It goes without saying that Black culture has powered and influenced the masses for ages. From hair innovations to technological trends in entertainment, our dreams have boldly changed the world by enriching lives, entertaining and uniting folks from all walks of life. As AT&T Dream In Black continues to celebrate the inspiring creators who shape the future, we honor the founder of #blkcreatives, Melissa Kimble, and Justin Shaifer, STEM Education specialist and the Founder and Executive Director of Fascinate, Inc. Through their excellent work in the community, both are paving a promising path with infinite possibilities for the next generation.
Stay Connected | @mr.fascinate Justin Shaifer, known also by his kid-friendly alter ego Mr. Fascinate, encourages Black and Brown youth to follow their passion for science with Fascinate Inc, an organization under which he launched Magic Cool Bus, the STEM program that travels to various schools offering kids the chance to explore their scientific curiosities. “A lot of times we think STEM is reserved for the brainiacs, but as the demands become larger and tech gets more advanced, people with more skill sets–interpersonal skills, leadership skills, creativity–are needed in the workforce,” the Chicago native tells ESSENCE. “What we’re trying to cultivate in students is that intrinsic motivation, and in order to do that, they have to think it’s cool.” From Magic Cool Bus to TEDx, the Columbia University Ph.D. student (and Hampton alumnus) has spent over two years ensuring that kids see themselves represented in the field and works to pipeline them into an industry that still needs more Black scientists. “One thing that has kept me on this path is seeing a kid’s face light up,” he says. “I’ve had students come back to me who have built entire apps just from being exposed [to STEM].
Stay Connected | @melissa_kimble Melissa Kimble has honed in her purpose to help her fellow creatives capitalize on their thoughts, ideas and work. Providing a lighthouse for content creators, she provides tools, strategies and resources for “a community to support nontraditional career paths.” With her growing #blkcreatives collective and KINDRD–a newly launched interactive, multi-service creative company–the Chicago-based strategist is crafting an ever-growing space for creatives to own their creativity and navigate their profession in a healthy, profitable way. “Our world revolves around our creativity, gifts, and skills,” the future-forward figure says. “Even with little to no resources, we’re trendsetters, innovators, and influencers in so unlimited ways. The world benefits from our creativity and now that we’re aware of that, it’s time for us to do the same. We can only do that through spaces that we create on our own. We needed a space that pushes us to dream and to believe in our dreams and the practical ways that we can build them. It’s important to constantly celebrate our gifts and creativity in a world that usually takes it for granted.” Paired with boundless determination, embodying a mindset that envisions what success can look like—spoiler alert: anything—will help flip your ideas into reality. Both Kimble and Shaifer are living proof.