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Spotlighting the Future of Us...

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Shelia Johnson


Sheila Crump Johnson (born January 25, 1949) is an American businesswoman, co-founder of BET, CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, and the first billionaire African-American woman.[1]

Johnson is team president, managing partner, and governor of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, a position she earned before the 2005 season. On May 24, 2005, Washington Sports and Entertainment Chairman, Abe Pollin, sold the Mystics to Lincoln Holdings LLC, where Johnson served as president. She is the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: the Washington Capitals (NHL), the Washington Wizards (NBA), and the Washington Mystics (WNBA). Johnson is CEO of Salamander Hospitality, a company she founded in 2005. Salamander's portfolio includes: Reunion Resort located in Reunion, Florida; The Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, a 900-acre (3.6 km2), 72 hole PGA tour golf course in Palm Harbor, FL; Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina; Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Aurora Anguilla in British West Indies; and The Salamander Resort & Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Middleburg, Virginia.[2]


Sharon Bown


She was nominated in 2013 by President Obama to serve on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the first African American commissioner to ever sit on the CFTC. Then, on Dec. 6, 2021, Bowen was announced as the next chair of the New York Stock Exchange, one of the world’s most modern yet enduring symbols of capitalism. She would be the first woman or person of color to hold that position in the exchange’s 229-year history. Bowen recalls that day well.

Both Bowen and the NYSE have come a long way. For Bowen, the story began in Chesapeake, Virginia, where she was born in the summer of 1956 as the youngest of five children. Her father was an electrician at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Sheila Bowen Taylor, a sister, was the first Black woman to serve as a nuclear engineer there, working on submarines and aircraft carriers. Bowen also had a brother who worked on carriers at Norfolk.

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Maxwell Frost


Representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District, the 25-year-old is the youngest legislative body member, taking on his colleagues, who are more than twice his age on average. However, his first battle will be finding a place to live. ABC News reported that while Frost makes $174,000 a year as a member of Congress, he is struggling to find an apartment due to bad credit.

Frost stepped on the scene during the Florida midterm elections, looking to fill the seat of Rep. Val Demings and outrun his Republican opponent, Calvin Wimbish, almost 50 years his senior. He campaigned heavily on his Gen Z identity, arguing that a younger perspective would add value on Capitol Hill.


The Queen Strings


Praised for its authentic, soulful, and orchestral sound,  The String Queens (TSQ) is a dynamic trio that creates stimulating musical experiences that inspire diverse audiences to love, hope, feel, and imagine! With an array of repertoire spanning from the Baroque era to the Jazz Age to today’s Billboard Hot 100 Chart, TSQ performs versatile programs that take listeners on a rousing musical journey through time and a multitude of musical genres.

Based in Washington, D.C., TSQ has been featured in performances at renowned concert halls and venues across America, including Carnegie Hall in New York City and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the nation’s capital. Notable appearances include a special performance dedicated to Vice President Kamala Harris at the “We Are One” Presidential Inauguration Concert in January 2021 and rendering a spotlight presentation of TSQ’s electrifying arrangement of Harry Styles’s hit song “Golden” for the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament “The Championships, Wimbledon” in June 2021. As an ensemble who frequents the D.C. jazz scene, other headlining performances include multiple appearances at the DC Jazz Festival and the Capital Jazz Fest.

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Black Violin


Black Violin is composed of both classically trained violist Wil Baptiste, and violinist Kev Marcus. The duo, from South Florida, began playing together in their high school orchestra class. After attending separate colleges Kev and Wil reunited and decided to combine their classical training and love for hip-hop music; establishing a distinguished, genre-bending sound that has often been described as “classical boom”. Black Violin are advocates for educational outreach and were announced as Turnaround Artists for Mary B. Bethune Elementary School in their hometown of Broward County, FL. Turnaround Arts, a national education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, infuses arts into struggling schools to support overall reform efforts.

