20 most influential people
Since I am trying 20 this month AND it’s black history month, I posted the most influential black/brown people for 20 days on my instagram (post and stories). In case you missed them, here are the 20 most influential black people in my life or in black culture.
1.) My Father
The first person is my dad! My dad has been someone who has always worked hard for me and my family. He has always pushed me to be better and to go after my dreams. He has been to ALL of my cheerleading competitions and track meets, and wouldn’t miss one for the world. He definitely has helped shape me into who I am today, and I would be lost without my dad.
Black dads get the most hate and criticism for their stereotype of being absent in the family, however, this is just another way to talk negatively about a black man. Let’s celebrate all black dads this month, because they deserve it!
2.) My mother
My mom has of course been someone that was always there and helped shape me to be the person I am today. The discipline and encouragement I received over the years from my mom has helped me become the person I am today, and hope to be tomorrow. Also, my style and taste has definitely developed from my mom.
Shout out to all the black moms, single, married, divorced, etc, You all ROCK!
3.) Michelle Obama
We all know the amazing work Michelle has done as the First Lady, as well as after leaving office. Michelle has sacrificed a lot for her husband and her family, and has done it all while being in the light of her husband’s job. She is a strong and powerful black woman who I admire a lot, and look up to.
4.) Ella Baker
Many do not know the great work Ella Baker has put in during the civil rights era, but without her, many movements would not have happen. Ella Baker did things to involve everyone, to make sure all voices and opinions were heard before making an executive decision. She believed that it didn’t matter if you got the recognition, or who saw your work; as long as it benefitted everyone, and everyones voice was heard.
6.) Coach Nikao
One coach I have had throughout my cheerleading career, was my all time favorite coach, Nikao. He has taught me many life lessons like how to push through hard times, how to dig deeper when you’re ready to give up, how to do things for myself, and to better who I am as a person. I really owe it to Nikao for helping me become the woman I am today, and for being the athlete I am today.
7.) Dr. Jeffries
If you are an Ohio State student, TAKE A CLASS TAUGHT BY DR. JEFFRIES! This is a professor who not only wants to see you succeed, but wants you to learn, understand, and be a better student. He supports all his students, and attends events they are a part of. He works with you on a personal level, and helps you gain knowledge on our history in a fun and enjoyable way. I have learned so much from Dr. J after only one semester, and I can’t wait to take more classes taught by him.
8.) Chase and Kennedy
My niece and nephew have helped me realize how much I want to be better and succeed in life. Watching them grow up and learn, makes me want to be the aunt who is always there for them. I want them to know I am someone they can always rely on, and if they ever need someone, I can be that trusted adult. I am excited to see them grow up into amazing kids and members of this society.
9.) Angela Davis
I have always looked up to Angela Davis. She was always criticized and was seen as a criminal or a “communist” because she stood up for what she believed in. I things Davis has taught me that no matter who is not on your side or no matter how many people want to see you fail, you need to keep pushing and prove to them you are stronger than that. I want to fight for what’s right and be there to stand up for my community because of Angela Davis.
10.) Malcolm X
Of course, Malcolm X has to be on the list. He was around when peaceful protest was hot, and he turned that around and led people down a different path. He knew that self defense and violence was necessary to get white folks to listen to our demands for change. He did what he believed was right, and led many black people to stand up for themselves.
11.) Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is the definition of “how it started versus how it’s going.” She started from nothing, getting denied and doubted, to being the best and praised on how giving she is and how great she is in her career. Oprah has taught me, no matter how many people deny you, keep pushing. It only takes one yes to prove yourself.
12.) Maya Angelo
Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She has worked hard to be well known for her work. Her perseverance has inspired me to be a successful black woman in todays society because of all the hard work and dedication powerful black women like her did before my time.
13.) Claudette Colvin
She was just a girl when she refused to give up her seat on the bus, yet everyone talks about Rosa Parks. Claudette Colvin has taught me that sometimes, your actions won’t always get recognized, and might not be appreciated in history, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t help create history. If it weren’t for her, Rosa Parks may not have been inspired to do the same thing. She started a movement, and helped change history.
14.) Constance Baker
She was the first black female federal judge. Being a judge is something I have had interest in recently, and learning about her experience and her life has motivated me to keep pushing for my goals.
15.) Bryson and Brielle
My older brother and sister are some of the most influential people in my life. They have been there since… literally day one. They have always supported my dreams and decisions, and have helped guide me throughout life. They have been the ones I hope to make the most proud. I am blessed to have such great older siblings, that always look out for me and support me.
16.) Gaby Douglas
After watching Gaby Douglas win the gold in 2012, I have felt like I needed to do more in my athletics. Learning about her life and journey in gymnastics inspired me to keep pushing to be great. No matter where you are born or what you look like, you can achieve anything you dream of.
Lets be real… who hasn’t tried to channel their inner Beyonce at one point in their life? Beyonce is just the queen who has shown the importance of girl power, independence, and unity.
I have made some amazing friends while in college, yet the most influential ones would have to be my black friends. Learning about their different experiences, and how they plan to change the world has inspired me. I hope to make them proud one day, and to be the friend that they can rely, because I know I can rely on them whenever.
19.) Sherly Chisholm
Chisholm was the first black woman elected into congress. As the house member for New York’s 12th district, she fought for gender and racial equality, ending the Vietnam war, and helping the poor. I admire to be like Chisholm because she was the first black woman to be in congress and had a lot of pressure on her to be for the people. She received a lot of criticism for being black and for being a woman, but that didn’t stop her from doing her job.
I know, touché. But I feel like I live this life to not only make my family proud, but to make myself proud. I make sure I push myself to be great, so I feel like I accomplished everything I want to. My end goal is to be happy and live a life with no regrets, and the main influence on that is myself and my own life lessons.
I am now 20 years old, and I wouldn’t have made it this far without all of these amazing, incredible people that have influenced my life in a positive way. I am blessed to have powerful black people in my life to inspire me to be better. Who is someone that has inspired you in your life?
With that being said, I would recommend you to let those know how much you appreciate them. Let people know how much you care, and the impact they have left in your life.