Black History is more than a month. It’s a movement, complete with a rich history of innovators, pioneers and overall rebels who kicked down doors by doing it their way. Beyond February, however, there are those making history right now. To recognize Black creators changing the game today, mobility and broadband leader, AT&T is once again celebrating “Black Future Makers,” as part of its Dream In Black platform.

Of this venture, AT&T is proud to present 28 Black Future Makers as part of the celebration of the dreams and the future made possible by more than 400 years of Black history, culture and contributions. Excellence is in the DNA of these extraordinary honorees who are shaping the now, the new and the next for the culture. 

From the concrete grew the rose of Black excellence  

DNA is something that honoree Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, one of the 2021 Black Future Makers honorees, understands all too well. A physicist and cancer researcher, Dr. Green has worked to break barriers in hopes of using lasers to combat cancer cells. Like other labors of love, her passion for the field was amplified by something that irrevocably changed her: the loss of an aunt and an uncle to cancer.

Since then, the Alabama A&M University graduate has worked tirelessly to pioneer an innovative new lane in cancer research that uses lasers to eliminate the side effects of traditional chemotherapy. This radical idea led to Green successfully demonstrating how nanoparticles — a key component in laser technology — could be used to selectively treat malignant cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. 

From this achievement, Dr. Green was able to earn her Ph.D., landing her in an exclusive club of only 76 Black women in the country to do so from an American university. To date, she’s only the second African American woman to graduate with a doctorate in physics at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 

Dr. Green understands that these hard-earned accolades might one day open doors for others. She admitted, “I don’t just represent myself, I represent all of us. I don’t take that lightly.”

Dr. Green shares her distinction as one of AT&T's Black Future Makers with other Black creators and honorees, including Howard University graduate and filmmaker Faraday Okoro, CNN journalist Abby Phillip, radio personality and author Charlamagne Tha God, activist DeRay McKesson, and NBANBA legend and entrepreneur LeBron James.

Not bad for a woman who was once told that her work couldn’t be done. Motivated by the desire to help her community, Dr. Green continues to drive a new wave of Black history pioneers — and like those before her, she’s doing it her way. 

HBCUs: a mecca of inspiration and innovation

From Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green to Vice President Kamala Harris, HBCUs graduates carry a legacy of greatness and achievement and AT&T is committed to fostering the legacy of HBCUs for generations to come. Through recruitment, grants and mentorship, AT&T has worked to ensure HBCU students are set up for success and amplify opportunities for them to compete as entrepreneurs. 

As part of its $10 million commitment, AT&T launched HBCU Future Leaders, a new multi-year mentorship program, focused on giving students access to experts and helping to prepare them for future careers. The program will provide access to senior leaders, experiential learning, leadership skills development, and experts in technology and innovation. 

To learn more about AT&T or its commitment to Black leaders through the Black Future Makers series, visit here

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with AT&T Dream in Black.