Last year, Baratunde Thurston AKA Jack Turner and I were honored in the extreme to be on the very first and very steezy 2009 TheRoot.com 100 List of emerging and established black leaders. A new 2010 TheRoot.com 100 List has just been released which covers geeks, educators, scientists, activists, athletes, politicos & civil servants, artists, executives, intellectuals and more. They are indeed the “must-know new stars of Black America.” Just reading through each one is inspiring. I’d recommend to TheRoot folks that they categorize the list not only by age, gender and last name, but also by type so we can see all the geeks, all the educators, all the executives, etc together.
I’d like to congratulate in particular a few folks I know personally on this year’s list including Gina McCauley of Blogging While Brown and What About Our Daughters, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of Hip Hop Caucus (and blogger here at JJP!) and Mike Strautmanis of the White House (leading Obama BFF Valerie Jarrett’s crew and friend of both Obamas).
I plan to do a more extensive blog post on this later in the week but I want to put out there that I’m evolving the concept that we’re reaching the apex of a new Harlem Renaissance, set not to jazz but to hip hop, powered through the web & social media, driven by an educated black middle/upper class and inspired by progressive values & politics. Call it the Black Rebirth movement if you will. If you read the Wikipedia account of the Harlem Renaissance, you’ll dig what I’m feelin’ right now. It’s a new Negritude out there today and it’s exciting that you and I here at JJP are a part of it.
I’ve got to give a shoutout to my girl @adriarichards for a late night DM tweet that’s got my head buzzing around this. I want to give it more thought before I throw down the intelligence on this. John Carroll Univ. also has a great multimedia online curated experience of the Harlem Renaissance worth checking out.
I think the folks chosen for the 100 list this year and last are exemplary of that movement which is much larger in the scope of its cultural and social impact than the 1920s-30s version. Barack & Michelle Obama, for example, are perhaps the greatest epitome of the Black Rebirth.
I think it could be incredibly powerful and historic to get these people and others like them in a room together at say at Root 100 Summit — and that it could make for some great coverage — video/photo/blog/writing etc…
In the meantime, if you’ve got kids, I recommend reading an individual profile or two each night with them — it’s incredibly inspirational to see what our people are doing in so many different & dynamic ways. Maybe one of the profiles will strike a nerve and create a new star to be seen on the list 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now! Each one teach one and…feed the Dream.
Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell
Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris
Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats