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Black History Month: Recognizing Voices Making a Difference

Written by: Louis Carr

AS WE STARTED 2024, our team wanted to recognize the importance of the coming year and focus on people and stories impacting our community and the broader culture. The WayMaker team wanted to create editorial that not only makes you think but also makes you proud. And with this issue arriving in February, which is Black History Month, we set out to focus on people living Black history whose work is influencing and shaping our current world. From the media to medicine and politics to personal development, we are spotlighting some of the most intriguing and inspiring leaders and influencers who are making a difference.

In his important book For the Culture, Dr. Marcus Collins examines the influence Black culture is having not just on Black communities but on all communities. In his revealing conversation with WayMaker Journal he takes it a step further and explains the economic impact our Black culture is also having on our overall society.

We get to know Dawn Porter, the noted filmmaker who directed the acclaimed documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, about the legendary congressman. She is also known for The Lady Bird Diaries, which gives us insight into one of the most fascinating first ladies of our time, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson. Currently, Dawn is finishing up one of the most anticipated stories of the coming year, about the music legend Luther Vandross.

In another interview, award-winning journalist Roland Martin breaks down the importance of what’s at stake in this year’s election cycle. He makes it perfectly clear that political elections have an impact way beyond any political parties or election nights. Dr. Terri Major-Kincade will inform and educate you about prenatal and postnatal care and the importance of having medical practitioners who not only see you but also hear you. Her article will have both women and men expecting more and demanding more from a health care system that we know is deficient in multiple areas for Black and brown people.

Smiles and struggles  

The story about the founder of the Black Men Smile project, Carlton Mackey, and his son, Isaiah, will make you proud and literally put a smile on your face as you read about this amazing father-son duo. Spoken word legend J. Ivy will inspire you with his journey from growing up in Chicago to winning a Grammy—and his definition of a waymaker will make you think and hope- fully take action to create change for yourself and others.

You’ll be motivated by the young pastry chef Maya-Camille Broussard, who recently opened a new bakery on the South Side of Chicago. From receiving early recognition from the legendary James Beard Foundation to being named Esquire’s 2023 Pastry Chef of the Year, Maya-Camille—who is part of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community—demonstrates how obstacles and challenges cannot stop determined and focused individuals.

TV’s funny man, David Mann (aka Mr. Brown), an actor in multiple Tyler Perry movies and sitcoms, gives us a very personal insight into his struggle with depression. For many, it will be a shocking revelation that even people that make us laugh and bring us joy sometimes struggle with doing that for themselves. David speaks bravely about the importance of realizing that you need to take better care of yourself and not to be ashamed to seek help.

On our cover you’ll have seen the legendary Nick Cannon, who has had over three decades of success in the entertainment business and has been able to stay relevant consistently throughout. When you read about his list of accomplishments and his life as a businessman, I guarantee you’ll be extremely impressed. You’ll get a different view and understanding of the person you see on television almost every week of the year.

Through each and all of these articles, I hope that you are inspired to remember that Black history is not just something of the past that we celebrate, but something we are creating today for tomorrow’s world. Where is your place in it?

Louis Carr

Spotlighting some of the most intriguing and inspiring leaders and influencers.