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The Quintessential Gentleman's 2021 Powerlist

Some people use their power to corrupt, and some use their power to inspire. Some flex their power selfishly for their own self-interest and self-gain, and some flex their power to break down glass ceilings and be a beacon of light for those who need to see themselves on levels they dream to reach. Society has told Black men that we are not worthy of success. We are boxed in by limited minds, only to constantly be judged and stereotyped. There is a lot to be said about how we are viewed, but we know that we are Kings. We know that we can excel beyond what many may think of us.

The power of the 15 Black men represented on our 2021 Powerlist understand that with power, truly comes great responsibility, and each of these men consistently rise to the occasion. They understand that representation matters. They understand that when doors are open, their hands should reach out to help and lift up others. Before these men reached their success, there was a moment when they knew the power that they possessed. In those moments, these men realized and leaned into their purpose. From those that know the power of education to visibility, to using their voice for change and realizing the importance of mental health, our 2021 honorees, represent the best of us, while still building their careers and paving the way for a future that looks to change the narrative that society has told about us.

The Power of Financial Freedom

James Cole Jr. - Chairman, CEO of Jasco Management Group

Being a history maker is no easy feat, yet James Cole Jr. has accomplished history-making achievements twice. He was the first Black person to make partner at the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and most recently he became the first Black queer man to serve on the board of directors of a Fortune 500 company by way of the finance and insurance company, AIG.

When did you know the Power of Financial Freedom?

I grew up poor on the South Side of Chicago, often wondering when the lights would next be turned off, or being thankful to the church mothers who sent food home with us every Sunday. I first learned the power of financial freedom when I no longer worried about my basic necessities, but instead focused on how I could help create opportunities for our community, including reducing the racial wealth gap.

What can we look forward to next from you?

What’s next is me leaning in on social justice and civil rights. That includes amplifying and becoming more directly engaged in the work of organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, with a focus on racial and economic injustice. It also includes The Jasco Group's continued focus on investing in startups and films founded or created by people of color.

The Power of Education

Dr. Steve Perry - Educator, Author, T.V Personality, Head of Capital Preparatory School

Education is said to be our right, but too often the story of a great education leaves those in our communities without access. Dr. Steve Perry is the voice of a generation, fighting for disadvantaged children and families for thirty years. His impact is profound and varied and displays no signs of slowing down. Perry is an educator, author, and TV personality who served as a CNN educator contributor. He was also the host of TV One's hit show Save My Son, a reality show that featured parents who wanted to keep their sons from becoming another disheartening statistic, and most recently premiered a CBS 2 week daytime talk show special Breakthrough With Dr. Steve Perry.

When did you know the Power of Education?

As a child, it was clear that education was important because the wealthy white kids seemed to have access to it, but none of the kids in my housing project did. Witnessing that, I realized all that education could do, that's when I knew.

What can we look forward to next from you?

We are super excited about what’s to come. We’re expanding the Capital Preparatory Schools. The demand has made it necessary. I will be featured in the season and series finale of Iyanla Vanzant’s, Fix My Life. I am also proud of the new book I’m working on as well as our new Facebook Live podcast series Know Dumb Questions. Our team is committed to growing to support our community.

The Power of Taste

Donavan Woodley - Chef, Event Curator

We all know the joy that comes with great food while enjoying the company of great people. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put a halt to many occasions that should have been celebrated with food and laughter. Chef Donavan found a way to still bring great-tasting food to those who needed it, by launching The Weekender. A food delivery platform with a mission to provide original delectable fresh food with quality service, that translates his love for food into memorable edible stories.

When did you know the Power of Taste?

One family function my uncle and Nana were arguing about a game of Pitty Pat. They went back and forth for what seemed like hours, but suddenly my Nana got up and went to the kitchen for 20 minutes. The game was at a halt for so long. At one point, someone called out so loud that it silenced the house of 15 people, all wondering what was going on. Those nearest the kitchen started to chatter in excitement as Nana was returning with her famous butter cake with cream cheese frosting. If a great piece of cake could calm my family down during an intense card game, I knew from then on food could be/do ANYTHING!

What can we look forward to next from you?

Some chef collaborations and more visual projects are cooking up. I think it’s important to commune with Black chefs and tell our stories. Hopefully, the project is received well and we can connect with chefs from all over the country. This pandemic has really shown the need for a stronger sense of community in the culinary world.

The Power of Networking

Daniel Calderon - Entrepreneur, Founder, Entrepreneurs Of Tomorrow

Being able to be a master in making genuine connections takes work. It is an art that Daniel Calderon has prioritized and could teach a course in. He has run a $300 million-grossing district for Target as a Human Resources Business Partner. As an entrepreneur, he has launched companies that created spaces for those who look like him, all while amplifying the voices of those who often go unheard. These are no small accomplishments, and if it wasn't for his networking abilities, who knows if his vision would come to fruition.