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Raphael Warnock


Warnock is the first African American to represent Georgia in the Senate and the first Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate by a former state of the Confederacy.[8] 

Warnock was born in Savannah, Georgia, on July 23, 1969.[9] He grew up in public housing as the eleventh of twelve children born to Verlene and Jonathan Warnock, both Pentecostal pastors.[10] His father served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he learned automobile mechanics and welding, and subsequently opened a small car restoration business where he restored junked cars for resale.[11]

Warnock graduated from Sol C. Johnson High School in 1987,[12] and, having wanted to follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., attended Morehouse College, from which he graduated cum laude in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.[13][14] He credits his participation in the Upward Bound program for making him college-ready, as he was able to enroll in early college courses through Savannah State University.[12][14] He then earned Master of DivinityMaster of Philosophy, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Union Theological Seminary, a school affiliated with Columbia University.[15][16][11]

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John Chaney


John Chaney, the famously combative Hall of Fame coach who took Temple University to 17 N.C.A.A. basketball tournaments, largely recruiting high school players from poor neighborhoods who were overlooked by the college game’s national powers. Having grown up poor in the segregated Depression-era South and in Philadelphia, Chaney viewed himself as a mentor to young men who often came from broken homes. Always outspoken, he railed against what he perceived as culturally biased and racist standardized academic testing requirements imposed by the N.C.A.A. for basketball eligibility. He expressed disdain for the administration of President George W. Bush and spoke out against the Iraq war. John Chaney was born on Jan. 21, 1932, in Jacksonville, Fla., and grew up in a low-lying house that often flooded. His father left the family when he was young, and his mother, Early, who worked as a domestic, remarried. His stepfather, Sylvester Chaney, brought the family to the Philadelphia area during World War II, seeking work in a defense plant.

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Erin Jackson


Erin Jackson (born September 19, 1992)[1] is an American speed skaterroller derby player, and Olympic gold medalist. Jackson is the first Black woman to win a Winter Olympic gold medal in an individual sport.[2] She qualified for The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland, where she competed in inline speed skating in various distances on road and track. She also qualified to compete in the 500 meters long track speed skating event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In November 2021 she won her first 500 meters Speedskating World Cup races in Poland with two track records, making her the first Black American woman to win in the World Cup.[3][4][5][6]

On February 13, 2022, Jackson won the gold medal in the Women's 500m speed skating event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. She is the first Black American woman to medal in speed skating.[7]

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LeBron James


LeBron James—18-time NBA All-Star, four-time NBA champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist—has hit yet another milestone, this time doing something no other NBA player has ever done.

After another monster year of earnings, totaling $121.2 million before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months, Forbes estimates that James has officially become a billionaire while still playing hoops.

The 37-year-old superstar has a net worth of $1 billion, by Forbes’ count. James, who missed the playoffs this year for just the fourth time in 19 seasons, is the first active NBA player to make the billionaires list. (Michael Jordan, the only other basketball billionaire, didn’t hit ten figures until 2014, more than a decade after he retired, thanks to a well-timed investment in the Charlotte Hornets basketball team.)


Byron Allen


Byron Allen was born in Detroit but spent the majority of his youth in Los Angeles. His mother worked as a publicist at NBC Studios, and it was while accompanying her to work that he was bitten by the fame bug.
By the age of 14, Allen had assembled a tight five and started putting in work at various comedy clubs around the city. His act caught the attention of celebrated sitcom actor and comedian Jimmie Walker, who invited the young Allen to join his writing team, which included a few promising young stars by the names of Jay Leno and David Letterman. 
The entertainer turned CEO confirmed he’s moving to buy the Denver Broncos. Let’s explore his path to being selected by Roger Goodell for a chance to become the NFL’s first Black majority owner.

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Jennifer King


Jennifer King stepped in as the running backs coach of the Washington Football Team on Tuesday (12/21/2021), making her the first Black woman to be a lead position coach in an NFL game.

Having been promoted from coaching intern to the team's assistant running back coach in January, a Covid-19 outbreak saw King promoted to lead -- deputizing for Randy Jordan -- at Washington's rescheduled visit to the Philadelphia Eagles.

King received a glowing appraisal from Washington head coach Ron Rivera following her promotion, who said that the "sky is the limit" for the former seven-time All-American tackle football quarterback.​


Ayanna Howard, PhD


Accomplished roboticist, entrepreneur and educator Ayanna Howard, PhD, became dean of The Ohio State University College of Engineering on March 1, 2021. Previously she was chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing, as well as founder and director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAnS).
Her career spans higher education, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the private sector. Dr. Howard is the founder and president of the board of directors of Zyrobotics, a Georgia Tech spin-off company that develops mobile therapy and educational products for children with special needs. Zyrobotics products are based on Dr. Howard’s research.

