TheGrio logo

*NEW YORK – In celebration of Black History Month, unveiled their “theGrio’s 100” list this week.

The exclusive list honors Black History Month by highlighting the next generation of African-American history makers and industry leaders who are making a difference in the lives of all Americans.

The 100 honorees come from various fields of work, including business, education, sports, science and the environment, media, service and activism, politics, health, pop culture, and the arts.

This year’s list includes newsmakers and celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Lupita Nyong’o, Questlove, Iyanla Vanzant and Ray Lewis, as well as up-and-coming leaders such as Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player; Sasheer Zamata, “Saturday Night Live”’s first black female cast member in six years; Dante and Chiara de Blasio, New York City’s first children and Phillip Agnew, Executive Director for The Dream Defenders – a group at the center of the efforts to fight in the name of Trayvon Martin for a repeal of Stand Your Ground laws; to name a few.

“I’m excited to unveil “theGrio’s 100” list of those African-American leaders who may be lesser known but are making lasting impacts within their communities,” said David Wilson, executive editor of “In our fifth year of recognizing the best of the Black community, it continues to be our goal to ignite a larger conversation about Black History Month as we examine where we are, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. This year’s honorees are a great sampling of the drivers of tomorrow.”

The exclusive “theGrio’s 100” will be profiled on MSNBC, throughout the month of February. Fans can also check out more about “theGrio’s 100” on theGrio’s Facebook page: and on Twitter @thegrio with the hashtag #thegrios100.

TheGrio’s editorial team selected the 100 individuals with input from a group of experts and NBC News affiliates from across the country.

Managing Editor David Wilson is available for media interviews to discuss the power list.

The full list of “theGrio’s 100” is below with links to each honoree profile.


Phillip Agnew, Executive Director and Co-founder of The Dreams Defenders

Harry Belafonte, Singer, Actor and Civil Rights Activist

Rev. Corey Brooks, Reverend for New Beginning Church of Chicago

Jason Collins, NBA Free-Agent and first openly gay athlete

Jamie Foxx, Actor, Activist

Sybrina Fulton, Co-founder of The Trayvon Martin Foundation

Bethann Hardison, Fashion icon

Janaye Ingram, Acting Executive Director of the National Action Network

Rev. Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist, TV host, Author

Derrica and Natalie Wilson, Co-founders of Black and Missing Foundation


Ryan Coogler, Writer, Director for “Fruitvale Station”

Tananarive Due, Writer, Film Producer

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, 2013 President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Alia Jones-Harvey and Stephen C. Byrd, Partners for Front Row Productions

Brooklyn Mack, Principal Dancer at The Washington Ballet

Terrance McKnight, Radio Host for WQXR

Toyin Odutola, Artist

Billy Porter, Broadway Singer, Actor

Condola Rashad, Actress

John Ridley, Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, TV Producer, Writer


Shante Bacon, Co-founder and CEO of the 135th Street Agency

Zora Bell, 7-year-old Computer Programmer

Adriene Bowles, President of Worldwide Publicity and Executive Vice President of Marketing for Focus Features

Moziah Bridges, 12-year-old Bow Tie Manufacturer

Andre Hueston Mack, Citibank investor turned Winemaker

Cleve Mesidor, Nation Builder at the Department of Commerce

Asia Newsome, Owner of “Super-Business Girl”

John W. Rogers, Jr., Investment Industry Icon

Todd Williams, Fitness Nutrition Guru of Vortex Body Sciences

James White, CEO of Jamba Juice


MK Asante, Filmmaker, Author, College Professor

Jason Coleman, Co-founder of Project SYNCERE

Dr. Leon Finney, Prominent Chicago Organizer, Publisher, Columnist, Former TV Host

Kamau Harper, Brooklyn teacher, Co-founder of Scholarich

David J. Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

Asean Johnson, Education Advocate

Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, CEO of Incite Unlimited

Zakiya Smith, Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation

Gabrielle Turnquest, Youngest Person to be called to the Bar of England and Wales at just 18

James Ward, Creator of #HomelesstoHoward blog


Dr. David Bell, Physician

Dr. Keith L. Black, Neurosurgeon

Dr. Jeanine Downey, Dermatologist

Tanya Fields, Founder of BLK ProjeK

Shaun T., Creator of the INSANITY fitness video programs

Tonya Lewis Lee, Editor-in-Chief,

Riana Lynn, Self-made Entrepreneur

Drs. Kameron Matthews and Alden Landry, Founders of Tour for Diversity in Medicine

Denise Roberts, Founder of the Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation (TDRBCF)

Haile Thomas, 13-Year-Old Chef


Vanessa Bush, Editor-in-Chief of Essence

Arsenio Hall, Late-night Talk Show Host

Kimberley Harris, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for NBCUniversal

Faith Jenkins, Legal Analyst

Kid Fury and Crissle, Hosts for “The Read”

Ray Lewis, ESPN analyst, retired NFL player

Robby Novak, “Kid President”

Angela Rye, Principal for IMPACT Strategies

B.Scott, Openly Gay and Transgender TV Personality

Iyanla Vanzant, Author, Life Coach, Spiritual Advisor


Steve Benjamin, First Black Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina

Barry Black, Chaplain, The United States Senate

Anthony Brown, Lieutenant Governor of Maryland

Dante and Chiara de Blasio, the first kids of New York

Erika Harold, GOP Candidate for Congress in Illinois

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security

Byron Todd Jones, Head of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives

Gwen Moore, U.S. Representative (D-WI)

Colin Powell, Retired Four-Star Army General

Rick Wade, Democrat U.S. Senatorial Candidate for South Carolina


Andrew Bachelor, Comedian

Nicole Beharie, Actress

LaVerne Cox, Actress

Danai Guirra, Actress, Playwright

Michael B. Jordan, Actor

Lupita Nyong’o, Actress

Questlove, Musician, DJ, Author, Record Producer

Forest Whitaker, Actor, Director, Producer

Pharrell Williams, Singer, Rapper, Producer, Fashion Designer

Sasheer Zamata, Actress, Comedienne


Shawn Allen, Video Game Developer and Capture Artist

Jaylen Bledsoe, CEO for Bledsoe Technologies, LLC

Jamie Broadnax, Creator for

Kimberly Bryant, Founder of Black Girls Code

Kathryn Finney, Editor-At-Large for The Budget Fashionista

Lonnie Johnson, Founder of Johnson Research and Development Company

Dr. Danielle Lee, Creator of The Urban Scientist

David Moinina Sengeh, Biomechanics Engineer, Fashion Designer, TED Fellow

Julian Sharpe, Inventor

Baratunde Thurston, Author, Founder of Cultivated Wit


Jozyt Altidore, Soccer player

Kay-Ci Bele, College Wrestler

Swin Cash, WNBA Athlete

Kevin Krigger, Professional Jockey

Brandon Marshall, NFL Wide Receiver

Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Professional Boxer

Chris Paul, NBA Point Guard

Sloane Stephens, Tennis Player

Darrell Wallace, Jr., Professional NASCAR Racer

Darren Young, WWE Professional Wrestler


About, a division of MSNBC, is a daily online news and opinion platform devoted to delivering stories and perspectives that reflect and affect African-American audiences. The video-centric interactive community is populated with both aggregated and original content on topics ranging from breaking news and politics to health, business, and entertainment.


About MSNBC:
MSNBC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily headlines, insightful political commentary and informed perspectives. Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a full schedule of live news coverage, political opinions and award-winning documentary programming – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Viewers can find more information on MSNBC’s programming at

Members of the media can get more information about MSNBC and its programming at or the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at


Leshelle Sargent
[email protected]