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The Quintessential Gentleman's 2023 Power List

Seven years ago, The Quintessential Gentleman started out as a blog to help change the narrative of Black men. Throughout history, we were always told who we were. As times have changed, society is now being introduced to all of who Black men can be. We have proven ourselves time and time again, breaking free of the limitations placed on us.


The gentlemen that are represented on our Power List 2023 have blazed their own paths and broken the glass ceiling in their own right. From entrepreneurs to on-air personalities, the men on this list are building the lives they see for themselves while helping to change the narrative for Black men. They are talented, brave and illustrate the best of us. These men are fighting power while embodying “power to the people.”


Adrian Richardson

Company: Google

Position: Sr. Content Strategist

Instagram: @Adrianfit.co

Twitter: @Adrianfit_co


Photo Credit: Justin Gilbert

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


When I think of power, I think of physical strength, determination and independence. Being powerful means putting your health and longevity first, following your own path and not being swayed by others, and designing and striving for a life that is fulfilling.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


I reclaimed my power by believing in myself and my ability to succeed. I did not and do not let closed doors stop me from continuing to move forward, and I set realistic goals and create a plan to achieve them.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


When in doubt, trust yourself and know that you haven’t come this far by accident. You can, and will succeed, but you have to believe in yourself first.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


In my professional life, I use my position within Google to uplift and shine a light on Black voices and Black storytellers. In my personal life, I donate time, money, and material to various groups focused on supporting families, youth, and criminal justice reform. At the end of the day, I’m rooting for everybody Black!


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


“Power to the people'' means empowering the people. When people feel in control of their lives and destiny, when they feel free to live and be their fullest selves, and when they have the power to change or design the life they want; that is truly powerful.


Garrick Wade

Company: Freelancer

Position: TV Producer | Entrepreneur

Instagram/Twitter: @GarrickApproved

Photo Credit: Keilan Scott

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


What I have come to experience as power for me is freedom, peace, influence and control of self.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


I can’t say I’ve ever lost my power but it was a long journey for me to find it due to the obstacles and pitfalls in my personal life and the uncertainty of career direction. I have been in the entrepreneurial space since the start of my career and that alone is a struggle for anyone who’s building something from nothing with little to no capital and only your name and reputation to stand on. It’s been a journey but once I discovered what I was really working towards I’ve been only UP.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


Remember there was a time that you prayed to be exactly where you are now. It's a marathon, not a race. And the greatest achievers in the world still have moments when they feel they haven't done enough. You're GOOD!


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I'm fighting the power through telling Black stories, creating space for other Black creators and helping our community achieve home ownership and other real estate investments. The equity in our community has made a lot of people wealthy. It's time for us to unlearn and restructure our thinking about wealth.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


Power to the people to me means access to equal education, health, and wealth opportunities for all people. For there to be an even playing field with access to the resources and institutions that have been withheld from Black people specifically.


Joseph Williams

Company: Starz

Position: Director of Publicity

Instagram/Twitter: @IAmJoeCarnell

Photo Credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


When I think of “Power,” I think of influence. Of course, it is subjective, but the ability to influence your peers, family, and friends, and control yourself and your profession is what I think of when I think of the word “Power.”


I think we are also responsible for handling "power" with great care and consideration. The power to impact our lives is something we cannot disregard.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


Reclaiming my power meant that I needed to be responsible for myself. There was a time when I gave away that power to other people (relationships, jobs, and acquaintances).


I am thankful for the therapists, my family, and my tribe for helping me find my way back and reminding me to own my power.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


Black men can use mental health care, community, honesty and integrity as fuel. Mental health is essential to us being our best/ better versions. A community (tribe) can be an additive that cannot be discounted. The right people in your life can change your life. Honesty and integrity empower you and provide you with more blessings and grace.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I use my power to “Fight the Power” by speaking up and telling the truth. That means I speak up and tell the truth even when scared. That means providing a perspective that may not be represented in my rooms and speaking up for ALL marginalized groups. I do so without apologies.


Using my Power also includes lifting those up and advocating for my peers who are working hard.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


“Power to the People” means supporting each other, reaching across and reaching down to people working hard. It means standing up together for the collective and for one another. “Power to the People” is love for each other.


Peter Dodd

Company: Netflix

Position: Director, Midsized Film Group

Instagram: @PuffDoddy


Photo Credit: Bernard David Jones

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


Power exists in many areas - it can be mechanical, economic, physical, etc. Professionally, I think of power in the context of my ability to influence culture through storytelling.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


Power doesn’t evaporate, it is merely forgotten. I reconnect with it by reflecting on what I’ve accomplished so far; I look at my movie credits, professional relationships and, occasionally, my LinkedIn profile. There are also certain movies I watch or songs I listen to that remind me why I do what I do. Those always help. My partner is also my personal cheerleader and hype man.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


In film and television, Black culture is culture. Black queer culture sets the trend. Black women are the foundation. We are more than a vibe, we are a movement. Remember that your first-hand experience and your perspective are priceless and unique. And it should be paid for.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I choose content and only work with artists I believe in who have a message I’d like to see on the screen. This business is not for the faint of heart. We get rejected constantly. So I have to believe in the project and the artist deeply to take on the fight.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


It means returning power to the masses. I think of it in terms of storytelling; if we support stories about the Black/Brown experience and with those characters front and center, there will be a dramatic shift in the color, shape, and even language we see on screen. I can’t wait to see it.


