We raise our fists to this list of individuals who spent the majority of their careers blazing trails in their respective fields. But more than that, the below artists use their platforms to speak out anytime the lives or value of Black people are threatened.
With genuine talent and the ability to put truth to action, we slow clap every time they walk away from the mic. Bold, clear and unapologetic, the talent listed below are champions in upholding the legacy of Black excellence.
With daily news of the constant chaos in our current administration––especially during Black History Month––Black youth can feel empowered that these seven will continue to rage against the machine on behalf of us all.
She does it for the culture. The singer, who refuses to be pigeonholed as Beyoncé’s little sister, has always moved to her own rhythm. Her 2015 album A Seat At The Table gave new life to a storied history of music concerned with the liberation of Black people everywhere.
The enigmatic actor, educator and activist continues to fight against White supremacy with every breath he takes. From his tweets to the BET speech that we will never forget, Williams reminds us we all have a duty to stay active participants if we want to change the course of history.
Glover forged a new lane for himself with the FX hit Atlanta. The show gave breath to the experiences of Black millennials and further shed light on the prolific importance the city has on culture. From his memorable Migos shout-out at the 2017 Golden Globes, to his eccentric taste in music and comedy narratives, Glover shows us it’s OK to bask in #BlackBoyJoy.
The political strategist always keeps it funky, whether she’s battling a pro-Trump agenda on TV or speaking against a supporter of excessive use of force. Rye is the shining light in the ever-increasing Trump obsessed news cycle who consistently reminds us of the facts. And be assured if you ever forget, she has no problem setting you straight.
The prolific hip-hop group––consisting of members Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip and Phife Dawg––recently closed the chapter on their 30-year music career with the release of 2015’s We Got It From Here: Thank You For Your Service. Their hit album, the first and last since the death of their fallen brother Phife, strengthened us in the continued fight towards deliverance.
The media maven and show runner of HBO’s Insecure managed to give the “round the way girl” trope a new face and image through her self-named character on the show. She’s Black, beautiful and educated. But most importantly she’s flawed––signifying the importance that although Black women are strong, we also have moments of doubt. Rae works increasingly hard to bring our humanity to the big screen.
Though they are two individuals, they come as a package deal on their weekly podcast “The Read.” The two use their effective voices with wit and snark to snatch everyone from the Kardashians to Taylor Swift. A dedicated segment of their show, titled “Black Excellence,” highlights a lesser known individual who has achieved great heights in the face of adversity.