All this month, Essence.com will present TWENTY, THE REMIX—three digital exhibits I curated celebrating excellence in the worlds of acting, art, and fashion. Continuing with a theme I love, exalting Black greatness while telling our stories, these galleries showcase those who pave the way for the next generations. 

Harry Belafonte, art.
In the 1950s, Grammy and Tony award-winning actor, singer, and activist Harry Belafonte introduced American audiences to calypso. Belafonte is the first solo artist in history to have a million-selling album. A friend and contemporary of Sidney Poitier, Belafonte made his screen debut in Bright Road with co-star Dorothy Dandridge. 

In Supreme Models, I posed the theory that the fashion industry is often the precursor to social change. If that’s true, then no one is more important than the fashion designer. In TWENTY DESIGNERS YOU SHOULD KNOW, I spotlight several trailblazing African-American designers who deserve all the laurels. In a multi-billion dollar industry dominated by White males, we are there, fighting the battle for diversity and inclusion while creating something beautiful.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to contribute these lists of my favorite things to a magazine as historic as ESSENCE. As a child, I read my mother’s ESSENCE magazines from cover to cover, breathing in the beauty and wonder of the Black experience. I found inspiration in the pages of ESSENCE. I hope these galleries do that for a new generation of readers.

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