To kick off the series, we’re honoring seven black men and women in the media and activism world who are using their voices to enact change. We hope you admire their work and join us as we celebrate their accomplishments:
1 Joy-Ann Reid | MSNBC Correspondent
Joy-Ann Reid is not only one of the most important woman working in cable news today, she’s a voice of reason in a political landscape that seems to be getting more absurd by the day.
Reid, formerly an editor at The Grio, is perhaps best known as a national correspondent for MSNBC and host of the news talkshow “AM Joy.” Throughout her career, Reid has consistently matched solid journalism with a fiery passion for truth and justice.
2 Van Jones | CNN Commentator
Political activist and commentator Van Jones has established himself as a vibrant, important voice in American political discourse. It was Jones who, in the wake of the recent election, poignantly spoke of the “whitelash against a changing country” that resulted in the current administration.
A former Obama aide forced to resign amidst controversy in 2009, Jones has since then rebuilt his reputation through his work as a speaker, activist, commentator and host of “The Messy Truth” on CNN. In addition to serving on several activist charity boards, he’s currently the president of The Dream Corps, an organization “designed to uplift and empower the most vulnerable in our society” through advocacy projects such as #YesWeCode and Green For All.
3 Tamika Mallory | Civil Rights Activist and Organizer
You may recognize Tamika Mallory’s name from the diverse list of organizers for the Women’s March on Washington, but Mallory has been a longtime activist and organizer fighting for equality and human rights.
4 Dante Barry | Executive Director of ‘Million Hoodies’
Dante Barry is a grassroots organizer and founder of the Million Hoodies Movement For Justice, an organization created in response to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Through digital campaigning and the development of a new generation of civil rights leaders, the goal of the network is to end mass criminalization and gun violence.
5 Elaine Welteroth | Editor of Teen Vogue
In 2016, “Teen Vogue” editor Elaine Welteroth became the youngest person to be named editor-in-chief in Conde Nast history, as well as the first African-American ever to hold her position.
Under the 29-year-old’s leadership, “Teen Vogue” has shifted focus to social justice issues, emphasizing in-depth, rigorously reported features and proving that young women have a wider array of interests and passions than we give them credit for.
6 Yaa Gyasi | Novelist
At just 26, Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel Homegoing quickly became one of the most lauded and most-read bestsellers of 2016. Homegoing is the story of the very different lives of two half-sisters in the 18th century — one in colonized West Africa, and the other a slave in the American South. The Ghanaian-American novelist won a National Book Critics Circle‘s John Leonard Award for best first book.
7 Damon Young | Editor of Very Smart Brothas
Damon Young is a prolific young writer, best known as the founder and editor-in-chief of the commentary website Very Smart Brothas. Young’s brand of witty, sharp, and strikingly poignant commentary on politics and pop culture has made VSB a go-to source for young black millennials. Young is currently working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco/HarperCollins.