In 2019, Gatheru, the daughter of Kenyan immigrants, made national news as the first Black person to receive the Rhodes, Truman and Udall scholarships. She is the founder and executive director of Black Girl Environmentalist, a national organization dedicated to addressing the pathway and retention issue for Black girls and women in the climate sector. With 800+ members and a digital community of over 40,000, BGE is one of the largest Black youth-led organizations in the country
According to the American Bar Association, just 8% of law students are Black and 13% are Hispanic. Sydney Montgomery would like to help those numbers grow with Barrier Breakers, a nonprofit she founded that says it has helped more than 7,000 students with the college and law school admissions process. The daughter of a Jamaican immigrant, Montgomery also founded Outline It, writing software for students with learning differences, and co-founded College Equity First, a nonprofit that measures the campus climate for Black students at more than 100 colleges
Sesana Allen is an investor at Smash Capital, a late-stage venture firm backed by former Disney executives and investors from Insight Partners. She sourced the firm’s investment in Fizz, a social gaming platform, and has invested in other notable startups. Allen is a cofounder of the Anti-Racism Fund, a non-profit that’s raised more than $1 million to support initiatives that combat racism and promote equality. She also launched RaiseFashion, an internship program that has placed more than 100 HBCU students in paid internships in fashion and technology.
Camari Mick is the executive pastry chef at both The Musket Room, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, and Raf’s, a nearby French and Italian bakery and restaurant from the same ownership (of which she is also a partner). In 2022, she became a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. This year, she became a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef for the second consecutive year. Mick, who Michelin refers to as “NYC’s Dessert Doyenne,” proudly incorporates her Jamaican heritage into her dishes. Prior to The Musket Room, Mick honed her pastry experience in some of New York’s finest kitchens, including Thomas Keller’s TAK Room, Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin and Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne.
Tia Adeola is the CEO of her eponymous fashion brand, Tia Adela. The Nigerian-born, London-raised designer started the first iteration of her line in 2016 in her dorm room at The New School. Her designs have grabbed the attention of Gigi Hadid and SZA, and she has showed at New York Fashion Week for several seasons. Adeola’s first fashion film, ‘Black Is Beautiful’, was nominated in five categories at the 2021 International Fashion Film Awards.
Working in the art world exposed Adefolakunmi Adenugba to the need for an art advisory focused on cultural stewardship of Black contemporary art. In 2018, she launched ISE-DA to cultivate a generation of Black art collectors, and since its founding, ISE-DA has worked with collectors and gallerists globally for advisory support. ISE-DA was selected as a cultural partner for Carnegie Hall’s city-wide Afrofuturism festival in 2022, and Adenugba herself has been a panelist in Miami Art Week and has been featured on PBS to explore the definition and activism of Afrofuturism.
Akea Brionne is an artist who has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the California African American Museum. Her art analyzes the impact of colonialism on cultural storytelling, memory, assimilation, and upward economic mobility, and her work is in the collections of the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Wellin Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She was the youngest artist commissioned in the group show, ‘A Movement in Every Direction’, which was named by the New York Times as one of the best shows of 2022.
Kreshonna Keane’s photography gained recognition at the start of the pandemic when she photographed more than 100 people worldwide via FaceTime on iPhone, going viral on Twitter. She has since worked with clients including Cosmopolitan and Converse. Her first short film ‘I Look Good As Hell On Me’, gained the support of Converse, and was featured on HypeBae.
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray
Ambrose Rhapsody Murray is a self-taught artist with roots in Florida and Asheville, North Carolina. Their work now lives in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, and they have exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States, including N’Namdi Contemporary in Miami, Strada in New York, Jeffrey Deitch in Los Angeles, and Fridman Gallery in New York. Their work has also been shown across the globe, from Berlin, to Mexico City, to London.
A visual artist born in Virginia, LaRissa Rogers has exhibited, had residencies, and performed all over the world, including Documenta 15 in Germany, Fields Projects in New York, Super Dakota in Belgium, M+ B Gallery in California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia. As an Afro-Asian woman, Rogers’ work looks at the intersections of culture and identity. She is the cofounder of the alternative monument and community gathering space ‘Operations of Care’ in Virginia and will be installing a public sculpture with the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston in 2024.