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Mablean Ephriam


Judge Mablean Ephriam is one of the most recognized jurists in America.  She attributes her success to God, her family and close friends. Her faith, religion and trust in God keeps this mother of four and grandmother of ten, meek and humble.
Born to Robert and Mable Ephriam in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, Judge Mablean has called California home from a very young age.   She is no stranger to achievement.  Since a child, she has always had that “spirit” of excellence and liberality about her. At the age of 13 years, she knew she wanted to become a lawyer. She attended Thomas Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles, graduating with honors. She received a four year academic scholarship to Pitzer College, Claremont, California, for her undergraduate studies.  Becoming married and mother of four, she took a break from school holding many jobs before receiving her Juris Doctor degree from Whittier College school of Law in 1978. She was admitted to the state Bar of California in November, 1978, having successfully passed the State Bar examination the first time.


Tyler Perry


Tyler Perry was born in New Orleans to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother would take him to church once a week and his father was a carpenter and their relationship was strained and abusive. Tyler started play writing in the 90's and it would soon start his journey of plays that he would write, direct, produce, and star in. In 2019 Tyler Perry became the first black to open up his own studio in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Gunna Opens Free Grocery Store In His Former Middle School With Goodr Founder Jasmine Crowe


Giving Back - Lebron James


In 2018, basketball superstar LeBron James helped open a new public school in an Akron, Ohio, school district, designed to provide academics as well as social and emotional supports to at-risk students. Now he’s adding to that investment, partnering with a hotel chain to build transitional housing for families whose children attend the I Promise school but are experiencing homelessness or struggle to have stable, safe housing.

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Discovering How to Use Lasers to Kill Cancer Cells - Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green


Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, one of the first African American women in the nation to earn a Ph.D. in physics, holds the distinction of being only the second African American woman and the fourth American American to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Green specializes in developing targeted cancer therapies using lasers and nanoparticles. She is noted for the development of several patent-pending cancer treatments that have had no observable side effects in laboratory mice, which is an preliminary study to testing with human subjects. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) recently awarded Dr. Green a $1.1 million grant for the ongoing research of her 4-in-1 system for early detection, imaging, targeting, and selective treatment of head and neck cancers. More importantly, it supports the further development of a platform cancer therapy that uses laser-activated nanoparticles to completely eliminate tumors after a single treatment.


(09/2021)   Rebounding - Robert Sherrill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Donald Trump has granted pardons to dozens of people before leaving office, including a man from North Nashville.

Robert Sherrill was pardoned by former Governor Bill Haslam before he left office. Sherrill also applied for a federal pardon in an effort to restore his rights and remove some limitations he's experienced since his release from federal prison in 2013. 

Back in 2002, Sherrill escaped from a department of children’s services home. He also had a simple marijuana possession charge and a 2003 drug possession with the intent to sell charge. Sherill was hoping the president would pardon him for a 2007 drug possession charge.

Since being released from prison in 2013, Sherrill has turned his life around by starting his own business and working with disadvantaged youth.

Sherrill gave a lot of credit to his late grandmother, Hattie Fletcher for always believing in him, and motivating him to turn his life around.

"I just know shes looking down and she's proud," Sherrill said. "That's the first person I'm going to see when i get to heaven. Seriously, I got to go talk to her and see what she's got to say."

SPOTLIGHT: Resources
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(08/2021)   Rihanna's Billionaire Status

When Robyn Fenty, known to the world as Rihanna, launched Fenty Beauty in 2017, she sought to create a cosmetics company that made “women everywhere (feel) included.” A perhaps unintended consequence: The beauty line has helped her enter one of the world’s most exclusive ranks: Billionaire. Rihanna is now worth $1.7 billion, Forbes estimates—making her the wealthiest female musician in the world and second only to Oprah Winfrey as the richest female entertainer. But it’s not her music that’s made her so wealthy. The bulk of her fortune (an estimated $1.4 billion) comes from the value of Fenty Beauty, of which Forbes can now confirm she owns 50%. Much of the rest lies in her stake in her lingerie company, Savage x Fenty, worth an estimated $270 million, and her earnings from her career as a chart-topping musician and actress.

SPOTLIGHT: Resources
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