By Natalie Rodgers
These icons are aiming to make the world a better place. See what they’re up to now.
Director and filmmaker Ava Duvernay is determined to change the narrative of how black people are represented in culture. Duvernay has expressed and showcased her passion that break the boundaries of representation and strives to educate audiences on racial injustice. The brilliant mind behind the critically acclaimed Selma and the 2018 adaptation of the racially diverse A Wrinkle in Time, Duvernay has been featuring more educational pieces as of late.
In 2019, Duvernay released her television series, When They See Us, which followed the story of the real-life Central Park Five. The retelling of this story was not only critically acclaimed but was also a major piece in educating the public about systemic racism against black people. Duvernay is also the director of 13th, a documentary showcasing the history of racial inequality through the United States’ prison system. Her work has recently grown further in popularity, being used as educational resources around the Black Lives Matter movement.
PHOTO BY RICH FURY/VF20/GETTY IMAGES FOR VANITY FAIR
Even before his famous Madea films, Tyler Perry has been a Hollywood powerhouse for years. Serving as the director, writer, producer and an actor on many of his own stage, film and television projects.
Perry has been nominated and awarded several honors of the years. However, Perry prides himself in pouring his life story and childhood background into his work in an attempt to make black stories more prominent in popular culture.
When he isn’t working on a set or within his own production company, Perry has been found to constantly give back to his community. Recently, Perry has become a spokesperson for The Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education Commission, an organization designed to spread awareness and put an end to human trafficking in Georgia.
Sources: Wikipedia and WTVM
Tarana Burke is an activist and the founder of the “Me Too” movement, which worked to spread awareness of the reality of sexual abuse. Though the trending hashtag became the most popular in 2017, “Me Too” has been a working tagline since 2006 and is still an ever-growing organization.
With the events of the Black Lives Matter movement, Burke has recently expressed her ambitions to spread awareness to create a space of healing and change for sexual assault survivors. In a similar fashion, Burke is also the current senior director of the Girls for Gender Equality, an organization working on prevention and healing techniques for sexual assault in schools and workplaces.
Source: Wikipedia and Vogue
Virgil Abloh is an architect, designer, artist, disc-jockey and the lead artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection. He is best known for his Nike collection Off-White and the commentary he puts into all of his artistic pieces.
Though many of his pieces share messages of individuality and the rebellion of societal norms, Abloh has also used his platform to support Planned Parenthood and educate his audience on immigration issues.
He has won countless awards for his work, including a spot in Time’s 100 Most Influential People, and has used his notoriety in working with the Fashion Scholarship Fund to raise money for his self-named scholarship that is specifically designated for Black students.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
She may be most commonly known for her roles in ABC shows Black-ish and Grown-ish, but acting is just one of the aspects that makes Yara Shahidi stand out.
A passionate advocate for racial equality, voter registration and other culturally engaging topics, the 20-year-old star often takes to social media to educate her young audience of the importance of these societal issues.
She has publicly shown admiration and been in conversation with big-name activists, is the head of the “WeVoteNext” youth initiative, and is working to put more black stories on film with the help of her parents. On top of all of this, Shahidi is also a brand ambassador for Chanel, Bobbi Brown, and Coach, and is currently a full-time student at Harvard University.
Source: Time Magazine and Wall Street Journal