When did you know the Power of Networking?

Throughout my life, elders have taught me that growth happens when nurtured in a fertile environment. I try my best to apply this to every relationship –– business or personal. The power of networking is proven, and I think more so, building positive relationships is what separates social climbers from powerful allies in business and friendship.

What can we look forward to next from you?

We will launch the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Summer 2021 for high school internship applications. Our team is excited about the fantastic plans they've cooked up for our studio this year. We are looking forward to welcoming a high-powered cohort of youthpreneurs to produce a stellar virtual show focused on community building.

The Power of Visibility

Dezmon Gilmore - Founder, The PR Collective

People think being in the field of public relations is all about glitz and glamour. We think of red carpets and being around celebrities but anyone who is doing the work knows that this is not the case. Public relations at its core is about visibility, and for Dezmon Gilmore, visibility in areas that we do not often see ourselves is vital. Visibility equals representation and that holds power.

When did you know the Power of Visibility?

I knew the power of visibility when I started yielding my presence as a tool to evoke change. I'm grateful to have been able to sit in a multitude of high-profile jobs in my 10-year career, many of which I've been the only Black, Male, or LGBTQ+ voice in the room. Often I had to be the voice that spoke for issues that were unthought of by my counterparts. Being visible brought changes to programs, funding choices, talent partnerships, and even organizational perspectives.

What can we look forward to next from you?

I want to continue to grow in the film and TV industry. I want to continue to shape culture using my voice and being a bridge for those who follow in my footsteps. In my new role at Amazon, I'm looking forward to building awareness for not only my projects but also help shift the way we see the world by adding diverse perspectives and thought-provoking narratives into my campaigns.

The Power of Art

Emmanuel Kolawole - Portrait Artist

Art has always been a pillar in society. Black art has served as an outlet that has helped shape our communities, as well as reflect our beauty, struggles, and triumphs. For portrait artist Emmanuel Kolawole, art is a way for him to harness the power he knows he has. As his fan base grows, so do his aspirations, hoping that he can continue to show us in all of our glory.

When did you know the Power of Art?

I have always loved to draw, but in 2017, I began to see from the works of artists I looked up to (and still look up to) how powerful and how loud the voice of art could be on real-life issues. It was then that my art began to span beyond just being a hobby to being a voice. I discovered the power of art and this discovery took me beyond being a regular portrait-for-cash artist to being a conceptual hyperrealist.

What can we look forward to next from you?

More conceptual and expressive pieces of art. Continuing to push to host art shows and grow as an artist.

The Power of Ownership

Michael Cassey - Entrepreneur, Founder, Negritube Media Enterprises

The tide seems to be turning when it comes to our community realizing that it is time to work towards generational wealth and ownership. Black men are looking to close the gap when it comes to owning their own businesses and entrepreneur Michael Cassey has been making it his goal to show that we are more than just athletes and rappers.

When did you know the Power of Ownership?

I knew the power of ownership when I first decided that I wanted to pick up a pair of clippers. I’ve been cutting hair since I was 12 years old and I am now 43, and I own my own barbershop in Hollywood called The Funhouse Barbershop. I truly discovered the power of ownership when I made this realization that I can lend an ear to our youth, and inspire and encourage them to a new way of thinking. To that end, I have made it my obligation to become the type of businessman who works with supporting my fellow people in the African- American community. I believe that we need to uplift and support each other and I can inspire that positive way of thinking within my community.

What can we look forward to next from you?

I have created a publishing company called Negritube Media Enterprises that publishes original screenplays and teleplays from African-American writers who traverse the topic of racism and I represent them in getting their work greenlit and turned into movies and TV shows. The original intellectual property we create will have the option of being invested in by donors to the books who will receive residuals from the movies and shows airing across media and digital platforms. I am also opening a dinner-themed adventure experience called Black Hero Theater where you watch African-American superheroes traverse a perilous world and are taught Black history through the characters and backstories, while you eat vegan soul food and listen to a band play an original soulful score.

The Power of Health & Fitness

Corey Calliet - Celebrity Trainer

Health & Fitness shouldn't be a trend, it should be transformative, and for trainer Corey Calliet, he understands the power of truly making a healthy lifestyle a habit. His approach is world-renowned, and that's why our favorite Hollywood stars turn to him to get them in tip-top shape, not only for their next movie role but to change their lives for the better.

When did you know the Power of Health and Fitness?

