This year there have been many celebrities and people with influence who have entertained us, some who have challenged us and fewer who have lead by example. And those few are the ones who have actually inspired us. To inspire means to provide one with optimism and motivate others to do something (usually positive.
Since this year has come to a close, Monarch would like to give a nod of appreciation to those who encouraged us to follow our hearts and stay true to our purpose. These individuals are all different and from various backgrounds, as well as various industries. But all share one thing in common – each person has inspired us to be greater than we were yesterday!
As a mentor, activist and philanthropist, Bond founded Black Girls Rock! The annual Black Girls Rock! Awards were created to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and who stand out as inspirational and positive role models in their community. Past honorees of Black Girls Rock! include: Queen Latifah, Bethann Hardison, Erykah Badu, Iman, Susan L. Taylor, Common and many more.
The basketball player, businessman and author was born Earvin Johnson, Jr. Today, he is chairmanand CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), which provides services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and under-served urban communities. His conglomerate is comprised of multiple business entities and partnerships that include Canyon Johnson, a $1 billion real estate fund; Yucaipa Johnson, a $500 million dollar private equity fund; ASPIRE, a new African American television network; SodexoMAGIC, Magic Airport Holdings, Best Buy, T.G.I. Friday’s Restaurant, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, Detroit Venture Partners and Vibe Holdings, LLC. Johnson is also the chairman of the multi-cultural media company that houses the VIBE, Uptown, and Soul Train brands. Oh, and let us not forget Starbucks. He will not stop until he owns the world!
As the forty-fourth first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has focused her attention on issues such as the support of military families, helping working women balance career and family and encouraging national service. Ever conscious of diet and health, Michelle Obama has supported the organic food movement, instructing the White House kitchens to prepare organic food for guests and her family. Her Let’s Move initiative was followed by a book as part of her mission to promote healthy eating: American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America.
Bill Clinton has done enough things to fill this entire magazine, but the most inspiring thing he did this year, was his speech at the Democratic National Convention. The speech he delivered, made all who listened understand the importance of deciding wisely on who the next commander and chief would be, and know that Bill Clinton was and is a force to be reckoned with!
Kevin Hart exploded onto the scene as one of the most versatile comedic actors in both television and film; and he’s making history. The funniest comedian in America this year is fresh off his release, Think Like a Man, which grossed over $90 million in theaters. Also in 2012 fans across America witnessed Hart and his hilarious, side-splitting comedy in his nationwide tour, Let Me Explain, in which Hart traveled to nearly 100 US and international cities in both Europe and Africa.
Ocean is a producer, composer, singer, first gay rapper, solo act and member of super group Odd-Future. He turned his wave into a tsunami this year by not only crafting hits for two of the most dominant forces in hip hop: Jay and Kanye, but dropping his own stellar album. And on top of all that, Ocean says his most accomplished moment is revealing his first true love to be a man.
Host of CNN’s “Starting Point” and Co-Founder of the Soledad O’Brien & Brad Raymond Foundation, producer of “Who is Black in America” and recipient of the Catalyst Award in honor of her exceptional track record in the media. O’Brien continues to break open new doors and increase dialogue that destroys stereotypes and increases understanding of all races and genders.
Douglas is the first African American to win gold in the individual all around event, better known as The Flying Squirrel, she has been featured in Time magazine and Sports Illustrated.
Adversity has placed a heavy challenge on this self taught chef, who survived gangs, drugs and prison to go on become a world renowned leading chef. Appearing on various TV shows and anointed by Oprah, Chef Jeff is taking the culinary world by storm.
Minaj has definitely entered into the lane of female rapper and in a short time has owned it! The four-time Grammy nominee and winner of MTV’s “Best Female Video”, launched a nail polish line, in support of AIDS research, graced the cover of the New Yorker and Vogue, performed at 2012 Super Bowl and opened at the NBA All- Star Game: and this is only one year!
Gunned down by a racist, Martin did not die that day. His spirit grew large enough to ignite the nation to come together to demand justice. This display of unity raised to the surface the hidden race issues in America. Challenging the world to look at the facts and stand up to abolish hate and prevent future incidents based on stereotypes and hate, Trayvon’s message lives on!
As this year’s more famous weight loss champion, Hudson has transformed herself as well as many others. She delivered an iconic performance on the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in February. This and her many accomplishments have led to her receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The actress who was famed by the film, Precious, has been cast in White Bird in a Blizzard, a drama involving a young woman and her mother’s disappearance. That cast includes Law & Order: SVU alum, Christopher Meloni.
This amazing actress has a considerable body of work but only skyrocketed into a household name with her role in the past years’ film, The Help. Davis has thrown another stone in breaking down the invisible walls that Hollywood enforces against dark skinned sisters.
The most valuable sixth man in the league. If you are on the court this is the wing man you would want in the paint with you..
Ramsey exploits include painting murals and directing big budget animation film, Rise of the Guardians is not only Ramsey’s feature directorial debut, but its release also marks the first time a big budget PG_rated animated film has been directed by an African American.
Felix was named the female athlete of the year by the International Association of Athletics Federation. At this year’s Olympics the sprinter took home three gold medals: the 200-meter race, and was part of the relay teams who won the 4×100- meter and 4×400-meter races.
With a congregation of over 30,000, Bishop Jakes has a portfolio as diverse as his congregation. Utilizing the Potter’s House, films, books and music to spread the Lord’s gospel, TD Jakes is definitely bringing the message to the people!
Already a TV star, this King of Comedy and syndicated radio host, has added some other major accomplishments: developing his self penned book, Think Like a Man, into a number one hit movie and becoming the talk show host for the infamous TV series, Family Feud! It’s safe to say that this is a great year for Steve Harvey!
Declared the greatest female player of all time, this year Williams won her fifth Wimbledon. She is quite the business woman as well, designing clothing for Puma, Nike and her own fashion line: Aneres. Her credits also include stake owner in the Miami Dolphins franchise.
Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
Roberts is the co-anchor of Good Morning America after Diane Sawyer left to anchor ABC World News Tonight, Under their partnership the Roberts-Stephanopoulos team led Good Morning America back to the top of the ratings and became the number one morning show again after beating the TODAY show in the ratings in April 2012 for the first time in sixteen years. Roberts was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the hall’s class of 2012 for her contributions to and impact on the game of women’s basketball through her broadcasting work.
The third African American mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Booker raised the national profile of Newark, contributed to the documentary Miss Representation, commenting on women in politics within media. He also encouraged Mark Zuckerberg creator of Facebook to donate a whopping $100 million to the Newark School System and single-handedly saved a woman from a house fire, where he suffered smoke inhalation and second degree burns on his hands.
Ambrose has a personality as fantastic as her fashion sense! She has launched a new show, Styled by June, transforming her clients from the inside out!
This housewife has moved on up! Gracing the cover of EBONY magazine, as well as a noted appearance in Vogue, Leakes has went from a reality star to a reoccurring role in the new NBC show The New Normal.
Smalls has accomplished top tier positions within the modeling industry and continues to make serious strides as she is named the ninety-ninth most desirable woman.