In celebration of Black History Month: The most influential African-Americans of the 21st century

In celebration of Black History Month: The most influential African-Americans of the 21st century

In honor of Black History Month, we want to pay homage to seven of the most influential African-Americans of the past 12 years. How does your list compare? Let us know.

Barack Obama
For obvious reasons, our current President is first on the list.  Making history as the first African-American President, he has also put the world at ease by ordering the raid that ended the life of Osama Bin Laden. In a time of increased acceptance, he is the first sitting US President to publicly support marriage. Obama, with his charismatic personality and huge backing from celebrities from all fields, is perhaps the first “cool” President in American history—that is, the first President to ever identify with youths and their culture on such a massive level. He even managed to win the Nobel Peace Prize only nine months after his first term for his efforts in strengthening international diplomacy.


Michelle Obama
Michelle has taken her unpopularity between Democratic candidates’ spouses in 2008 and made it her duty to prove people wrong. She has become a fashion icon by becoming only the second First Lady to grace the cover of Vogue. Her Jackie O style and Barbara Bush decorum landed her on People‘s list of best dressed. The First Lady’s buff arms and svelte body have been admired by women around the world, as she’s become an advocate and icon for physical fitness.




Consistently referred to as one of the best-known rappers alive, Hova headlined the 2012 Budweiser Made in America Festival in Philadelphia and commanded the largest crowd out of any performer.  He owns stake in Rocawear, co-owns 40/40 clubs in different states, is part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, co-brand director of Bud Select and much more. His entrepreneurial skills and business acumen have made him the envy of nearly as many people that were already envious of his mic skills.


After Beyonce first captured our hearts as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child, she went solo and has become a multi-platinum recording artist with several Grammy awards.  Beyonce’s voluptuous form that she describes as “bootylicious” made her infamous when the Oxford Dictionary officially added it to their lexicon as a word.  Beyonce performed at Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 and became the “better half” of one of the highest paid power couples when she married Jay-Z in 2008.  She continued to wow us in 2012 with the birth of her first child Blue Ivy.



Who these days doesn’t know the name Oprah Winfrey?  Oprah’s Book Club, O Magazine, OWN network, Harpo Productions, is there anything this woman can’t do?  Oprah was the world’s only African-American billionaire for a time, ranked as the richest African-American of the 20th century and the greatest African-American philanthropist in American history.  She revolutionized basic tabloid talk shows. No need to say more. “You go girl!”




Tiger Woods
Tiger is considered one of the most successful golfers of all time. Once the highest-paid athlete in the world and formerly World No 1.  Mr. Woods was the youngest and second golfer to achieve three grand slams. People use his name when describing being the best at something—”The Tiger Woods of Baseball,” for example—and his name is quoted in many songs.  His marriage to Elin Nordegren was a big to do because of money and beauty but his multiple infidelities off the course are what made him the hot topic of every newspaper and magazine alike.


Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry, who is best known for his Madea character, has taken the rawest of everyday African-American highs and lows and put them not only on the big screen but on TV and in plays. He has made people of every race, color and creed love his work and sympathize with the intensity of his characters. Perry has won numerous awards for his plays and films and was named highest paid man in entertainment by Forbes in 2011. Perry is a force to be reckoned with and has a very bright future.


—Noel Francavilla