Just ahead of its 75th anniversary, Ebony Magazine announced their 2021 Ebony Power 100 list to honor breakout Black leaders in sports, politics, entertainment, activism and more.
This year, the Power 100 list was swarmed by twenty-something pacesetters like Travis Scott and Lil Baby who have an incredible passion for innovation, culture, and prove the new generation is serious about making change.
“The Ebony Power 100 list is comprised of all-star individuals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who possess an incredible and innate passion for innovation, culture and community leadership – the same values that have driven the Ebony brand for nearly 75 years,” Ebony Media Operations CEO Michael Gibson said.
Check out the young recipients below:
1. Chloe x Halle
There aren’t many other young Black triple threats doing it like Chloe and Halle Bailey. The multi-genre sensations earned mentorship and co-sign from Beyoncé early on. Now, they’re appearing at the VMAs, gracing Met Gala carpets and garnering Grammy buzz for their critically praised 2020 album Ungodly Hour.
But it’s not just about the music. Chloe and Halle’s talents span film and television. Halle is starring as Ariel in the upcoming rendition of The Little Mermaid and both are stars on Freeform series Grown-ish. The Grammy-nominated singers have graced magazine covers and released hit singles like “Do It,” “Down” and “Forgive Me.”
With style and grace, the duo understands every assignment. More importantly, they’re using their platform to speak out about mental health, wellness, body image and social justice. Chloe, especially, has been vocal about the empowerment of Black women.
Impeccable style, flawless vocal talent and new-age creativity, Chloe x Halle’s musical evolution has been nothing short of magic — proving there’s nothing the next generation can’t do.
2. Storm Reid
Storm Reid is best known for her roles in A Wrinkle in Time, When They See Us, The Bravest Knight, Euphoria and more. In just a short time, Reid has made a name for herself as a versatile actress that can transition from Don’t Let Go to The Suicide Squad.
Reid also has quite the entrepreneurial spirit. She’s the producer of the Chop It Up series on Facebook Watch and co-founder of her own production company, A Seed & Wings. What makes Reid a rising star is her ability to inspire young people in the STEM field while being an outspoken voice on relationships, self-care, social injustice and representation.
3. Nae Nae Twins
We’ve all tried to do the viral Megan Thee Stallion dance choreographed by twins, Shayné and Zhané Stanley. With their one million followers, the Nae Nae Twins have carved out their lane as TikTok dancers taking the social space by storm.
It’s not just their synchronized routines that have fans scrolling for hours, but their quickness and precision to songs like Beyoncé’s verse on the “Savage (Remix).” Megan Thee Stallion even took on the challenge. At 26 years old, the twins have reached the masses with their exceptional skills and creativity making them TikTok all-stars.
4. Travis Scott
Houston artist and consistent bop creator Travis Scott is best known for his work with Kanye West’s GOOD Music and T.I.’s Grand Hustle. A producer, rapper and performer, anyone who has seen Scott on stage knows his stage presence is a sight to behold.
Scott has been soaring up the charts since 2015’s “Rodeo.” He kept grinding on platinum singles with Rihanna, SZA and Drake, but Scott’s taking charge and making his impact as a cultural icon and trendsetter in his own right.
5. Lil Baby
You may have heard him on Certified Lover Boy, but the Atlanta rapper, Lil Baby, is best known for songs like “My Dawg,” “Freestyle,” “Yes Indeed” and “Drip Too Hard.” Fans noticed after his jaw-dropping mixtape, Perfect Timing in 2017, featuring vibe-setter Lil Yachty, Baby immediately rose to fame and attracted many listeners with collaborators like Lil Baby and Young Thug. As his mixtape gained more listeners, Lil Baby stayed in the lab churning out hit singles like “My Dawg” and the Young Thug collaboration “Pink Slip” in the summer of 2017.
Lil Baby has recently created a wave of bops with his debut studio album, Harder Than Ever, peaking at the number 3 spot on the U.S. Billboard 200. It’s no wonder this rapper has won several BET awards. The Lyricist of the Year nominee’s song, “Yes Indeed” featuring Drake and topped is already at number six and has a collaborative album, “The Voice of the Heroes,” with Lil Durk deemed “prolific” by BET.
6. Amanda Gorman
We all stopped and stared as this young author and activist gave the inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” for the inauguration of President Biden, but 23-year-old poet laureate Amanda Gorman was already making a name for herself. With work that speaks oppression, feminism, race, marginalization and Black womanhood, Gorman was the first to be named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
She’s released two best-seller poetry collections, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough and The Hill We Climb. The poet’s influential work garners attention and is published widely, winning the OZY Genius Award and The Root’s “Young Futurists” list. Most recently, the author debuted a children’s book titled Change Sings. As she continues to volunteer and be involved in community engagement, Gorman has admitted to having an interest in running for president, and we support that decision.
7. Willow Smith
Whipping her hair isn’t the only thing Willow Smith thrives in. Fearlessness is the name of the game, and Smith has never been afraid to carve out her own path. From being open about her sexuality to breaking the norms of fashion and Black aesthetics, this 20-year-old has been making alternative hits with Roc Nation for the last decade.
With new singles out and a recent rock album, Willow is staying true to her passions. Best known for her presence and conversational starting topics on the hit talk show, Red Table Talk, Smith leads a wave of social change among young voices– shedding light on often taboo issues- hair, sex and body.
This gender-bending rock star is the real deal.
8. Zaila Avant-Garde
Zaila Avant-garde, a Los Angeles native, is the winner of the Scripps Spelling Bee, making her the first Black American to do so. Spelling is just one of Avant-garde’s hobbies. The 14-year-old talented star is also a basketball prodigy with dreams of playing in the WNBA and has her sights on working for NASA one day. Currently, she holds several Guinness World Records for dribbling and has appeared in a commercial with NBA superstar Stephen Curry.
“For spelling, I usually try to do about 13,000 words (per day), and that usually takes about seven hours or so,” the prodigy said.
With over 90,000 followers on Instagram, Avant-Garde is a quickly rising trendsetter.
9. Noah Harris
Noah Harris, a 20-year-old government studies major who dedicated his platform to diversity, inclusion, and student health and wellness, won the election on Nov. 12. A Harvard University junior from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, has become the first Black student body president in the Ivy League university’s 384-year history. Harris told the Jackson Free Press that he is honored to hold the esteemed title, particularly given the events of 2020.
The Ebony Power 100 list is proof that there is nothing young Black voices can’t accomplish. On Oct. 23, Ebony will hold a star-studded awards ceremony to honor award recipients.