Black Influencers That You Should Know On the Forbes 30 Under 30 List

This week, Forbes introduced their annual Forbes 30 under 30 list which consisted of 30 amazing people in 20 industries all under 30 years old, thus a total of 600 bad asses in their respective fields. The list was full of people in the fields of science, media, art, retail, and healthcare just to name a few. Each person that was given the honor of a Forbes 30 under 30 have proven success in their field, and is seen as a transformer, making big moves and impacting the world.

Getting on the Forbes 30 under 30 list is not an easy feat. Some people joke that it’s easier to get into an ivy-league school than making the Forbes 30 under 30 cut. This year, Forbes reportedly received over 15,000 nominations. After combing through the 15,000 nominations and discussing it over with many judges, editors, and experts, Forbes had their special selection of honorees. Out of this selection, #BlackExcellence was glowing and spreading #MelaninMagic everywhere.

Below is a quick list of Black professionals that made the list. 


Art & Style

Sklyer Grey

Age: 16

Occupation: Artist (“his work can be seen on murals all over the world including Dubai and Abu Dhabi”)

Tschabalala Self

Age: 26

Occupation: Artist (“she uses painting. printmaking and textiles stitched to canvas to communicate her ideas of the Black female body”)


Nicole Cardoza

Age: 27

Occupation: Entrepreneur,  founder of Yoga Foster (“she is focused on using yoga as a mindfulness tool for social-emotional learning issues many low-income kids face”)

Mendell Grinter

Age: 25

Occupation: Founder of Campaign for School Equity (“he is looking to expand high-quality education options across Tennessee, starting in Memphis and Nashville”)

Jacob & Marie Allen

Age: 28 & 27

Occupation: Cofounders of pilotED Schools (“their program has resulted in a 93% high school graduation rate, 88% reduction in suspensions and 28% increase in attendance”)

Jeffery Martin

Age: 25

Occupation: Cofounder of honorCode (“his program offers free curriculum and training for students and teachers and empowers K-12 schools to teach technical and soft skills”)

Evin Robinson

Age: 26

Occupation: Cofounder of New York on Tech (“his program creates pathways for underrepresented students to thrive in technology and innovation”)

Tamara Wilkerson

Age: 26

Occupation: Executive Director of African American Teaching Fellows (“Wilkerson is striving to change the race ration of the public school instruction system”)


Anthony Diamond

Age: 29

Occupation: Cofounder of Axiom Energy (“his business sells a system that enables supermarkets to store up cold at night when power is cheaper”)

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna

Age: 18

Occupation: Student at Harvard University (the student was a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search and discovered something critical that would impact offshore oil wells)


David Smalling

Age: 29

Occupation: Director of BlackRock (“his group uses quantitative models to trade across asset classes for a $6 billion hedge fund”)

Food & Drink

Jen Martin

Age: 28

Occupation: Cofounder of Pipsnacks LLC (Jen and her brother started this business with $3,000 in the bank and later received a deal on Shark Tank)

Kwame Onwuachi

Age: 27

Occupation: Chef/Owner of The Shaw Bijou (fun-fact, this kitchen mastermind has a CIA degree under his belt)


Lishan AZ

Age: 26

Occupation: Game Designer and student at the University of Southern California (she designs games to help new students explore USC campus)

Jasmine Lawrence

Age: 25

Occupation: Program Manager II, Microsoft (she creates social experiences for gamers)

Josh Watson

Age: 29

Occupation: eSports Operation Manager at Psyonix (he is a leading game developer attracting more than 1 million viewers)

Hollywood & Entertainment

Denee Benton

Age: 25

Occupation: Actress (“she received praise for her portrayal of a Black Lives Matter activist in the second season of Lifetime’s “UnREAL.”

Quinta Brunson

Age: 27

Occupation: Development Partner at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures (she started her career by going viral with the ‘he got money’ Vine video)

Kiersey Clemons

Age: 23

Occupation: Actress (she is working on a role in “The Flash” and “Justice League”)

RJ Cyler

Age: 21

Occupation: Actor (he is starring in the new “Power Rangers” film as the blue ranger)

Trevante Rhodes

Age: 26

Occupation: Actor (he’s starred in “Westworld” and “Moonlight”)

Ashton Sanders

Age: 21

Occupation: Actor (he received his big break starring in “Moonlight”)

LaKeith Stanfield

Age: 25

Occupation: Actor (he is getting ready for a role with Brad Pitt in “War Machine”)

Justice Smith

Age: 21

Occupation: Actor (you may remember him from the Netflix series “The Get Down)

Samira Wiley

Age: 29

Occupation: Actress (you may remember her has Poussey in “Orange is the New Black” – RIP to her character on the show, OITNB will never be the same)

Law & Policy

Jamira Burley

Age: 28

Occupation: National Deputy Millennial Vote Director for Hillary for America (“she once served under Mayor Michael Nutter as the youngest executive director in Philadelphia’s history”)

Johnetta Elzie & Sam Sinyangwe

Age: unknown

Occupation: Cofounders of Campaign Zero (their platform address police violence and is a part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement)

Svante Myrick

Age: 29

Occupation: Mayor (he was elected the Mayor of Ithaca at the age of 34)

