BEMM - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue
  • 2019
BE Modern Man is an integrative program that honors the essence, image, and accomplishments of today’s man of color. The BE Modern Man is making a positive impact, his way, and has a story to tell.


For the last 10 years, I have run a nonprofit called the Adonai Center, soon to be called FORGE12 (Forge One Two), that has worked to advance boys and men of color socially, educationally, and economically since 2009. Our work has better positioned more than 1,400 young men for academic and career success. Additionally, I have been serving as a global ambassador for the One Young World Summit, working directly with organizers to recruit delegates from 22 states across the U.S. and Washington, D.C.

Kevin Carter: Nonprofit Executive Works To Advance Boys And Men of Color

I take advantage of people analytics to drive action and insights by leveraging a customer-centric, evidence-based approach to align talent strategy with business strategy and linking talent with value creation by enabling cutting-edge techniques, modeling and technology, and advanced consulting skills, to drive better business outcomes regarding talent and the future of work.

Tyrone D. Smith Jr.: Human Capital Strategist Is Invested In Developing Young Leaders

My primary office is on the south side of Chicago, where many of our clients are from under-served communities. Our goal is to eliminate racism and empower women, and what better way than through the power of entrepreneurship. The impact it has on the communities that we serve is outstanding as it enables men, women and youth to see the power of drive, education and economic empowerment through business. Providing resources is a key element of empowerment.

Vincent Williams: Economic Empowerment Champion Supports Entrepreneurs

Primarily, my life’s work has been turnaround work in schools. Most schools I’ve worked for and/or districts I’ve worked within have been in literal struggle circumstances relative to academic achievement, institutional health, and well-being, etc. Therefore, I have tried to align systemic practice with earnest humanity to collaborate with others for the purpose of rapid transformation.

Ricky Fountain: Chief Academic Officer Positions Schools To Win

Once a professional track runner, and now a sports performance coach (and a member of Central Michigan University’s Hall of Fame), I share my time, talent, and experience to develop an athlete’s athletic ability, leadership and cognitive skills, and self-esteem. Moreover, I have the opportunity to teach athletes how to handle the physical and psychological demands of sport and life.

Johnie Drake: Sports Performance Coach Helps Athletes Excel In Life

Two weeks after graduating from college, I was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling drugs. I served seven-and-a-half-years of that sentence. Instead of allowing it to define me, I completely turned my life around. I’ve spent the last two decades trying to build my community through the art that I create and the lives I impact through lectures, workshops and now, a community art center.

Jonathon Romain: Fine Artist Envisions A Better Tomorrow For His Community

In 2004, I founded One Vision Productions, an award-winning multimedia production agency specializing in corporate and government video production, aerial drone services, branding and marketing, photography, and graphic design. It is a recipient of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Customer Service and has been named one of Atlanta’s “Best & Brightest Companies to Work For” (2015-2018).

Forrest Tuff: Multimedia Entrepreneur Is Committed To Servant Leadership

As a creative executive and professional, I have the privilege of getting paid to do what I love while making an impact. A career in art can be a parent’s worst nightmare, but I beat the odds and followed my dreams despite the clear obstacles. Art, in return, saved my life and gave me a platform for change. Today, I get the opportunity to help others see that you can be successful in the competitive entertainment field.

Gerald Yarborough: Creative Executive Paves The Way For Creators Of Color

I’ve been doing community work since the age of five. As I grew older, I continued to have a passion for leading and serving others, so I continued to volunteer via community service in many different capacities. Most recently, I released my children’s book There’s A Creature In My Belly, which teaches young children about the greatness within them.

Jared Green: ‘The Dreamer’ Serves New Orleans As A Nonprofit Founder

I am the co-founder of The Hustlers Guild, an organization that uses hip hop to dismantle the inequities in technology by building black/Latinx pipelines within the tech ecosystem. Through strategic partnerships, capacity building, and diversity equity and inclusion consulting, we help companies and organizations recruit and elevate black/Latinx talent.

Kevin Beckford: Hustlers Guild Co-Founder Challenges Inequities In The Tech Ecosystem

I am a food artist and the co-founder of EatGoodNYC, a speciality food art company in New York City. We are known for our unique dessert gifts and our even more unique style incorporating pop culture, art, and fashion in the mix. In 2014, we created the selfie cookie and five years later, its a trend in the culinary world, including a show involving creating selfie cookies on the Food Network.

Benny Emeri: Food Artist Bakes In Fashion And Pop Culture For Unique Desserts

As a scholar-practitioner and a critical race theorist, I rely heavily on articles and books that speak to the experiences of minority students at colleges and universities (i.e. Minority Serving Institutions or Predominately White Institutions). In addition, I rely on the advice of mentors and sponsors who push me to be the best that I can be.