I noticed the power of health and fitness when I transformed my body, which in turn transformed my life!

What can we look forward to next from you?

You can look forward to my fitness app, which will be coming to market soon, as well as my new athleisure line ACHV! Also, you will see me in a few short films and my cameo appearance in the upcoming Amazon film, Without Remorse, as a navy seal!

The Power of Your Voice

Cirilo Mangeo III - CIO, Black With No Chaser

With America seemingly being in a state of deep division, now more than ever it is important for us to speak up and speak out on injustices, inequality, and overall social illnesses that we continue to witness. Our voice matters and how we choose to use our voice is important to continue to evoke change. Cirilo Mangeo III understands the power in finding your voice, and as he continues to grow Black With No Chaser as a premier platform to be unapologetically Black. His voice has helped guide others to clarity on the issues we face in government and beyond.

When did you know the Power of Your Voice?

It's hard to exactly say when I knew or understood or even appreciated the power of my voice. If I'm being honest, power is such a funny term to me. Inherently, it denotes that one has power over someone or something – even another voice. For the longest time, I've stood in the gap for people that felt voiceless, or at least, I imagined that was part of my purpose. It's one of the salient reasons for me attending law school, but it wasn't until recently that I began to believe in the "power of [my] voice." In short, there's a bit of a dichotomy here. On one hand, we have the word 'knew'. On the other hand, we have the word 'believe'. The two could not be any more different as it pertains to my voice. The former symbolizes the potential energy one possesses to effectuate change; the latter is the fuel that ignited the passion inside of me that has given me the green light to finally walk in my purpose. Therefore, the only power I have, if any, is to control what I can control. Nothing more, nothing less.

What can we look forward to next from you?

Be on the lookout for E.P.I.C (Either Person is Correct) - The Podcast, a podcast inspired by the love for conversation and seeking an outlet to harbor thoughts with someone who may think differently than you. It is my hope that people develop a genuine connection to two people, who often agree to disagree but are best of friends, in a world where people are becoming more distant –ironically, the more social we become. In addition, Black With No Chaser is here to stay. So if you are not following us, well, what are you waiting for?

The Power of Mental Health

Pervis Taylor - Celebrity Life Coach, Author

We all know when the topic of mental health is discussed, Black men are often left out of the discussion. Pervis Taylor has made it his mission to enlighten those that look like him on the importance of their mental health. The author and life coach often speaks on our healing and the steps that we can adopt in our daily lives to prioritize our happiness.

When did you know the power of mental health?

I knew the power of mental health when I found myself in a crisis of the soul, spirit and mind. It was in that space that I discovered that healing and thriving was possible. Through therapy, prayer and other modalities, I learned to unlock my potential. It has become my passion to let men of color know that they can be liberated from being imprisoned within their minds and live their most maximized lives.

What can we look forward to next from you?

Currently, I am writing a new book on healing in Black men, and guest lecturing at universities. And of course, continuing to be great.

The Power of Community Organizing

Perrin Bostic - Regional Representative For U.S Senator Raphael Warnock

Georgia was on everyone’s mind this past January, when Democratic challengers, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock campaigned against their Republican opponents in a runoff election that would determine control of the U.S Senate. With the world watching, both Ossoff and Warnock won their races, helping to secure what we hope to be a brighter future. The win for Democrats in Georgia took the work of many people and organizations. The results of this election, more than any other, showed our community our political power, and it took organizers like Perrin Bostic to help us change the course of this country.

When did you know the Power of Community Organizing?

Community organizing is about building power, and I first learned the power of community organizing in 2008 when our country elected Barack Obama, as our first Black President. During the election cycle, there was a concerted effort to engage people and create a sense of what can be unburdened by the past. Black, Brown, and young people participated in previously unprecedented levels. Because of community organizing, we achieved social transformation through representation and policy. Millions of Americans now have healthcare through President Obama’s key legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

What can we look forward to next from you?

My next move is to make Georgia healthier, safer, and more just by serving as an Outreach Specialist for newly elected U.S Senator Raphael Warnock.

The Power of Giving Back

Terence Lester - Founder, Love Beyond Walls

There are many ways to give back. We could volunteer our time to charitable organizations, we could donate and we could lend our expertise in areas that help promote uplifting those less fortunate, amongst many other ways. For Terence Lester, he decided to start his non-profit organization, Love Beyond Walls. The movement of doers seeks to bring awareness to those who are less fortunate in different charitable ways.

When did you know the Power of Non-Profit?

