to collaborate with popular streetwear brand Bathing Ape
  • Part owner of BBC and G-star Raw
  • Partnered with Adidas utilizing his fabric company Bionic Yarn, making garments from plastic debris found in oceans.
  • As Puma Creative Director, credited with boosting global women's sneaker sales by 40%
  • Fenty by Rihanna won 2016 Shoe of the Year Award
  • Debuted Fenty Beauty to $72 million in earned media value in first month to surpass NYX, Benefit, Urban Decay, and Kylie Cosmetics.
  • Set new beauty industry standards by extending range of makeup shades for women of all colors.
  • Harvard Humanitarian of the Year Award Recipient
  • Fenty Beauty named one of Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2017.
Ryan Coogler
  • Warner Brothers' 1st Creative Talent Ambassador
  • Director of Black Panther, Marvel's 1st big-budget film starring a black hero. The movie broke records with $700 million in revenue in first 2 weeks of release
  • Wrote & directed critically acclaimed Rocky spin-off "Creed"
  • Sundance Film Festival, Best First Film and Grand Jury Prize winner for directing "Fruitvale Station"
  • Named to Time Magazine's 30 People Under 30 Changing the World.
Serena Williams
  • Most Grand Slam wins of any tennis player
  • Highest earning American tennis player ever according to Bleacher Report
  • Credited with pushing US interest in tennis to a 12% increase, according to Nielsen Sports
  • Earned more prize money than any woman in the history of sports
  • Credited with pushing 2017 Australian Open to its largest U.S. television audience, increasing viewers by 34% due to her finals appearance
  • Ranked most marketable athlete of 2017 according to Nielsen Sports
Shavone Charles
  • 1st African American woman on Twitter's public relations team
  • Co-founder of Blackbird, Twitter's first-ever employee resource group for African American employees
  • Former Head of Twitter's Global Music & Culture Communications
  • Head of Instagram's Music & Youth Culture Communications
Shonda Rhimes
  • 3rd black woman to be inducted to the TV Hall of Fame
  • Creator of Grey's Anatomy
  • Creator of Scandal
  • Creator of How to Get Away with Murder
  • Generated $2 billion in revenue for ABC
  • Signed exclusive multi-year development deal between Netflix and her production company Shondaland.
Simone Biles
  • 1st African-American to win 4 Olympic Gold Medals in women's gymnastics
  • 1st woman to win 4 Olympic Gold medals in women's gymnastics
  • Most decorated American gymnast with 19 Olympic and World Championship Medals
  • Number 1 album, A Seat at The Table
  • Grammy Winner for Best R&B Performance
  • Ventured into performance art with showings at Guggenheim Museum & Menil Collection in Houston
  • First to person to ever perform within Donald Judd exhibit at the Marfa Museum
Sterling K. Brown
  • 1st African-American actor to win a Golden Globe in the Best Actor in a TV Drama category
  • Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
  • Screen Actors Guild Award Winner for Outstanding Performance by Male Actor in a Drama Series
  • NAACP Award Winner, Outstanding Actor
Swizz Beatz
Artist & Producer
  • Founder, No Commission Art Show
  • Partnered with Bally to curate an illustration-centric collection
  • Supports artists world-wide with showcases, giving back 100% of profits to the artists
Symone Sanders
Political Strategist
  • Youngest Presidential Press Secretary in U.S. History, Bernie Sanders Campaign
  • CNN Political Commentator & Strategist
  • Featured guest on NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, BET, and TV One
  • Former Chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee
  • Former Member, Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Tamika Mallory
  • National Co-Chair and organizer of the Women's March
  • Youngest Executive Director of the National Action Network
  • Helped create the NYC Crisis Management System, awarding $20 million annually to gun violence prevention organizations.
  • Home of 3 Grammy nominated/winning artists
  • Executive Production for the Black Panther movie album
  • Acquired Top 2 spots on Billboard simultaneously with CTRL and DAMN
  • Leading Black owned independent label (with distribution from Interscope and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath) with five number one albums and millions of records sold worldwide
Telfar Clemens
Fashion Designer
  • One of the first designers to launch a unisex line
  • 2017 Council of Fashion Designers Award Winner
  • Innovated fashion show release parties with zip code specific releases at White Castle and giving 100% proceeds to justice fund and RFK Human Rights Liberty
Thelma Golden
  • Director & Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence
  • Listed in Top 25 Most Important Women in the Art World by Artnet
  • Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow
  • Board Member of Creative Time in New York & the Institute of International Visual Arts
Tiffany Haddish
Actress & Comedian
  • 1st black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live
  • 1st Black Woman to Host the MTV Movie & TV Awards
  • Starred in box-office hit Girls Trip, grossing $240 million and chosen by Time Magazine as one of its top 10 films of 2017.
  • New York Times Bestselling author
Tristan Walker
  • Created Bevel razor, the first razor designed for people with coarse hair, specifically popular among black males.
  • Bridged the gap between beauty and tech after securing $24 million in funding for research and product development from Institutional Venture Partners, Andreesen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and Felicis Ventures
  • Secured national distribution deal through Target within 20 months of first sale
  • Established 95% customer loyalty rate across 14 countries
Viola Davis
  • Only black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards
  • Chosen twice in 5 years for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World
  • Only black actor/actress to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting by winning an Academy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award
  • 1st African-American actress and the first woman of color to win the Screen Actors Guild Award five times.
  • Selected to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Virgil Abloh
Fashion Designer
  • Only American Finalist for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers.
  • Launched luxury men's and women's streetwear label Off-White, picked up by chains like Barneys and Colette.
  • Collaborations with Nike, NYC Ballet Fall Gala, Kith, Warby Parker, Levi's, Ikea and Jimmy Choo within one year.
  • Guest lecturer at Harvard, Columbia, and Rhode Island School of Design
  • GQ Australia's International Designer Award Winner
Wesley Lowery
  • Led the Fatal Force Project, the 1st database tracking every fatal police shooting nationwide. This led to the justice department announcing a pilot program to collect a comprehensive set of use-of-force statistics
  • One of the Washington Post’s lead reporters covering Ferguson protests after Mike Brown’s killing
  • Debut book "They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement" won the 2017 Christopher Isherwood prize for autobiographical prose from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
  • Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting winner
Will Packer
  • Wrote, produced, and executive produced over 30 films and television shows including Being Mary Jane, Girls Trip, Straight Outta Compton, Think Like a Man, etc.
  • Produced fastest million-dollar grossing film independently distributed by African American
  • Produced 5 number 1 films, Stomp the Yard, Obsessed, Takers, Think like a Man and Ride Along grossing over $246 million
  • Co-founded production company Rainforest Films, which was #34 on the list of Top 100 Film Distributors by The Hollywood Reporter
  • Listed among the "New Establishment" of Black power brokers in Hollywood