40 Under 40

40 Under 40
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 08, 2010

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Isabel Wilkerson is the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. This talented journalist recently penned a powerful book titled “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” (Random House, $30), telling the story of one of the nation’s population shifts: the migration of six million Black Americans out of the South and into cities throughout the North and West.

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Jill Scott, 38, got her start as a prominent Philadelphia poet and in 2000, she made it big with her Grammy-nominated debut album, “Who is Jill Scott?” Several albums later, Scott has crossed over as a successful actress, starring in movies like “Why Did I Get Married,” and the HBO series, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”

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Smith’s, 34, first novel “White Teeth” in 2001 made her one of the highest-earning young authors to watch. Her novels are anticipated with as much fervor as a Toni Morrison book. This British sister rocks for her ability to engage readers of any age, from 15 to 60.

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Probably single-handedly responsible for all the Rihanna haircuts we see on the streets, Ursula is Rihanna’s hairstylist. Some of her high-profile clients include Keyshia Cole, Michelle Williams and more. This girl is definitely talented.

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Nicole Bell, 26, a mother of two, took her fiance’s last name after he was killed by a hail of cop bullets in Jamaica Queens, New York, on their wedding day. Bell has started a non-profit organization in honor of her husband. Now, the young woman is running for City Council in Queens.

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Kimberly Anyadike, 16, flew a single-engine plane cross-country from Compton, California to Newport News, Virginia. She is the youngest female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days.  “No matter how young or old you are, you can accomplish whatever you [want].” Anyadike says. “My dad always teaches us that we have to work to the point of honor.”

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A talented artist, Shinique Smith’s artwork inspires the masses. She may very well be one of the artists we’ll be marveling at decades from now. Truly impressive.

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Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slams which include 11 singles titles, placing her number one in the world. She’s hitting a lot of balls off the court too with her fashion company “Aneres” and charity work.

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Candace Parker is the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game. In 2009, the basketball starlet won the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice award as the favorite female athlete in the sports category.

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Sarah Lewis is a writer, curator, and art critic. She has curated for esteemed museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, been published in countless art magazines, and is a member of President Obamaʼs Art Policy Committee.

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As daughter of Reverend Run (of Run DMC) and niece of Russell Simmons she knows a thing or two about business. She is the 22-year-old co-owner of Pastry with sister Vanessa Simmons.

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As Relationship Editor of ESSENCE Magazine, Lucas has all your relationship needs. She is also known for her A Belle in Brooklyn blog, which won the 2010 Black Weblog Awards. Her first book “A Belle in Brooklyn” (Atria) is scheduled for June 2011.

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Affectionately called the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” Mary J. Blige is a living legend in the music industry. She is currently planning a fall tour — with Jazmine Sullivan — to support her most recent album, “Stronger with Each Tear.”

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Called the fastest woman in the world, Richards, 25, holds the title of the fastest 400m woman in U.S. History. She is also an two time Olympic gold medalist.

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This 33-year-old actress is known for her acting chops in “Ray” and the “Fantastic Four.” You can watch her in her newest film, “Night Catches Us,” due out this fall.

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Considered one of the most promising female African authors, Nigerian-born Adichie, 33, has published two critically acclaimed novels and won the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

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The niece of Tiger Woods, Cheyenne is living up to her last name. The rising golf star is the first sophomore at Wake Forest to claim an individual title this year.

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Mrs. Carter, also known as Beyonce, is everywhere these days. If you haven’t seen her in any of her movies, ad campaigns, or live performances, you must be living under a rock. She is truly the “it” girl of our time. She’s also a known for her philanthropy and charity work.

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Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is CEO of Green For All, an advocacy group for lifting minority communities out of poverty through the green economy. The organization recently helped secure federal funds in the stimulus bill for green jobs training and other poverty-alleviating programs.

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This talented scribe created the successful show, “Grey’s Anatomy.” Each week roughly 18.5 million viewers tune in to watch what is now dubbed as the new ABC/Touchstone.

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Monif Clarke is a confident plus-size sister who designs clothes for women like her. She created the bold line Monif C with stand-out pieces including jeans, capris and short jackets all in vibrant colors.

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Misty Copeland is the first Black female soloist at American Ballet Theatre. The Missouri native has been dancing since she was 13 and has appeared in productions of Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote and more.

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Kenyan-born visual artist Wangechi Mutu is an art-world darling. Trained as an anthropologist and sculptor, her collage pieces combine glamour (images cut from fashion magazines) with anthropology and comment on sexism and colonialism. She recently won the coveted Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year award for 2010.

