The New Black History: Notable People Worth Adding to the Books
Be it media, entertainment or technology these folks need to be added to the history books
Black History Month is what it is. Black History. But, it seems like the same history gets told every year. Students are learning about men and women who lived hundreds of years ago. Black America changed a lot over the years.
Granted, after President Obama took over the White House, there weren't many black “firsts” left to claim. But still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people worthy of being added to the black history lesson plans.
Loop 21 put together a short list of people we think deserve to be mentioned among the already greats in black American history.
[Also Read: Bad Moments In Black History]
Sean “Diddy” Combs
Like, love or loathe him, Sean Combs has been a button pusher on black culture for the last 20 years. He changed the sound and face of R&B as the genius behind Jodeci and Mary J. Blige. He’s blamed for the entire “shiny suit era” era of hip-hop and he’s managed to make Ciroc just as popular as Hennessy and Crown Royal among black folks.
If you can get past him wearing a dress in his movies or listening to bougie critics, you’d be applauding this man. While we’ve had our share of black directors who had great runs at the box office, none have done it on the level of Tyler Perry. As of last year, Forbes named him the Highest Paid Man in Entertainment. Now that’s history.
Jay-Z & Beyoncé
While they may be hip-hop's biggest power couple their individual accolades speak for themselves. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving thirteen Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all-time. Jay-Z co-owns the 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records, and the founder of Roc Nation.
Mrs. Carter was named "Artist of the Decade" by The Observer. In December 2009, Billboard magazine ranked Knowles the fourth "Artist of the 2000s" decade and named her the "Most Successful Female Artist of the 2000s," as well as the "Top Radio Artist." Knowles was also ranked 15th on Billboard magazine's list of "The Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" (1985–2010). In February 2010, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), listed Knowles as the "Top Certified Artist of the Decade," with a total of 64 certifications, including albums, digital songs, master ringtones and music videos.
Politics & Business
While Andrew Young and Carl Stokes usually take up most of the mayor discussions during Black History Month, guys like Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker will be talked about sooner or later. While most mayors do little more than spam our email, Booker is actually engaged in the digital world, communicating with his constituents via twitter and other social media platforms. He also was able to get Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to donate $100 million to the city’s school system.
Johnson runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that has a net worth of $700 million; its subsidiaries include Magic Johnson Productions, a promotional company; Magic Johnson Theaters, a nationwide chain of movie theaters; and Magic Johnson Entertainment, a movie studio. Johnson has also worked as a motivational speaker. Johnson was an NBA commentator for Turner Network Television for seven years, before becoming a studio analyst for ESPN's NBA Countdown in 2008. In 1994, Johnson became a minority owner of the Lakers, having reportedly paid more than $10 million for part ownership. He also held the title of team vice president. Johnson sold his ownership stake in the Lakers in October 2010.
Technology & Media
Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She now is the first black woman to own a national cable network, aptly titled OWN.
Unfortunately, too many people think that the only contributions black people have made to this technology revolution we’re living in are hood videos. But techie Angela Benton is out to change that. As founder of Black Web 2.0 she is setting examples that blacks can be creators, not just consumers.
An advocate for green space, Carter is the founder of the Majora Carter Group, a private, for-profit "green" economic consulting firm. She also founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx). Her first major project was writing a $1.25M Federal Transportation planning grant for the South Bronx Greenway with 11 miles of alternative transport, local economic development, low-impact storm-water management, and recreational space. This led to the first new South Bronx water front park in over 60 years.
Share your thoughts. Who would you like to see celebrated in future Black History months?