Based in New York City, Courtney Spears is a professional dancer, educator, and cofounder of ArtSea Dance, which brings dance entertainment and education to the Caribbean. While dancing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she completed Harvard Business School’s ‘Crossover Into Business’ program and was a leading character for The Black Iris Project’s ‘A Mother’s Rite,’ which was nominated for a New York Emmy. She has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, Allure, and Vanity Fair and is signed with Wilhelmina Models.
Faith Betty and Nia Faith Betty
Sisters Justice Faith Betty and Nia Faith Betty, founded Révolutionnaire, a dancewear line for dancers of color. Their Roots collaborations sold out of stores across Canada, the U.S., and Taiwan, and their collaboration with L’Oréal’s Essie line was distributed in 1,200 storefronts.
Kathia St. Hilare
Influenced by growing up in Caribbean and African American neighborhoods in South Florida, Kathia St. Hilaire is a painter and printmaker. Her work draws inspiration from her strong connection to the Haitian community, and she incorporates materials that are significant to her culture. St. Hilaire has exhibited her art across the country and has two solo shows coming up: One at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky and Perrotin in New York City.
Kendra Walker founded Atlanta Art Week in 2022. Her inaugural effort to unify Atlanta’s art scene brought in 2,000 ticket holders and including participants such as the High Museum, Atlanta Contemporary, and the corporate art collections of the Coca-Cola Company and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As an Atlanta-based art advisor and writer, she focuses on promoting inclusivity and diversity within the art world.
Jasmin Savoy Brown
Jasmin Savoy Brown is best known for her roles in buzzy shows “The Leftovers” and “Yellowjackets.” She also starred as Mindy Meeks-Martin in “Scream and “Scream VI,” the horror franchise’s first openly-queer character. Brown is dedicated to LGBTQ+ storytelling: For Netflix’s platform Most, she created and hosts the podcast “The Homo Schedule;” she also produced the docuseries “Queer for Fear: The History of Queer Horror.”
Alyah Chanelle Scott
A classically trained actor and singer, Alyah Chanelle Scott cut her teeth in the theater before landing a starring role in Mindy Kaling’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” She’s also launched the production company, Runyonland, which won a Tony Award for the Best Revival Of A Musical with “Parade.” Recently, Scott made her directorial debut by helming her TSLOCG co-star, Reneé Rapp’s music video, “Snow Angel.”
After seeing how many warning labels and chemicals were listed on the products at her local beauty store in West Philadelphia, Kadidja Dosso decided to start her own organic beauty company. She now sells hypoallergenic hair extensions and other haircare products for Black women who have sensitive skin. Her products are sold at salons, as well as online at GoPuff, Macy’s and Amazon. She projects revenue will more than double to $1 million this year.
The daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, Philomina Kane created satin-lined hoodies that didn’t leave her hair frizzy and dry. Her company, KIN Apparel, has since expanded to satin-lined hats, hooded dresses and even headrest covers. Sales are expected to hit $3 million in 2023. Kane, who won a deal from SKIMS exec Emma Grede during a Shark Tank appearance, has raised close to $1 million in funding.
Former fashion journalist Amira Rasool started The Folklore to make it easier for shoppers to buy from black-owned and other diverse brands. Her wholesale platform is now used by Nordstrom, Crate & Barrel, Bloomingdale’s and over a dozen other retailers to source minority-owned brands. It has raised $3 million in funding from investors, including Black Tech Ventures Funding and Techstars Seattle. It charges brands a monthly fee to be listed on the platform, plus takes a cut on orders that it facilitates.
Napheesa Collier, who took most of the 2022 WNBA season off after welcoming her first child, returned to the court in 2023 and got right back to dominating, finishing fourth in scoring and seventh in rebounding. Working with fellow WNBA star Breanna Stewart, she is also launching a new league called Unrivaled to play during the WNBA offseason, and she will serve as an advisor for Overtime Select, a new league for high schoolers.
Stasia Foster is a sports marketer working in the sports consulting division at CAA, providing strategic advice to brand clients including Bose, New Balance and JPMorgan Chase on sports league and property sponsorships, talent partnerships and experiential marketing strategies. She was also one of the first CAA sports consulting representatives to participate in, and later graduate from, CAA Elevate, the firm’s agent training program.