Adriel Hilton: Higher Education Administrator Reaches, Teaches And Mentors Students

I’ve created an entrepreneurial career curriculum that has led to the mentorship of the young and brilliant minds of The Women’s Housing And Economic Development Corporation (WHEDCo), The Boys & Girls Club of America and Brooklyn Community Services (BCS). The program is designed to introduce practical entrepreneurial career steps, including business creation, marketing and monetization of the ideas, to those in elementary school all the way up to college. To date, we’ve served over 900 students.

Castell Barnes: Leveraging Entrepreneurial Career Success To Educate Others

I created a space where annually we spotlight a dozen men of color from around the country who are not only successful in their careers but pursue philanthropy in their communities. Since its inception, we’ve been able to honor entrepreneurs, magazine editors, LGBTQ activists, youth sports coaches, and Fortune 500 executives. Even though the event is a one-night awards program, I can tell that relationships are built, lives are changed, and partnerships are formed as evident by the feedback I receive from participants and attendees.

Aaron Follins: Giving An Ovation In Celebration of Men of Color

By serving as a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, I’ve had the honor of leading several workshops with groups of young men who look just like me. It’s been a rewarding experience. Additionally, as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., one of our initiatives is Go to High School, Go to College, which concentrates on the importance of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement.

Jaylen Christie: Carrying On A Family Tradition of Volunteerism and Service

I am proud of the opportunities I have been afforded to make a difference in the lives of boys and the support I have gained over the years from doing this work. I am most proud of being able to see so many boys develop a greater sense of purpose and learn to live authentically, pushing themselves each day to become more creative.

Brian Harris: Creating Sons of Freedom Through Dance

People often think that creativity is limited to the arts. However, at NEITH we believe that the same ingenuity and spirit of innovation used to make an awesome movie or music video or photo could be employed to inspire the youth, revamp public school curricula or find an effective solution to homelessness.

Ty Hobson-Powell: Creative Entrepreneur On A Mission To Inspire The Youth

By day I work in county government, but my passion is the mentoring program I founded 11 years ago, The Omega Lamplighters, Inc. Our mission is to light a path to success, to empower secondary-school aged youth with the academic and social skills, community connections, and progressive opportunities necessary to ensure their roles as active, educated, and responsible citizens.

Royle King: Lighting A Path To Success for Boys And Young Men

In 2009, I was weeks away from graduating from college with honors and receiving a bachelor’s degree in business management, when I was falsely accused of a crime, arrested, and sent to jail. While I was in jail, I prayed about the situation and promised God that if my case was dismissed, I would take it as a sign that I am supposed to practice law. After my case was dismissed, I kept my promise and after passing the bar exam, I had the judge that presided over my case swear me into the profession.

Kenneth Stephens: From False Imprisonment To Partnering In A Law Firm

In my role as a financial planner, I have the awesome opportunity to help first-generation wealth builders, a lot of whom are black Americans, create generational wealth and legacies for their families. I truly feel that the work I’m doing is helping to close the racial wealth gap.

Delvin Joyce: Financial Planner Promotes Prosperity In The Community

I was always told that your education and experience is worthless unless you go back home and share it. That is something that still resonates with me and, because of it, I do my best to do just that. I am forever grateful for my experience at an HBCU and I try to integrate it in any project I may be working on.

Kent Olden: Media Pro Challenges Himself And Others To Be Better

As the director of strategic planning and performance management for Palm Beach County, I have had the awesome opportunity to work with the Board of County Commissioners, the County Administrator and over 30 departments to establish the strategic priorities, direction, and performance management and improvement that impacts over the 1.4 million residents of Palm Beach County.

Keith A. Clinkscales: A County Manager Engineers Success in Palm Beach

I’ve dedicated my career as an impact investor to educational access and supporting those who have the desire to become entrepreneurs, because I believe there is far too much genius that goes untapped, which is unfair for young people and bad for our economy.

Nasir Qadree: Delivering Results As An Impact Investor

Over the last decade, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to help build stronger and more inclusive local entrepreneurship ecosystems across the country and around the globe. I find great value in working with leaders to identify and connect the various components to create stronger, more inclusive startup communities.

Jason Towns: Creating Inclusive Startup Communities

JOURNi co-founder Richard Grundy helps to lead a nonprofit focused on empowering young Detroiters in underserved communities through tech education, design thinking, and entrepreneurship.

Richard Grundy: Leading Youth On A Tech JOURNi

Founder and CEO of The Yunion, Jason Wilson is a proven champion of healthy masculinity, with over 14 years of experience in training and developing young black men. Under his leadership, The Yunion has effectively reached more than 10,000 youth and young adults in Metro Detroit.

Jason Wilson: Champion of Healthy Masculinity