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This Puerto Rican model is as beautiful as they come. She’s only 22 and making waves in the fashion world. She’s walked the runways for Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and more.

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As one of the tennis greats, Venus Williams is ranked number one/four in the world at age 30. She is currently playing in the U.S. Open — we’re rooting for you, girl!

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With “Love All Over Me” setting the radio stations on fire, Monica is all-the-buzz at the moment. She’s a music veteran and a committed mother of two adorable boys.

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Raven-Symone, 25, first came into our living rooms as precocious Olivia on “The Cosby Show.” As a teen, the triple threat graduated to the wildly popular TV shows, “That’s So Raven” and “The Cheetah Girls,” and as an adult, she’s making a name for herself in films like “Road Trip.”

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Gabourey Sidibe, 27, was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in Lee Daniels’ “Precious.” You can catch her on Showtime’s “The Big C,” about a teacher who is diagnosed with cancer.

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At only 28, singer/songwriter Keri Hilson has made a huge mark on the music industry. Not only has she penned songs for the likes of Britney Spears, Usher and Ciara, her debut album “In a Perfect World” earned her four BET Awards and a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist.

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Singer and actress Keke Palmer is known for her role in “Akeelah and the Bee” alongside Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. She’s currently staring on Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson, VP.”

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Rihanna holds the record for most number one singles this year and she continues to make noise. She just released her newest song, “Only Girl” off her upcoming album, “Loud” which will be released this November.

32 of 45 Derrick "D-Nice" Jones

As VP of Business Development at GlobalHue, with 2009 billings of $833.7 million, Kelli Coleman is all about business. She’s held her VP title for the full-service marketing communication agency more than two years and is a graduate of Spelman College.

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Former model Joy Bryant, 34, is one of our most glamorous, in-demand actresses in Hollwyood. We loved her in films like “Honey,” “Spiderman 2” and “Skeleton Key,” and we can’t wait to see what this fashion plate has coming up next.

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Mia Love, 35, is the first female African-American to be elected city mayor in Utah. She is currently serving her term as mayor of Saratoga Springs.

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With a huge voice and personality to match, Amber Riley is turning heads in popular TV series, “Glee.” She’s known for her powerful renditions of “Bust Your Windows” and “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.”

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Zoe Saldana, 32, burst on the scene as a fiesty ballerina in 2000’s “Center Stage,” and never looked back! In 2009, the Dominican/Puerto Rican actress hit her stride with roles in two of the biggest films in history, “Star Trek” and James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

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“It Kills Me” was without a doubt one of this summer’s anthems. Melanie Fiona was recently named one of BET’s Rising Icons. Her debut album “The Bridge” was released in 2009.

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What started as a hobby for former Olive Garden hostess, Natasha Eubanks, founder of Young, Black and Fabulous, is now one of the most respected entertainment blogs on the web. It’s also made Eubanks a fairly wealthy sister. The site’s revenues hit the $1 million mark in 2009.

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How could we forget “America’s Next Top Model’s” most outspoken contestant Tocorra Jones? She’s transformed her career to include more than modeling, she’s also a TV personality.

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Alicia Keys, 29, is not only a 12-time Grammy winner but she is a philanthropist as well. She spearheads her own AIDS fighting organization called “Keep a Child Alive.” She recently we Swizz Beatz and is expecting her first child.

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As the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, this independent spirit demands all the attention. She’s well on her way to developing a promising acting and modeling career. You can catch her in the new X-Men film, “X-Men: First Class.”

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As an activist for social and environmental justice, Majora Carter has brought awareness to how pollution affects poor people in urban areas. She founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation, Sustainable South Bronx, in 2001.

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As VP of Business Development at Global Hue, Kelli Coleman is all about business. She’s held her VP title for the full-service marketing communication agency more than two years and is a graduate of Spellman College.

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This British beauty won a Grammy-award for her hit song, “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West. The song ballooned to the top 10 in many countries worldwide. Her new album “All of Me” is scheduled to drop later this year.

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As a teen, 28-year-old Tina Wells began writing product reviews for teen girls, a hobby that blossomed into a wildly successful youth marketing company, Buzz Marketing Group. Today, she provides market research for the likes of Sony BMG, Sesame Workshop, PBS and Proctor and Gamble — as well as writing a tween series, “Mackenzie Blue.”


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