The King of Pop and an international superstar, Michael Jackson was a musical entertainer whose work – both with Jackson 5 and solo – won accolades and hearts worldwide. Equally popular were his unique dance moves that created sensation and shaped future dance styles. Amongst the most successful entertainers of all time, Jackson was later accused of child molestation.
Widely regarded as the godfather of gangsta rap, Eazy-E was a rapper and record producer. He played a major role in popularizing gangsta rap and West Coast rap by forming N.W.A, which is considered one of the most influential and greatest hip hop groups of all time. Eazy-E died at the age of 30 after being diagnosed with AIDS.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.
The amazingly talented, Tyler Perry, is an American actor who topped Forbes list of highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011. Perry is most known as the creator of the boisterous, African-American grandmother character, Madea, which he himself performs with great skill and artistry. From a homeless playwriter to having his own studio, Perry has surely achieved the evasive American dream.
American comedian, writer and actor, Dave Chappelle, is best known for the Chappelle’s Show, the acclaimed Comedy Central show which brought him much popularity before he decided to call it quits in its third season. He later released award winning comedy specials with Netflix. Dave has also featured in numerous films like Half Baked and A Star Is Born.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, Jesse Owens' three world records in less than an hour in 1935 came to be known as the greatest 45 minutes ever in sports. He was credited with destroying Adolf Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Chris Tucker is an American stand-up comedian and actor best known for playing Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour film series alongside Jackie Chan. Also a humanitarian, Tucker joined the likes of Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein, Kevin Spacey, and Ghislaine Maxwell on a trip to Africa in an attempt to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
American singer Jason Derulo is one of the best-selling and popular musicians of present times. His forte is pop, but his music also encompasses R&B and hip-hop. Whatcha Say, Don't Wanna Go Home, Talk Dirty, In My Head, Savage Love, The Other Side and Wiggle are some of his smash hit songs. He also acts in movies and television shows.
Keke Palmer is an American actress, television personality, and singer. In 2019, she was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 celebrities who are shaping the future of health, entertainment, business, politics, and more. Palmer, who has been open about her struggle with depression and anxiety, supports movements, such as Black Lives Matter.
An important member of the popular Wayans family, Damon Wayans is a stand-up comedian and actor. Over the years, Damon Wayans has been a prominent and influential member of popular sketch comedy series, such as In Living Color and Saturday Night Live.
Widely considered one of the greatest rappers ever, Nas has seven platinum and multi-platinum albums under his belt in the US. In 2006, he was ranked fifth on MTV's The Greatest MCs of All Time list. In 2012, he was ranked second on the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time list published by The Source. He is also an entrepreneur.
Aisha Tyler is credited with co-founding an all-female a cappella group called Dartmouth Rockapellas, which aimed at spreading social awareness through music. She later became a prominent actress, playing important roles in popular TV series like Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Aisha Tyler is also an ardent advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights.
Alfonso Ribeiro is an American actor, television personality, and dancer who got to dance alongside Michael Jackson for a Pepsi commercial when the former was just a kid. Since then, Ribeiro has not looked back and later used his dancing skills to become an actor. He currently hosts one of the most beloved TV shows ever, America's Funniest Home Videos.
Mike Colter is an American actor known for portraying the eponymous character in the popular streaming television series Luke Cage. Thanks to his association with Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2015, Mike Colter is often credited with playing an important role in improving Marvel Television's business over the last few years.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.
Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian revolutionary and politician. He played an important role in the independence of the Gold Coast in 1957, after which he served as the first prime minister of Ghana from 1957 to 1960 and then as the first president of Ghana from 1960 to 1966. He also played an influential role as an advocate of Pan-Africanism.
Ruud Gullit is a Dutch former football player. Considered one of the greatest players in the history of football, Gullit was known for his versatility as he could play as an attacking midfielder, forward, or midfielder. During the 1988 UEFA European Football Championship, he led his national team to its first title.
Claudette Colvin is an American retired nurse aide and pioneer of the civil rights movement during the 1950s. She was arrested at age 15, when she refused to give up her seat in a crowded bus to a white woman. This occurred several months before the more renowned Rosa Parks incident, which helped spark the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.
American mathematician Dorothy Vaughan was also known as a "human computer." Initially a math teacher, she became the first African-American supervisor of NACA, later part of NASA, at a time when racial segregation was rampant in the U.S. Her contribution to the early American space programs is invaluable.
John Kani is a South African actor, playwright, director, and author. He is best known for playing T'Chaka in American superhero films, such as Black Panther and Captain America: Civil War. One of the few South African actors to achieve international recognition, John Kani was included in the Top 100 Great South Africans list, which was published in 2004.
Emmy-winning puppeteer and voice-actor Kevin Clash is best known for performing as and voicing Elmo on Sesame Street. He has also performed with puppets for Dinosaurs and Labyrinth, and was a regular on productions of the Muppet franchise. He has authored a memoir and has inspired a documentary, too.