40. MARC BYERS

40 something

Who He Is: General Manager, Motown

What He Does: Provide strategy and direction for storied music label

Where He’s From: Philadelphia, PA

Why He Made Our List: Smart and savvy, Byers has amassed influence behind the scenes as a manager, consultant and cultural influencer who’s worked with Raven-Symone, Freeway, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Idris Elba and more. Now in the power seat at Motown along with Motown president Ethiopia Habtemarian, the music business is looking forward to seeing what this talented duo will do to continue the evolution of a label with such a rich history. (Photo: Motown)

39. ANTHONY LYNN

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Who He Is: Head coach, Los Angeles Chargers

What He Does: Coach and strategize for the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL

Where He’s From: McKinney, Texas

Why He Made Our List: Lynn played six seasons as an NFL player, then moved into coaching where he spent 17 years until becoming the Chargers head coach. In his first full year as a head coach, he led veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers and the L.A. Chargers to a 12-4 record and the AFC championship game, where they lost to the New England Patriots, the eventual Super Bowl champions. He is now one of just two African-American head coaches in the league. (Though Patriot’s linebackers coach, Brian Flores, is expected to join the ranks after the Super Bowl to coach the Miami Dolphins). (Photo: Ben Liebenberg Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. 

38. LUCY MCBATH

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Who She Is: Member of Congress

What She Does: Represent the people of Georgia’s 6th congressional district

Where She’s From: Joliet, Illinois

Why She Made Our List: In 2012, McBath’s 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was a passenger in a car at a gas station in Florida that attracted the ire of a man because of the loud music playing from it. After a verbal confrontation, Michael David Dunn shot into the car, killing Davis. He was tried twice and ultimately convicted of Davis’ murder. Afterwards, McBath, who once interned for Virginia’s first Black governor, Douglas Wilder, became an activist hoping to change existing gun laws. The desire to effect change ultimately led the Georgia resident to Congress.

37. DAWN STALEY:

 

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Who She Is: Head Coach, South Carolina Gamecocks, Head Coach, USA National Team

What She Does: Coaches and sets strategy for South Carolina’s women’s basketball team and the U.S. national team that has won 8 out of 10 Olympic gold medals they competed for.

Where She’s From: Philadelphia, PA

Why She Made Our List: The former Virginia standout and WNBA star was only the second African-American woman to win an NCAA title, which she did with the Gamecocks in 2017. Staley is one of the most accomplished female basketball players of all-time and is a pioneer in women’s sports.

36. GOSSIP GIRLS

CYNTHIA HORNER, JAMIE FOSTER BROWN, 72,  and WENDY WILLIAMS, 54

Who They Are: Editor in Chief of Right On!, founder of Sister 2 Sister and host, The Wendy Williams Show

Where They’re From: Los Angeles, Chicago, IL, Ocean Township, New Jersey respectively

What They Do: Media mavens who changed the world of celebrity gossip

Why They Made Our List: Celebrity coverage and gossip was dominated by whites for the most part. As Right On!’s longtime editor-in-chief, Cynthia Horner provided coverage of Black artists from the beginning of their careers, including those who would become mainstream superstars like Michael Jackson and Prince.

Jamie Foster Brown’s Sister to Sister magazine pre-dated social media and Black celebrity blogs by providing coverage on African-American celebrities once not considered important enough to for mainstream coverage. By doing so, she set the stage for folks like Perez Hilton and TMZ. Radio personality turned TV host Wendy Williams ruled the NYC airwaves with gossip about hip-hop stars and more, before moving to TV.

All three contributed to helping Black artists become superstars and move beyond being limited to just Black household names.Their coverage helped generate interest in them that would lead to crossover acceptance and more visibility and opportunity.

35. BRODERICK JOHNSON

50 something

Who He Is: Film Producer

Where He’s From: Athens, GA

Why He Made Our List: Johnson is the African-American film producer you never heard of, despite being behind 30 movies, at last count. He and his partner, Andrew Kosove and their company Alcon Entertainment produce movies in the below $60 million range. They experienced their greatest success with The Blind Side in 2009. Since they financed it themselves, they also profited handsomely, making an estimated $200 million from that movie alone. (Photo: Gage Skidmore) Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

34. LISA BORDERS

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Who She Is: President and CEO, Times Up

What She Does: She oversees the Times Up Organization

Where She’s From: Atlanta, GA

Why She Made Our List: Borders has been the president of Atlanta’s City Council, an executive at Coca-Cola and the president of the WNBA. As the President/CEO of Times Up, she’s charged with making sure that the workplace is equitable for women and that sexual harassment becomes obsolete. She has at her disposal the $22 million Times Up Legal Defense Fund, which has already awarded $750K to 18 non-profit organizations working to combat sexual misconduct.

33. TAMRON HALL

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Who She Is: TV news and entertainment personality

What She Does: Will be the host of her own daytime show in fall 2019

Where She’s From: Luling, Texas

Why She Made Our List: After leaving her longtime home at NBC once Megyn Kelly signed a huge contract to basically take over Hall’s prime morning spot, Hall signed with Harvey Weinstein to create a talk show. Once his career imploded, Hall then signed to Hulu for a streaming show and now has a deal with ABC for a daytime talk show coming this fall. (Photo: PR Photos)

32. LORRIE BARTLETT

(Age, hometown unavailable)

Who She Is: co-head of Talent, partner and board member, ICM Partners

What She Does: Directs the careers of actors like Regina King, Michael Keaton, Laverne Cox, Laura Harrier and more.

Why She Made Our List: She is the top-ranking Black female talent agent in Hollywood and the first to African-American to lead a talent agency. Recently, she was also appointed to the ICM board, making her the only African-American on the board of a Hollywood talent agency. (Photo: ICM)

31.  STACEY ABRAMS 

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(AP Photo/John Amis)

Who She Is: Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate who lost the race to Republican Brian Kemp amid allegations of voter suppression on Kemp’s part.

What She Does: She’s a former Congresswoman who became a national figure during a hotly contested Georgia governor’s race.

Where She’s From: Gulfport, Mississippi

Why She Made Our List: Abrams is a star on the rise in the Democratic Party who was chosen to provide the Democratic rebuttal of the upcoming State of the Union address and is being courted to run for a Georgia Senate seat in 2020.

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