Manufacturing & Industry

Cam Murphy

Age: 29

Occupation: Managing Director of FEAM (his company his family-owned and provides maintenance service to domestic and international air carriers)


Rhonesha Byng

Age: 27

Occupation: CEO of HerAgenda (her platform brings together women of all ages, races, and backgrounds)

Ashley Ford

Age: 29

Occupation: Development Executive of Web Series & Video at Matter Studios (she is currently co-editing a book of stories from rape survivors with Roxane Gay)

Yaa Gyasi

Age: 27

Occupation: Author (her novel earned her a seven-figure advance)

Greg Howard

Age: 28

Occupation: David Carr Fellow at New York Times Magazine (he covers issues concerning race, sports, politics, and media)


Bibi Bourelly

Age: 22

Occupation: Musician (she’s the writer behind Rihanna’s “Bi*&% Better Have My Money)


Age: 19

Occupation: Musician (he received his big break after releasing “Panda”


Age: 25

Occupation: Musician (Elton John is a fan of his music and “loses it” every time he hears his voice)

Frankie Hutchinson

Age: unknown

Occupation: Cofounder of Discwoman (along with her cofounders, they have produced events from Mexico to Berlin and worked with over 150 DJs and producers)


Age: 29

Occupation: Musician (he got his big break after releasing the song “Birthday Sex” in 2009)

Tory Lanez

Age: 24

Occupation: Musician (his recent single earned him a Grammy nomination for Best R&B song)

Justine Skye

Age: 21

Occupation: Musician (she recently signed with Roc Nation and will be releasing an album soon)

La Mar Taylor

Age: 26

Occupation: Creative Director for The Weeknd (he brought in an impressive $55 million just last year)

Bryson Tiller

Age: 23

Occupation: Musician (he is a rapper-singer, giving us a mixture of Trey Songz, Usher, and Drake vibes with his hits)

Lil Yachty

Age: 19

Occupation: Musician (he received his big break after his track “Minnesota” aired on Drake’s OVO Sound Beats 1 show)

Retail & E-Commerce

Muhga Eltigani

Age: unknown

Occupation: Cofounder of NaturAll Club (she quit law school to work on her business, which is a subscription service, providing women of color with hair products)


Timothy Downing

Age: 29

Occupation: Assistant Professor at the University of California, Irvine (he has made scientific discoveries that has impacted biomedical engineering)

Olivier Noel

Age: 28

Occupation: Cofounder of DNAsimple (his business “helps accelerate genetic research)

Social Entrepreneurs

Sixto Cancel

Age: 24

Occupation: CEO of Think of Us (his platform helps “foster youth navigating their transition into adulthood)

Quardean Lewis-Allen

Age: 29

Occupation: Founder of Made in Brownsville (he started his agency to “combat the high levels of unemployment and lack of education of young people in his neighborhood”)

Kwami Williams

Age: 25

Occupation: Cofounder of MoringaConnect (his company has “planted over 270,000 trees and provided over $415,000 of income to 2,300 farming families in Ghana”)

Daquan Oliver

Age: 24

Occupation: Founder of WeThrive (his company “pairs middle-school students living in low-income communities with college students for a year long after-school entrepreneurship program”)

Marlo Jovan Shaw & Jason Terrell

Age: 27, 26

Occupation: Cofounders of Profound Gentlemen (fun fact: these two cofounders met as roommates while doing Teach for America and came up with the idea for their platform)


Odell Beckham Jr.

Age: 24

Occupation: Wide Receiver for New York Giants (he has endorsement deals with Nike, Head and Shoulders, and Foot Locker just to name a few)

Martellus Bennett

Age: 29

Occupation: Tight End for New England Patriots (besides playing football, he is also the founder of a creative firm, author of a children’s book, and is working on a line of toys)

Simone Byles

Age: 19

Occupation: Gymnast, Team USA (she is a 4-time Olympic gold medal winner and a 10-time world championship gold medal winner)

Draymond Green

Age: 26

Occupation: Forward for Golden State Warriors (fun fact: he made the second largest donation ever by an active athlete to a former school)

Kyrie Irving

Age:  24

Occupation: Point Guard for Cleveland Cavaliers (besides making an impressive earning with the NBA, he also earns roughly $5 million from his partnership with Nike and Skullcandy)

Sydney Leroux

Age: 26

Occupation: Forward for FC Kansas City (she has partnerships with EA, Nike, and Nestle just to name a few)

Von Miller

Age: 27

Occupation: Outside Linebacker for Denver Broncos (he is currently the highest-paid defensive player in the history of the NFL)

Nneka Ogwumike

Age: 26

Occupation: Power Forward for Los Angeles Sparks (she is best known for being the WNBA MVP in 2016)

Shakur Stevenson

Age: 19

Occupation: Boxer, Team USA (Stevenson just turned pro, and signed with Floyd Mayweather’s former manager)

Nigel Sylvester

Age: 29

Occupation: BMX rider (“Nigel has claimed sponsorships from Nike, Beats By Dre, New Era, Animal Bikes and Casio Watches”)


*all images were retrieved from Forbes and Google Images*