Forbes 30 Under 30: Young Leaders of Color Who Made the Cut
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

British actor John Boyega

British actor John Boyega

Forbes released its 2016 ‘30 Under 30‘ list that includes 600 young leaders making major strides in business, art, entertainment, sports, fashion and more. Celebrities of color on the diverse list included Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Star Wars leading man John Boyega, Empire golden boy Breshere Gray, actress/singer Zendaya, singer Jason Derulo, and hip-hop crooner Fetty Wap.

Check out a snapshot of other young influencers and change agents of color who made the cut:


Jewel Burks, 26, Co-Founder, PartPic. PartPic, which was built with computer vision technology; according to Forbes, allows customers to use their phones to search for a mechanical items—whether it’s a part for an automobile or a drill press—and order it quickly. Burks co-founded the company with Jason Crain, who, like she, previously worked for Google. The pair has raised $1.5 million to date and participated in the White House’s first-ever White House Demo Day.

Nailah Ellis-Brown, 28, Founder, Ellis Island Tropical Tea. Ellis-Brown went from selling teas she created from an old Jamaican family recipe out of the trunk of her car, according to Forbes, to having her teas on the shelves of Whole Foods and other retailers in several states.


Azede Jean-Pierre, 27, Fashion Designer, Azede Jean-Pierre. She made her first official New York Fashion Week debut in September 2013, and counts Solange Knowles and Angie Harmon among her A-list advocates. She studied fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design and worked at successful houses including Ohne Titel and Ralph Rucci before starting her namesake line.

“Our goal is to design special clothes that a woman can cherish and live in,” Jean-Pierre told Elle magazine in an interview. “Fundamentally they are about cut, color, and proportion, and how I realize that technically.”

Madison Maxey, 22, Fashion Designer, The Crafted. Maxey is a self-taught fashion designer who interned at Tommy Hilfiger at 16, and worked for Peter Som and Nylon magazine. After her sophomore year studying fashion, she started her own collection of blazers called Madison Maxey. She was also the first fashion designer to ever receive the $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, given by the Thiel Foundation, an organization founded by billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel to fund the dreams of fresh-out-of-high-school entrepreneurs.


Christopher Gray, 24, Co-founder, Scholly. In early 2015, Gray teamed up with co-founders Nick Pirollo, 26, and Bryson Alef, 24, to build Scholly; an app and Web platform that connects pre-screened scholarships with eligible students. More than 600,000 users have joined and $20 million in scholarships have been given out since its launch, according to Forbes. 

Derrick Braziel, 29, and William Thomas, 29, Founders of MORTAR Cincinnati. Braziel and Thomas’s business helps residents in urban communities, that have been gentrified, to build entrepreneurial skills via training programs and pop-up shops.

Read more of Forbes‘ ’30 Under 30’ list here.

Join the Conversation

Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.