February is a time when we celebrate the enormous impact that black people have had on the world as we know it. Over the next month, we will lift up Dr. King’s legacy, George Washington Carver’s ingenuity, and Madame C.J. Walker’s business acumen. But what about the people who aren’t in the history books...yet? This February I’m excited to bring something totally different to the table, the #POWER28; 28 days, 28 interviews, with 28 young black creators and leaders who are making history today.
I was meditating when the idea for the #POWER28 first popped into my head. It kept coming back to me and eventually I knew that it was something that needed to exist. The idea behind it is simple, we often celebrate historical figures (deservedly so) but we seldom celebrate the people who are making tomorrow’s history. People who are not necessarily at the forefront of the media or have massive platforms but whose work can be felt in the far reaches of our community and our society. It is important that we not only celebrate where we’ve come from but also what’s next and how we are getting there.
The #POWER28 was created as part of Motivation For Black People; a digital brand that provides motivation, education, and tools for healing and empowerment from an unapologetically black perspective. I am honored to be the host of this inspiring podcast series.
What makes the #POWER28 unique is that it’s not just a list of names but also a series of individual interviews that I conducted with each honoree. A new interview will be released every day of Black History Month in podcast format (you can listen to all of the interviews, or get notified when your favs are released by clicking here).
Listeners will hear from changemakers like Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Malcolm "MJ" Harris, founder of National Care Financial Group, Shaun Ross, the world’s first albino male supermodel, and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Academy Award-winning screenwriter for the film Moonlight. The list isn’t ranked in any sort of hierarchy, all of our 28 honorees have made amazing contributions to our community. With honesty and authenticity, they share their hardships, their struggles, their wins, the things they wish they had known, and the tangible tips they want you to know so that you can begin to change your life immediately.
At a time when many media outlets might have you believe that the black experience is one of defeat and darkness, the #POWER28 hopes to bring light to black excellence. The era of MLK is not over. There is an entire generation of black creators and black influencers who are changing the world for the better. As a child, growing up in a poor neighborhood amongst violence and abuse, the heroes who inspired me were often people who I had never met. With the #POWER28, I hope to introduce you to 28 people you may not know. In sharing their stories, my goal is to help others wake up to their own life’s purpose, step into their full greatness, and know that black people can do anything.
See the full #POWER28 list below. To listen to interviews with each honoree visit: motivationforblackpeople.com.
Feb 1 - Alicia Garza: Co-founder of Black Lives Matter
Feb 2 - Malcolm “MJ” Harris: Founder of National Care Financial Group
Feb 3 - Tarell Alvin McCraney: Academy Award-winning Screenwriter for Moonlight
Feb 4 - Darnell Moore: Author & Activist, Editor-at-Large at CASSIUS
Feb 5 - Shelah Marie: Founder of Curvy, Curly, Conscious
Feb 6 - Christopher Gray: Founder & CEO of Scholly
Feb 7 - Wade Davis: Former NFL Player, Corporate Inclusion & Cultural Advisor
Feb 8 - Mecca Woods: Leading Black Astrologer, Founder of My Life Created
Feb 9 - Yolo Akili Robinson: Founder & Executive Director of the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM)
Feb 10 - Nikki Walton: Best-Selling Author, Founder of CurlyNikki.com
Feb 11 - Deon Jones: Millennial Creative Impacting The Culture
Feb 12 - Shaun Ross: First Male Albino Pro Model
Feb 13 - Aaryn Lang: Activist, TV Show Host, and Organizer working toward the power and liberation of Black trans women
Feb 14 - Darnell Lamont Walker: Founder, Passport Required
Feb 15 - Daraiha Greene: Head of Multicultural Engagement, CS in Media, Google
Feb 16 - Rush Davis: Artist and Songwriter, BMG
Feb 17 - Sarah Springer: Creative Director, RYOT. Co-Founder, Advocates for Inclusion in Media (AIM)
Feb 18 - Ben Cory Jones: Writer & Producer, Insecure (HBO). Producer, Step Sisters (Netflix)
Feb 19 - Koya Webb: Leading Black Vegan, Yoga, and Wellness Expert
Feb 20 - James Bland: Creator, Show Runner, and Star of GIANTS the Series
Feb 21 - Preston Smiles: Next-Generation Thought Leader, Author, Speaker, and Coach
Feb 22 - Adaku Utah: Healer, Educator. Co-Founder, Harriet's Apothecary
Feb 23 - Jeremy Erwin: Entertainer. Creator & Producer, The Soul Spot
Feb 24 - Kendrick Daye: Mixed-Media Artist, Art Director
Feb 25 - Apuje Kalu: Fashion Stylist & Creative Director
Feb 26 - Juel D. Lane: Choreographer, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Ailey II)
Feb 27 - Morgan Pitts: Creator of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog
Feb 28 - Tarana Burke: Founder, #MeToo Movement, American Civil Rights Activist
To listen to interviews, to get notified when they go live, or for more info on each honoree, visit: motivationforblackpeople.com.
About the author: Justin Michael Williams is an iTunes top 20 recording artist, inspirational entertainer, and the Founder of Motivation for Black People.