Angel Reese led LSU to its first-ever women’s basketball national championship in 2023, earning the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award to go with first-team all-American honors. She has also become one of the most marketable stars of the NCAA’s new NIL era, appearing in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and partnering with brands including Coach, Reebok and PepsiCo’s Starry
Sha’Carri Richardson missed the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 after a failed drug test drew her a one-month suspension; she was later lauded for speaking openly about how she used cannabis to cope with Olympic qualifying and the death of her biological mother. After a disappointing 2022 season, she took gold in the 100 meters at the 2023 world championships with the fifth-fastest time ever. She also won bronze in the 200.
Although the U.S. failed to accomplish its goal at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Sophia Smith was the breakout star for a team in transition, posting two goals and an assist. She has been even more dominant at the club level: The NWSL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020, she led the Portland Thorns to the NWSL title in 2022 and earned league and championship MVP honors.
Alliyah Logan is a youth advocate whose work focuses on education equity and international gender equality. She founded Cultivate Global Education with UK-based Bethel Rebecca Kyeza to remove international educational barriers. Logan has spoken at The United Nations Foundation Transforming Education Summit and at UNICEF workshops and conferences, where she educates young people on their rights for education in addition to officials and humanitarian leaders in over 15 countries. As one of 12 people selected to be a part of UNICEF’s Global Girls Advisory Group Logan advocates for investment in education, with the backing of Cultivate Global Education.
Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith
Ebony Welborn (right) and Savannah Smith share a love for the ocean, and through their impact-driven company Sea Potential, they’re hoping to increase access to high-paying, stable jobs within the maritime sector for ethnically diverse individuals. With more than $600,000 in funding, the company has developed a curriculum for high schoolers around BIPOC perspectives rooted in experiential learning through day camps, overnight trips and community gatherings, and works closely with schools like Maritime High School. They also host workshops and provide advisory and implementation services for maritime businesses regarding diversity in the workplace.
Chinonye Vanessa Mbonu
One of the youngest on the NAACP’s senior leadership team, Chinonye Vanessa Mbonu has played a significant role in the organization’s digital strategy by engaging younger populations to participate in social justice and equity efforts. Her campaigns have raised more than $15 million for the association through individual donations. Her creative strategy has grown the NAACP’s email marketing list by 30% and its social media platforms by 3,000% in three years. She also co-produced “UNPCKD,” a co-branded series with The Webby Awards that explored the most pressing issues facing communities of color online.
In four years, first-generation Caribbean-American Shauna James went from a temporary assistant to digital marketing senior manager of Black music at Atlantic Records. When she is not developing and implementing creative marketing strategies, such as rebranding Gucci Mane’s music label 1017 Records, she is empowering and guiding young Black women who lack mentorship in the entertainment industry.
Born in Italy to Ghanaian parents, Bridget Kyeremateng has focused her career on amplifying diverse voices and creators through marketing campaigns, including for Tumblr, Spotify and Twitch. At Tumblr, she secured collaborations with Jameela Jamil, Derrick Adams, Lauren Jauregui, MTV and Planned Parenthood. At Twitch, Kyeremateng has provided more than 700 diverse creators with discoverability opportunities on and off the platform. She also cofounded Brooklyn-based collective Applauding Power, which supports BIPOC women in networking both professionally and socially.
Simone Jackson leads global marketing initiatives and brand campaigns for Spotify including this year’s Spotify Wrapped and a partnership with Roblox, which included the launch of a new music portal on Spotify Island called Planet Hip-Hop that celebrated hip-hop and increased traffic by more than 10 million visits. Jackson also spends her time as a mentor at 4A and Spotify’s PULSE Fellowship Program, a 1-year creative development program for Black professionals.
Amala Okpala led Meta’s first BIPOC brand audit with the goal of assessing the amount of multicultural brands the company manages. Her role is focused on providing economic opportunities for companies with diverse owners: She manages more than 65 BIPOC-owned brands including Telfar, Topicals and Tower28, consulting them on how to build their social content strategy, grow audiences and increase revenue through commerce solutions like Shops Ads and Instagram Checkout. Okpala has sourced over 500 diverse-owned businesses and has driven her clients’ revenue on Instagram by 300% year-over-year.