Philip Lewis

Company: HuffPost

Position: Senior Editor

Instagram: @Phil.Lewis

Twitter: @Phil_Lewis_


Photo Credit: Cyrus Tetteh/HuffPost

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


Using your power, influence, or authority to help others achieve all they can is real power, in my opinion. Mentoring young journalists and helping them find roles and flourishing careers is important to me.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


Overcoming impostor syndrome played a large role in the advancement of my career. I quickly realized that a substantial number of my white counterparts were just winging it, or not qualified for certain roles. However, you'd never know that as a result of their unbridled confidence. I saw that I belonged in the field of journalism, and now I'm here to stay.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


As Black men, we have a unique voice and perspective to offer the world. Silencing yourself not only does you a disservice but those around you as well.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I use my platform to highlight stories that generally would go unnoticed by traditional news outlets and journalists. In a media landscape that has become overwhelmed with misinformation and disinformation, I do my best to bring attention to stories that people should know about.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


"Power to the People" means to fight back against oppression, and take back the power that has been hoarded by the ruling class.


Ty Cole

Company: BET / REVOLT / Associated Press / Baller Alert / IOne Digital / Mashable

Position: Entertainment Reporter / Producer + Social Media Manager

Instagram: @TyColeTV

Twitter: @IAmTyCole


Photo Credit: Sean Howard

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


It means to always recognize it within you and never let someone dim it. To walk into a room and never let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong. To understand how to control it and not power trip. To share the wealth and blessings with others when you’re in control. To uplift others at all times!


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


I talk to God. He is the only person that can get me back on track because He always puts me in position. I disconnect and I evaluate my surroundings. I try to understand what He is trying to tell me and follow suit because whatever is happening to me is for a reason and is to elevate me.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


Understand that you don’t have to portray these macho stereotypes to be a “man.” Understand that men come with all emotions and to not limit yourself due to other perceptions. The Black man has no limitations and once you recognize that nobody is in control of your life but YOU, you’ll be fine!


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


By telling amazing, authentic Black stories through my passion for reporting to show people that Black people are not a monolith.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


We have the power and we work stronger TOGETHER. So once we lock arms, we can be unstoppable. There’s more power in people than in a person.


Kyle Walcott

Company: Emerging 100 of Atlanta / Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta

Position: President / Senior Director of Institutional Giving

Instagram: @KyWally


Photo Credit: Kyle Walcott

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


To me, power means understanding your duty, responsibility, and opportunity as a Black man to demonstrate strength, character, influence, and excellence that positively represents our community and all that we stand for!


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


After facing obstacles in my personal life and career, I've reclaimed and maintained my power by believing in God's overwhelming ability to not allow anything formed against me to prosper. No matter what I've been through, I've always been able to come out of a situation stronger and wiser than before. Overall, I've learned how to be kind to myself, remind myself of my gifts, and challenge myself to continue pressing on to make a difference in the lives of others.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


I want Black men to understand how to turn their pain into passion and to utilize any past experiences that have shaped them, whether it be negatively or positively, to showcase our ability to be resilient and powerful beyond measure.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I'm using my power to advocate for the voiceless and those who are often marginalized by the powers of the government, society and other structures. By speaking for those who are often unheard, I hope to shine a light on the disparities we face in order to emphasize the need for tangible change.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


“Power to the People” means a movement that is centrally focused on cultivating a sense of power within our community and reminding the people that their voices, talents and desires can be heard. We must remind our people that they don't ever have to let others dim their light so we must let our power reverberate across neighborhoods, different settings and everywhere that it possibly can.


Michael Falligan Jr.

Company: TikTok/Rowan University

Position: Global Music Communications/Music Business Professor

Instagram: @MFJONE

Twitter: @MFJRONE


Photo Credit: Theodore Carty

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


Power is the ability to command your respective space where you, in turn, create opportunities for your community. Often, Power is considered individually, but possessing Power as a Black Man allows me to show other Black men their dreams are attainable.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


I always think about "walking by faith, not by sight" through every obstacle. Things often appear worse than they are in the heat of the moment, but trouble never lasts forever. So I believe in preparing for the moment trouble pasts - that's how you not only push past but push THROUGH the obstacle.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


In the age of instant gratification, it has become very common for people to compare themselves to those they see on social media. We must remember we all possess something special, and there is no other version of you out there. So we can chart our paths. It's encouraging that we find inspiration from each other but never out of spite.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


Transparency is so important right now, especially in the conversation of mobility. I aim to alleviate gatekeeping, and I genuinely believe sharing knowledge with others helps us move forward, collectively. You can change someone's trajectory by sharing a few gems that could save them time and energy. Through my work in entertainment and academia, I always leave the door open behind me, fostering a network of emerging and established professionals.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


Power is always within us - sometimes we must be reminded but trust me, it's there!


Marion Skinner

Company: Texas Advancement Center

Position: CEO/Founder

Instagram: @TheKingOfEducation


Photo Credit: Rari Films

What does power mean to you as a Black man?


Power means to me as a Black man, the ability to help lead generations to become better than the last—spiritually, emotionally and financially. The power of the Black man is all about creating and building legacy and making an impact in our culture.


How did you reclaim your power after facing obstacles in your personal life and your career?


I reclaimed my power after facing obstacles in my personal life and career by embracing the freedom of pivoting. Throughout my career, I have mastered the art of the pivot and become successful in multiple industries, which has helped me to overcome many obstacles that have come my way—I have learned that I don't look for a seat at the table, I build the table.


What is one thing you want Black men to know that they can use as fuel to keep their heads held high?


I want Black men to know that they are capable, invisible and worthy.


How are you using your Power to "Fight the Power"?


I am using my power to fight the power by paying it forward and giving back to my community by sharing my tools and resources.


What does "Power to the People" mean to you?


“Power to the People” means being Black and proud.


Dometi Pongo

Company: Paramount (MTV, MTV News, Vh1, Smithsonian Channel) & Pongo Strategy Group

Position: Correspondent / Consultant, Executive Producer

Instagram/Twitter: @dometi_


Photo Credit: Jacques Morel

What does power mean to you as a Black man?