Black excellence is more than just a trendy phrase – it’s a lifestyle practiced by today’s rising millennial moguls. From entrepreneurs and CEOs to social media influencers and media personalities, these Black men are walking their respective paths to becoming the industry’s next big thing. Read more about these influential leaders below.
As co-host of The Read, internet personality Kid Fury has come a long way to secure his place in the media and entertainment industry. Fury started his YouTube channel back in 2009 growing his fan base online by posting hilarious videos audiences gravitated to. Three years later, he found himself in New York City co-hosting comedy show and podcast, The Read, with his friend Crissle West. The wildly popular show was later picked up by Fuse, featuring special celebrity guests and beloved segments like Hot Tops and The Read. Fury has focused his time and talents on hosting live podcast shows, growing his career in stand-up comedy and developing an HBO pilot show.
Jameer Pond — digital producer and radio personality — is building a name for himself in the digital space and pushing a narrative to get more Black creatives their shine as well. Pond has been working in the media industry for over ten years finding his niche in radio, television, and content creation. He’s worked on projects for Def Jam, Hot 97, REVOLT, and BET. He previously co-hosted BET’s digital series “Black Coffee” alongside Marc Lamont Hill and Gia Peppers, another web show called “Black Boy Joy,” and worked as a panelist for YouTube series, “The Grapevine.” Now, he currently serves as a digital content creator for Cocoa Butter.
Marc Lamont Hill
Media personality, author, entrepreneur, college professor, and activist Marc Lamont Hill has built a reputation for defying the status quo. The former CNN commentator is one of the leading intellectual voices in Black culture advocating for social justice around the world. EBONY magazine even named him “one of America’s 100 most influential Black leaders.” His interest in political commentary stemmed from a blog he started in the early 2000s called “The Barbershop Notebooks.” He began a journalism career by contributing to publications like Black Enterprise and Huffington Post and also working as a BET News correspondent. Hill has provided commentary hosting shows like “VH1 Live!,” BET series “Black Coffee,” plus reunion specials for “Basketball Wives.”
Media personality and professional host Mouse Jones has taken the digital landscape by storm and quickly made a name for himself as the self-proclaimed “best host in the country.” Jones got his start in the industry working as a television show writer on MTV’s reboot of “TRL” while jumpstarting The He-Man Woman Haters Club podcast, now referred to as The Clubhouse With Mouse Jones. Jones turned his personality into his brand taking over multiples digital spaces like “The Grapevine,” BET’s “I’ll Apologize Later,” “Pull Up,” and now co-hosting his podcast Guys Next Door with Mack Wilds and FlyRy. Jones’ brand translates online as well as offline as the official host of Trap Karaoke and other industry events such as NBA All-Star Weekend, BET Experience, and SXSW.
Social media influencer turned actor Devale Ellis made a smooth transition into the TV and film industry with the help of his digital platform. Starting out as a professional football player for the Detroit Lions, Ellis had a second agenda on his mind for the future — acting. After retiring, he appeared in a series of commercials, Broadway plays, and student films until social media came and changed the game. He created his own narrative via social media and developed it into the well-respected brand we recognize today. Alongside his wife Khadeen Ellis, they created their web series “The Ellises” which follows their lives as a Black millennial couple raising three kids. They recently launched a joint podcast called Dead Ass that shares the honest truth about relationships, parenting, family, and work-life balance.
Social media sensation and TV personality Kendall Kyndall learned the hustle of social media and flipped it into a full-time gig that’s landed him red carpet hosting gigs and his first major TV role. After posting several response videos to VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Hollywood” episodes, the Michigan native found himself in high demand as an Instagram comedian. As his followers on the platform grew, so did his brand. His road to fame eventually led to multiple red carpet events and his role on BET’s “Games People Play.”
Terrell Grice found the key to his own success and the way to people’s hearts — through music. The YouTuber created a lane of his own by putting a unique twist to reaction videos and the game of word association. His reaction videos got the ball rolling on his YouTube channel and before long he was interviewing any and all artists that could carry a tune. His famous blue wall has seen the likes of many superstar singers like Amber Riley, Cynthia Erivo, Avery Wilson, and more. The Terrell Show has since grown to include various segments highlighting artists and their talents.
Social media star Demetrius Harmon used his brand online to spark an important conversation on mental health awareness and suicide prevention with his clothing line You Matter. Hailing from Detroit, MI, Harmon grew his following on platforms like Vine, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter with his comedic videos and skits featuring Angelo Zeigler, better known as @DopeIsland. Harmon tackled the stigma surrounding mental health, specifically for Black men and changed the narrative by sharing his story on his platform. He has partnered with organizations such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Black Emotional & Mental Health Collective, and Project Semicolon. Harmon has also recruited fans of his clothing line including stars Yara Shahidi and Khalid to spread his uplifting message.
Journalist, entrepreneur and PR maven Quinelle Holder has built up a public repertoire for his work with industry heads like Karen Civil and MissInfo in addition to his clients such as Desiigner. The Washington D.C. native got his start in the entertainment industry interning for The FADER and contributing to Philly staple HipHopSince1987. He went on to sharpen his journalistic skills for several online publications which eventually landed him a gig as music editor for MissInfo TV. His passion for wanting to be more than a media personality led him to a career in PR. Holder established and runs his own public relations firm called Medium Creative Agency.
Chris Classic is the epitome of a Black renaissance man. Classic’s resume includes titles such as award-winning songwriter, producer, recording artist, entrepreneur, social media influencer and advocate for social justice. He earned his start in the entertainment industry back in 1999 from hip hop pioneers Run-D.M.C. where he adopted the moniker “Chris Classic.” Classic’s long-standing career has afforded him many opportunities to work with music supervisors in TV and film and a plethora of artists for over a decade. Since then he’s written hit songs, became a family man, and made it a mission to contribute positive images of Black culture to the masses while growing his digital footprint.