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LeBron, Spike, Michelle Obama & More … Black Folks Still Influencing The World!

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Time Magazine has once again released it’s list of movers and shakers in various fields. The highly coveted “Most Influential People of 2019” title has been bestowed to those named as titans, icons, leaders, pioneers and artist in their respective industries. We won’t give you all 100, but here are a few notable figures we were happy to see listed and a snippet of the inspiring words that other stars wrote about them.


Spike Lee written by Jordan Peele

Spike Lee can’t be described in a single word. I might struggle to do it in 200. He’s a visionary, a trailblazer, a provocateur and a true American original. He’s made more than two dozen films across nearly every genre, and all of them have been completely different. But to me, the common thread across his career may be his impeccable timing—his ability to understand the cultural landscape of the moment and deliver a spot-on message.


Michelle Obama written by Beyoncé

She would’ve been impactful simply by being in the White House, the first African-American First Lady. But she also used her position of power to improve the world around her.
I’m honored to know such a brilliant black woman who’s spoken about the sacrifice it takes to balance her passions while remaining a supportive partner and mother, and now a best-selling author with Becoming …
I am so grateful that my daughters and my son live in a world where Michelle Obama shines as a beacon of hope who inspires all of us to do better and to be better.


LeBron James written by Warren Buffet

Early heroes will mold a person’s future. LeBron has justified the adulation of millions and millions of young people, thanks to his ability to live up to enormous expectations on the basketball court, his business successes in Hollywood and media, and his new I Promise School for disadvantaged kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. That adulation will make a positive difference in their lives. And you know what else is exciting? As great as he has been so far—on and off the court—you’re just seeing the start of LeBron.


Chrissy Teigen written by Chef Eric Ripert

She may be a top model, but all her life, Chrissy Teigen has liked to eat. She’s not shy about that—or anything else, really. She’s very opinionated, and I love her for it. But what I love most about Chrissy is that she’s very much herself. She may be glamorous and an icon in elegance, but she’s extremely approachable and warm. And above all, she’s a very proud mother and a tremendously supportive wife. I admire her so much.


Regina King written by Viola Davis

When we meet now, we meet as sisters who know the road; we’re on the battlegrounds together as women and women of color. We connect as people who see other artists and who really take it upon ourselves to elevate them. Regina enjoys watching other actors fly. And that is rare in a profession that is about deprivation.
I think she’s excited for her growth as an actor but also the other side: being a director, being a leader, having a production company. Because that changes the game: the power of what’s on the page is going to change how people of color and women are seen in the business.


Mahershala Ali written by Octavia Spencer

Mahershala Ali has been captivating audiences for years, so the fact that he’s recently been lauded with the highest honors our industry bestows is not surprising. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him twice: once as an actor, the other as a producer. I didn’t have any scenes with him in Hidden Figures, but I was such a fan that I went to the set to watch him work with Taraji P. Henson. He didn’t disappoint. As an artist, I’d always regarded him as a skillful tactician, but seeing the choices he has employed in real time felt like an acting clinic. His Colonel Jim Johnson had a quiet resolve, a soulful yet bold quality that allowed his humanity and dignity to shine through.


Gayle King written by Ava DuVernay

What most don’t understand about Gayle is that this perfected proximity to others is a superpower that the best journalists possess. To be present, but not centered. To observe. To bear witness. Gayle has long honed this craft. So the fact that this year she is being lauded as one of the all-time great broadcast interviewers is simply the perfect signifier, a few decades overdue. Luckily for us, we’ve finally decided to regard her in relationship to herself. To see her for the truth seeker that she has always been. Our eyes are now open as we bear witness to her, standing right in front of us, gracefully in the center.


Pat McGrath written by Beverly Johnson

Pat McGrath allows us to be seen. Her makeup is not just nice makeup—her bold, beautiful colors make a statement. You usually don’t get that with world-renowned makeup artists. People are afraid of stepping outside the box.
People of color have long been immersed in beauty, from adorning our bodies and our hair in Egyptian times and in African culture to inspiring streetwear trends. But we have never -really been celebrated for our contributions to the fashion industry. And now we have this woman, this creative genius, being celebrated not only for her artistry, but also for her business acumen. It’s something we just haven’t seen before.


Tiger Woods written by Justin Timberlake

Over the past few years, Tiger rehabbed rigorously from all the surgeries, and returned to the top of the game. While pundits doubted he’d ever win again, Tiger’s commitment never wavered. The thing we don’t always appreciate is the patience. Tiger spent countless hours in the gym, and on the golf course, with a singular goal in mind. All the work he did when people weren’t watching allowed him to hug his children on the same hallowed ground he hugged his father 22 years ago, amid all the adulation, a Masters champion once again.

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