Class of 2011 Revealed for TheGrio’s 100: History Makers in the Making

TheGrio kicked off Black History Month by revealing the 2011 class of TheGrio’s 100: History Makers in the Making, which profiles African-American history makers and industry leaders selected by the editorial team from the NBC News-owned site, along with experts and NBC News affiliates.

The United States Marine Corps and AT&T sponsored this year’s class, and members will be profiled across NBC News platforms including NBC Nightly News, Today, MSNBC, CNBC,,, and local NBC affiliates including those in Atlanta; Cleveland; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; St. Louis; Philadelphia; and Charlotte, N.C.

TheGrio also teamed up with foursquare to create a Black History badge, which users can unlock by following TheGrio on foursquare and checking in at more than 100 locations across the country that are historically relevant to Black History Month.

And more information on TheGrio’s 100 is available on its Facebook page and via Twitter under the #thegrios100 hashtag. managing editor David A. Wilson said:

We are extremely excited about the 2011 class of TheGrio’s 100. These are 100 individuals, all with inspiring stories that highlight the challenges African Americans face today. But moreover, these history makers give us great reasons for optimism for our community, and for the country’s future.

The complete list:


Amiya Alexander, 12, CEO, Amiya’s Mobile Dance Academy

Bernard Beal, 56, CEO, M. R. Beal & Co.

Cheryl Dorsey, 47, president, Echoing Green

R. Donahue Peebles, 50, real estate entrepreneur

Jason Few, 44, president, Reliant Energy

Rosalind Brewer, 48, president, Wal-Mart South

John Rice, founder and CEO, Management Leadership for Tomorrow

Kenneth Frazier, 56, CEO, Merck

Lisa Price, 48, creator, Carol’s Daughter

Richard Bennett, 30, Iraq War veteran and CEO, Fidelis


Aaron Shirley, 78, founder, Jackson Medical Mall

Carnell Cooper, 55, trauma surgeon and founder, Violence Intervention Program

Eugene Sawyer, 58, creator, Joy-Southfield Free Clinic

Hydeia Broadbent, 26,AIDS activist

Linda Fondren, 55, founder, Shape Up Vicksburg

Lisa Newman, 51, surgical oncologist

Michelle Obama, 47, founder, “Let’s Move!”

Nia Froome, 19, vegan baker, entrepreneur

Velma Scantlebury, 55, kidney transplant surgeon

Winston Gandy, 50, cardiologist


Cullen Jones, 26, Olympic gold medalist, safe swimming advocate

DeMaurice Smith, 46, executive director, National Football League Players Association

Jason Heyward, 21, baseball player, Atlanta Braves

Kevin Durant, 22, basketball player, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kyle Allums, 21, NCAA transgender basketball player

Mariah Stackhouse, 16, golfer

Mattie Larson, 18, artistic gymnast

Myron Rolle, 24, NFL player and founder, Myron Rolle Foundation

Natalie Randolph, 30, coach, Coolidge High School Football

Terry Kennedy, 25, professional skateboarder

The Arts:

Angela Brown, 47, opera singer

Edwidge Danticat, 42, author

Joshua Bennett, 22, slam poet

Kazem Abdullah, 31, conductor

Kenny Leon, 54, founder and director, The Colors Theater Co.

Monica Haslip, 45, founder, Little Black Pearl Workshop

Robert Battle, 37, artistic director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Sujari Britt, 9, classical cellist

Tanya Hamilton, 41, director, Night Catches Us

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, 24, jazz musician

Popular Culture:

Chanel Iman, 20, model and business owner

Donald Glover, 27, comedian

Isaiah Mustafa, 36, actor

J. Cole, 25, rapper

Janelle Monae, 25, singer

Jay Pharoah, 23, comedian

Michael Kenneth Williams, 44, actor

Nicki Minaj, 26, rapper

Rihanna, 22, singer, songwriter

Viola Davis, 45, actress


Mark Luckie, 27, national innovations editor, The Washington Post

Marve Frazier, chief creative officer, Moguldom Media Group

Tristan Walker, director of business development, foursquare

Bernal Smith, 66, publisher, Tri-State Defender

Bill Burton, 33, White House deputy press secretary

Gabi Gregg, 23, MTV Twitter jockey

Hallerin Hilton Hill, 46, radio host

Lolis Eric Elie, 47, writer and documentarian

Samantha Fennell, 42, executive director, corporate sales and marketing, Time Inc.

Tamron Hall, 40, anchor, MSNBC

Science and Environment:

John Dabiri, biophysicist

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO, Green for All

Adriane Brown, 52, president and CEO, Intellectual Ventures

Andre A. Fenton, 43, neural science professor, NYU

Bernard Harris, 54, founder, The Harris Foundation

Cora Marrett, 68, deputy director, National Science Foundation

Donya Douglas, 40, engineer, NASA

Faye Alexander Nelson, 57, president and CEO, The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Monique Harden, 42, attorney

Njema Frazier, 40, deputy director, Advanced Simulation & Computing, NNCA


Derrell Bradford, Excellent Education for Everyone

Rehema Ellis, correspondent, NBC News

Courtnay Tyus, 40, executive director, Charter High School for Architecture and Design

Dominique Lee, 25, co-founder, BRICK Avon Academy

Jill Scott, 38, musician and founder of Blues Babe Foundation

John Silvanus Wilson Jr., 53, executive director, White House Initiative on HBCUs

Kittie Weston-Knauer, 62, educator and BMX pro racer

Robert Bobb, 50, emergency financial manager, Detroit Public Schools

Tamica Stubbs, 37, teacher, E.E. Waddell High School

Terry Houston, 52, principal, Roosevelt High School


Che “RhymeFest” Smith, rapper and candidate for Chicago City Council

Michael Blake, associate director of African-American outreach, The White House

Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta

Rep. Cedric Richmond, 37, (D-La.)

Rep. Donna F. Edwards, 52, (D-Md.)

Erica Williams, 26, political activist

Rep. Keith Ellison, 47, (D-Minn.)

Rep. Terri Sewell, 46, (D-Ala.)

Wyatt Cenac, 34, correspondent, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Service and Activism:

Cpl. Christina Oliver, 25, U.S. Marine Corps

Decker Ngongang, 29, vice president of programs,

Dale Long, 58, Big Brother

Jwanza Karriem Lightfoot Colvin, 35, pastor

Joshua Williams, 9, activist

La’Shanda Holmes, 25, U.S. Coast Guard aviator

Larry Camel, 58, pastor

Shaun King, 31, pastor and founder, TwitChange

Terrance Roberts, 34, founder and executive director, The Prodigal Son Initiative Inc.

Tracie Washington, 47, president and CEO, Louisiana Justice Institute