Saadia Gabriel founded and runs the MARS Lab, which aims to counter spread of false or toxic language online by empowering everyday users with tools to improve safety. She collaborated with researchers at Microsoft to develop (De)Toxigen, a software product that uses generative AI to better detect hate speech to assist content moderators.
Clare Luckey is the co-lead of the Crew Transit Operations within the Mars Architecture Team, which is working on what the first crewed mission to Mars will look like. In addition to her work on Mars missions, she regularly does outreach in underserved communities to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM and space.
Nialah Wilson Small
Nialah Wilson-Small creates coordination algorithms for human-drone interactions using touch. Touch has the potential to expand robots’ use as assistive devices, and her research looks to apply it in situations like crowd control, search and rescue, emergency evacuation situations, independent exercise or therapy, and workplace human-drone collaboration.
Devon Blackwell is a filmmaker, director and producer at The New Yorker. “Nina & Irena,” a documentary in which she worked as the lead producer, qualified for the 96th Academy Awards. And her work as a lead producer on “You’ll be Happier” resulted in nearly 8 million views across the brand’s social media platforms, becoming the publication’s highest-performing video. In 2023, “Goodbye, Morganza,” her directorial debut which she also edited, received a Special Jury Mention in the Short Documentary category at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Dominic-Madori Davis is a senior reporter covering the intersection of venture capital, race and culture at TechCrunch. Her coverage includes stories on underrepresented founders raising capital and investigations on politicians’ impact on diverse funds. Since joining TechCrunch in 2022, she’s amassed more than one million readers and, in the past year, has generated more than five million impressions across LinkedIn and Twitter with her work. She is the co-host ofTechCrunch’s podcast “FOUND,” where she interviews entrepreneurs. Her motivation is to provide transparency in how money and power move within venture capital.
Hunter Harris is the author of Hung Up, her twice-a-week newsletter shared exclusively through Substack that counts more than 75,000 subscribers. The newsletter covers everything in pop-culture from public figures to film and TV. Hailing from “Refinery29” and New York Magazine’s “Vulture,” where Harris worked as a staff writer, she launched Hung Up in 2020 and within the first day had 8000 signups, followed by 30,000 in the first year. Aside from Hung Up, Harris has written for shows like Ziwe’s eponymous Showtime talk show and HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot, along with various news publications.
Ishmael is an associate editor at “Teen Vogue,” where she covers the culture of fashion and how it affects marginalized communities. She’s best known for her column, “CTRL+C,” which analyzes the dearth of size-inclusivity within the retail industry. The series has garnered attention from celebrities like Bella Hadid and Zendaya, and has resulted in features on CBS and NPR. Since joining “Teen Vogue” in 2021, she’s published more than 150 stories and has grown her social media following to more than 40,000 across Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
Paula Ngon is a senior global communications manager at Condé Nast, which she joined in June 2023 to lead the Vanity Fair and GQ outlets. Prior to joining Condé Nast, she led more than two dozen campaigns for renowned brands such as “Entertainment Weekly,” “InStyle,” Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown. In 2018, while working as a senior publicist at “People” Magazine, Ngon cofounded Blackprint, a venture within Dotdash Meredith. Blackprint has partnered with names like John Legend and Michael Jordan for more than 30 events and mentorship programs to empower Black people in media and entertainment. The not-for-profit saw a 760% increase in revenue last year from collaborations with brands like Target and Unilever.
Before Latto brought the “Big Energy” to her 31 million monthly Spotify listeners, she was DIY’ing tours in her hometown of Atlanta. Starting at age 10, Latto performed in local talent shows and open mics, posted flyers on stop signs and handed out mixtapes of her best raps in Walmart parking lots. Her 2019 breakout hit, “B*tch from da Souf,” was the lead single on her EP “Big Latto” and landed her a deal with RCA Records. For the self-managed rapper, control means maximizing gains–she says she charges an average of $300,000 for an appearance. Between those appearances, revenue from music royalties, brand deals with the likes of Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, a tour with Lizzo and a quick acting stint on the TV sitcom Grown-ish, Latto claims she’s on track to earn $12 million in 2023 (up from $3 million last year). Her cardinal rule is to earn a profit of at least 50% with every venture. “My mind is working around the clock when it comes to me as a product because at the end of the day, we are products as artists,” she says. With two Grammy nominations–including one for Best New Artist in 2023–and performances at festivals including Coachella, Latto cryptically tells Forbes that she’s launching a business venture in 2024. “Music doesn’t last forever,” she says.