I knew the power of the non-profit after my very first campaign. I lived underneath the bridges on two separate accounts for about a month total. During this time, I made a lot of friends. There was one friend, Robert, who gave his life to Jesus underneath the bridge after the two of us were having a conversation. Around that time, I was speaking at a church and I asked Robert if he wanted to go. My sermon was about the power of serving and being close to people and before the service began, I was in the back with one of the pastors. I told him, “my friend is here and he just gave his life to Christ”. At that moment, the pastor asked if my friend wanted to be baptized. During the service, I had the chance to baptize Robert. I knew the power of the non-profit when I saw how people offered their gifts to help Robert when hearing his story. We were able to help him get off the streets and reunite with his 12-year-old daughter. Robert and I are about the same age and at the young age of 12 years old, he was given drugs from his mother. Fast forward to 2014, we were able to walk him through his situation and see him overcome the plight of homelessness. The power is in how much we can do for a person and how we can empower a person. When people come together, amazing things happen.

What can we look forward to next from you?

Our organization is working on a docu-series called Find Your Why. This 4-part docu-series is about how to find your piece of the puzzle in life and use it to benefit the greater picture. Using your gifts starts with knowing what they are, then you can connect with a community of people who will help you use and grow your gifts but like anything in life, there will be obstacles. Oftentimes, these obstacles put us in a better position, and in the end, we hope to see the difference we can make in the lives of others. With Find Your Why, we hope to convey a message that will motivate people to find their purpose and how it can be used to make a difference. I believe our purpose as an organization is to mobilize people and empower them to make positive change. This docu-series will help us raise more leaders who will be trailblazers for generations to come.

The Power of Activism

Frederick Joseph - Author, Activist, Philanthropist

With the amount of political divide and systemic oppression that America is built on, it has always taken special people to fight on the behalf of those who need it. Marginalized communities continue to suffer, constantly needing justice and equality in all aspects of their lives. Activism holds power, and if it wasn't for activism, the progress that has been made, would not have been possible. Author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Black Friend; On Being A Better White Friend, Frederick Joseph, has used the power of social media, his words, and his empathy to enhance his activism and push for change, which is often met with hate from those who are unable to accept the tide that is turning.

When did you know the Power of Activism?

I knew the power of activism early on. Being from New York, we have a long history with activism, especially as it relates to Black liberation. I still remember going down to Harlem as a boy and just listening to some of the older folks talk about Malcolm X, Zora Neale Hurston, and so many others who were activists in various ways. I wanted to live up to what they did for us -- I still do.

What can we look forward to next from you?

I hope I keep doing my part in paving a way for Black people to truly be free. I hope my upcoming books and ability to leverage storytelling and digital impact through marketing help me do so. There is more work to be done than many can comprehend, but walls don't fall if we aren't pushing. I suppose that is a long way of saying I'm going to do whatever I'm called to do next, beyond writing I'll continue to try and meet the moments as they come.

The Power of The Look

Christopher Collie - Founder, The Black Fashion Congress

You have to look the part and then some, and for Chris Collie, also known as Fashion’s Guy NY, he embodies this concept as he navigates the fashion industry. As the obstacles that Black people face in fashion from designers to models continue to come to light, Collie has been a staple, helping to promote the positive changes needed.

When did you know the Power of The Look?

I understood the power of the look when I first entered the fashion industry. My look gave me a great advantage in fashion and business. Most people always hear the expression, dress for the job you want and not the job you have. However, my mentality is, there is no such thing as overdressed.

What can we look forward to next from you?

What I have coming up besides my consulting firm (Fashions Guy NY), which celebrated its 20th year in October of 2020, is my own eponymous lifestyle brand, Chris Benjamin, a non-profit that advocates for Black and Brown creatives within the fashion industry and those looking to be successful in the field called The Black Fashion Congress. Lastly, a multi-vertical online platform where Black and Brown creatives have an integrated social media network as well as a multi-vendor marketplace, The Onyx Vision.

The Power of The Hustle

Lorenzo Gordon - CEO & Founder, Humbl Hustle Group

Hustle Culture can be toxic when money is the priority instead of creating solutions and effecting change. Lorenzo Gordon is using his love for the hustle to create that effective change in the lives of others, as he builds community around his lifestyle brand, Humbl Hustle Group.

When did you know the Power of The Hustle?

In 2017, I was able to turn an idea into reality simply by creating a plan, investing in my brand, betting on myself and doing good business. In that moment, I knew the power of The Hustle. Knowing yourself and not letting your self-worth be contingent upon the highs and lows of everyday life and career are keys to longevity in and general stability in life. Throughout this journey, I’ve learned Humbl Hustling requires dedication, focus, hard work, and is far from constant glamour.

What can we look forward to next from you?

More collaborations, podcasts and event activations.


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