With 2010 logged into the history books, it’s time to look forward to the future and the people, places and things that will shape our world for the next 12 months. Over the course of this week, Blackenterprise.com will be giving you the 4/11 on some of the big innovations, developments and trends on the horizon for 2011. Today, it’s all about young leaders who are ascending the ranks in entertainment, business, and technology. If they weren’t already on your radar, then it’s time you take a second look because these leaders of the new school are giving their elders a run for their money. Check out our 11 under-35 tycoons! —Janel Martinez
SPORTS: JOSEPH BRAMLETT – The 22-year-old went from hanging Tiger Woods posters up on his bedroom wall to competing against him in the PGA Tour in 2011. Last December, Bramlett became the first African-American in 25 years to move forward in the PGA Tour’s qualifying school. This isn’t the first noteworthy achievement the young golfer has made. He also became the youngest to qualify for the US Amateur in 1992 at age 14. Woods even sent a shout-out to Bramlett, tweeting: “Congrats to Joe Bramlett for making it through Q school. Amazing feat considering he sat out a whole year with wrist injury. Can’t wait to play with him next season.”
PUBLISHING: SAVANNAH BRITT – Named the world’s youngest magazine publisher, Britt started Girlpez Fashion Magazine at the age of 12. The Philadelphia native created the fashion zine to inspire young girls and be the go-to fashion and beauty resource for 12-16 year-olds. It started out as a printed publication, but transitioned to the Web to reach a greater audience. After school, the 16-year-old socialite can be seen interviewing designers or frequenting an exclusive event. She’s even been backed by the Teen Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley. The young entrepreneur got her first taste of the publishing world when she penned and published a poem on www.poetry.com and its printed issue. Shortly after, she worked for a year as a writer for The Kitchen Table News.
BLOGGING: DANIELLE BELTON – The St. Louis-bred writer and journalist is known for her insightful and, at times, snarky commentary found on The Black Snob. Since the 2007 launch of the “pop culture-meets-politics blog,” it’s grown to have over four million page views with a wide-ranging readership, which includes academics, political strategists and bloggers. The Black Snob has received numerous awards such as BlackPoliticsOnTheWeb.com’s Shining Star in 2008 for Best Overall Political Blog and Best New Political Blog, Best Writing in a Blog (2008 and 2009) and, most recently, the Black Weblog Award for Best Political Blog (2010) . The savvy blogger currently resides in Washington, D.C., where she’s working as a freelance journalist and social media consultant. Belton is currently writing a book about searching for romance while fighting Bipolar Disorder.
MUSIC: WILLOW SMITH – The 10-year-old rising star caught the attention of music moguls such as Jay-Zand garnered comparisons to label mate Rihanna and the late Michael Jackson with her debut single, “Whip My Hair.” The record sold 137,000 within it’s first week of release, making her the youngest artist in history to do so. After sifting through several offers, the pre-teen signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “We at Roc Nation are excited to work with Willow,” said Jay, in a statement. “She has an energy and enthusiasm about her music that is truly infectious. It’s rare to find an artist with such innate talent and creativity at such a young age.” Her album will be released later this year. Before rocking the music scene, Smith acted on both the small and big screen.
TECHNOLOGY: ARIELLE PATRICE SCOTT – This GenY-er has taken the tech game by storm with her digital strategy and social networking skills. What started off as Scott’s undergraduate thesis at the University of California, Berkeley became a resource for entrepreneurs ages 17-29. The co-founder and chief-executive-officer of GenJuice offers young influencers a community where they can view helpful content and learn about upcoming conferences. Scott got her start on the entrepreneurial road, co-founding InternshipIn, which helped place over 70 students with internships at startups. Currently, Scott is spearheading several business development projects at GameChanger Products. She describes herself as “part businesswoman, part artist, and full badass.”
FASHION: LaQUAN SMITH – The 22-year-old made a cameo appearance on VH1’s House of Glam, but, trust, he has been in the fashion industry’ scene for some time. The Queens, NY native created his self-titled designer brand in 2008—only a year after winning his battle against cancer. It’s by sneaking into parties decked in his own designs that he caught the attention of fashion insiders like publicist Kelly Mills. But those days are over. The up-and-coming designer has created signature pieces for several big-name celebrities and models such as Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Tyra Banks, to name a few. His designs have rocked runways from New York to Africa and graced the editorial pages of magazines such as Jones, Uptown and Vogue.
BRANDING: MAVERICK CARTER – The CEO of LRMR Innovative Marketing and Branding is proving skeptics wrong. Whether or not you agree with LeBron James‘ infamous move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat, Carter was strategic in orchestrating the hour-long ESPN announcement special. In addition to that, Carter, who was James’ high school teammate, is responsible for sponsorship deals with McDonald’s and State Farm, as well as a contract extension with Nike—where he interned for Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt. The business deal occurred after James fired his agent, Aaron Goodwin, replacing him with Carter. A year later, James and Carter launched LRMR.
SUSTAINABILITY: NATALIA ALLEN – This visionary is proving that style and sustainability can be one in the same. In 2005, Allen founded the product design firm Design Futurist. The 27-year-old design director’s clients include Calvin Klein, Dupont Donna Karan, P&G and Quicksilver. Before starting the eco-conscious business, she studied at Parsons School of Design and was awarded the highly coveted Parsons Designer of the Year Award. “Any company that wants to be relevant in 10 years needs to grab hold of the idea of innovation and sustainability as core business practices and realize it’s not a do-good exercise,” said Allen, in the August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise. “It is a business opportunity.” She will debut her fashion line in fall 2011.
ACTING: LAUREN KEYANA “KEKE” PALMER – Since the age of nine, Palmer has graced the silver screen; guest starred in a variety of television shows, appeared in national commercials, and released So Uncool, her debut album. Now, the 17-year-old Illinois native stars in her own show, True Jackson, VP. Palmer launched a fashion line inspired by the Nickelodeon show at Wal-Mart in 2009. The actress has been recognized for her performance in films such as The Wool Cap, Madea’s Family Reunion, and The Longshots, but Palmer took it home with Akeelah and the Bee, which she won several awards for her notable performance. Last year, the starlet received the Black Girls Rock: Who Got Next award for being a young, “force to be reckoned with.” She’s signed to Interscope Records and set to drop a new collection of music this year.
INVESTING: JAMES C. PERKINS, JR. – Style, swagger and…investing tips? It doesn’t sound like they go together, but Perkins makes it work. The founder, chief-executive-officer and portfolio manager of Thrasher Funds—an advisory, consulting and media production firm—compacts culture and lifestyle with money management and stock market information so that the next generation of investors start off on the right foot. He breaks down trivial financial terms and can do so just about anywhere in NYC. The Yale University graduate contributes to TheStreet.com and is the Editor-in-chief and Creative Director ofFLATT magazine. He is penning an investment book, Making Money Never Goes Out of Style, which will be released later this year.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: AREL MOODIE – The 26-year-old used his opportunity to go to college as more than just an chance to learn or a ticket out of the Brooklyn, NY projects where he lived. Before graduating, Moodie founded two businesses. PlaceFinder.com, which he later sold, helped college students find off-campus housing. Now, the best-selling authorof Your Starting Point For Student Successis co-owner of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour. He has spoken about entrepreneurship and leadership to more than 75,000 students in 42 states.