Atlanta Soundcloud rapper Bktherula broke through in 2019 with the viral hit “Tweakin’ Together,” from her 2020 self-released debut mixtape “Love Santana.” A prolific songwriter, she has since released three albums with Warner Records, including collaborations with Lil Uzi Vert, Cash Cobain, and NBA Youngboy. Her latest album, “LVL5 P1,” earned her the second spot on Rolling Stone’s “50 Innovators Shaping Rap’s Next 50 Years” in 2023. She has also performed at Rolling Loud California and HARD Summer Music Festival, as well as her own tour in 2023. She boasts more than 780,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Cutting through the crowded room of hip-hop radio and TikTok trends with a uniquely soft-spoken tenor and biting flow, NYC’s Ice Spice exploded seemingly overnight into a cross-genre superstar. Her summer 2022 breakout hit “Munch (Feelin U)”–the first of many–was praised by critics for its brash drill beats, quick lyricism and the rapper’s signature unbothered delivery. Her striking red hair and street look also made her a quick fashion icon, landing her modeling gigs with Marc Jacobs, Adidas, and more. Her debut EP “Like” hit No. 15 on the Billboard 200, while her collaboration with PinkPantheress, “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2,” became a chart hit in nine countries with over 700 million streams on Spotify. Ice Spice is a 2024 Grammy nominee for Best New Artist.
Frustrated with the lack of Black history education in her middle school and high school curriculums, Taylor Cassidy decided to create her own web series in 2020: “Fast Black History,” when Cassidy, who started the project at 17 years old, taught her audience about Black historical figures in one minute or less. She received a special honor at the 2020 Streamy Awards for her other show focusing on Black creatives, “Black Girl Magic Minute.” Cassidy is also a radio host for Sirius XM’s TikTok radio and a correspondent for Nickelodeon’s Nick News. Earlier this year, she became the first youth speaker at the UN’s day of remembrance for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, speaking about the power of education.
Drea Okeke is a Nigerian-American creator who posts about Nigerian culture, including the country’s slang and food. She stars on Fuse’s “We Need To Talk About America, ,” where comedians and other commentators poke fun at social media and pop culture trends. Okeke also teachers her own online class for TikTok creators on how to grow their audience and understand the app’s algorithm. Last year, she was a red carpet host for the BET Awards. In 2021, she was named on of The Cut’s Best TikTokers to Follow.
As a senior partner manager at Spotify, Chanel Robinson oversees the music giant’s Lifestyle and Wellness Creator Podcast Partnerships team – – working with partners such as Calm, The Rich Roll Podcast, The Really Good Podcast (Bobbi Althoff), Lovers and Friends with Shan Boodram, and Date Yourself Instead. Through past roles at Meta and FaZe Clan, and now at Spotify, Robinson says she has helped hundreds of creators of all sizes and at all points in their careers grow their audiences and maximize their revenue. That includes everyone from emerging talent who’d just become eligible for monetization to megastars like Zac Efron.
A vice president at HarbourView Equity Partners, an investment firm focused on the media and entertainment industry, Butler has helped source over 400 media opportunities resulting in more than 40 acquisitions within two years. Butler holds a board position for NFT marketplace Mueshi. She is also a member of the Young Leaders Circle of the Milken Institute think tank. Butler began her career at Goldman Sachs where she worked for four years. In 2020, when CEO David Solomon announced the bank would not take any companies public without at least one diverse board member, Butler worked with the bank’s head of corporate board engagement to install over 50 diverse directors to corporate boards.
As a private equity investment strategist for Churchill Asset Management, Onifade’s role involves capital raising, strategy and engagement with limited partners. She recently moved from parent company Nuveen Asset Management where, as a managing director, she helped close a $1 billion fundraise for the firm’s private equity business. At 16 years old, Onifade immigrated from Nigeria to the United States to attend the University of Georgia. From there she networked her way to a summer analyst position on Citi’s debt capital markets desk. After graduation, she joined Goldman Sachs as an analyst where she stayed for three years before moving to KKR. In 2021, she joined Nuveen as a vice president of alternative investments.