We salute the men listed in our annual list of INFLUENITAL BROTHA’S not only for the exceptional in work in their related fields but also for their commitment to uplifting of our people and community.
Bishop Joseph Walker
Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III, is the senior leader of the historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee. Bishop Walker received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana; a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds three honorary Doctorates from Meharry Medical College, Southern University, Kentucky State University, respectively. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity.
Bishop Walker currently serves as the International Presiding Bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. In July 2013, he was chosen to succeed the founding International Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr.
In 1992, at the age of 24, Bishop Walker began his pastorate at Mt. Zion with 175 members.
Presently, the ministry has grown to over 30,000 and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate of over 1,000 souls per year. Under his leadership, Mt. Zion has expanded beyond its original location on historic Jefferson Street to multiple weekly services in three physical locations, worldwide via the virtual church location, Mt. Zion Anywhere, as well as a weekly television broadcast that reaches 15 million viewers worldwide.
A prolific writer, Dr. Walker is a best-selling author of thirteen books. He is married to the former Dr. Stephaine M. Hale, a health & beauty entrepreneur who recently retired as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Vanderbilt University. Both agree that their most joyous accomplishment to date has been the birth of their daughter, Jovanni Willow, and their son, Joseph Warren Walker, IV.
Clint Smith – Poet
Clint Smith is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, the Stowe Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2021. He is also the author of two books of poetry, the New York Times bestselling collection Above Ground and Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He is a staff writer at The Atlantic.
Clint has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. He is a former National Poetry Slam champion and a recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review.
Previously, Clint taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He is the host of the YouTube series Crash Course Black American History.
Clint received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University. Born and raised in New Orleans, he lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.
Kareem Weaver – Literacy Activist
Kareem Weaver is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of FULCRUM, which partners with stakeholders to improve reading results for students. He is the Oakland NAACP’s 2nd Vice President and Chair of its Education Committee; his advocacy is featured in the documentary film The Right to Read.
Mr. Weaver previously served as New Leaders’ Executive Director of the Western Region and was an award-winning teacher and administrator. He has undergraduate degrees from Morehouse College and a master’s in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina. Mr. Weaver believes in the potential of all students, the brotherhood of man, and the importance of service above self. His educational heroine, for literacy instruction, is the late Marva Collins.
Markenzy Cesar – Painter
Markenzy Cesar is a painter who was born in Haiti. In 1987 there was a coup d’etat in Haiti he and his mother came to live on Long Island, NY. My father was here several years earlier laying down the groundwork for their arrival. “In a way without my dad being there during those formative years, I live a lonely existence. Ironically, I believe those solitude moments drive my imagination and in part made me the artist I am today.”
He has lived in the United States since 1987. In 1993, he moved from Long Island, New York, to Buffalo to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Cesar came to feel a connection to the region and has built a life in western New York.
Artist statement: As an artist, my goal is to capture that singularity, like stopping to smell a flower’s fragrance. For example, I remember in the house I grew up in Haiti, there was a room with spaced skylight windows – motley colored glass. When the sunlight hit them, it was like being inside a church. I found it strange that I seemed to be the only one enamored by them. I would climb onto the roof regularly to remove the dirt from them. In a way, that’s what I want to communicate with others when it comes to my art… the intrinsic beauty our world contains.
Paul Wilson – VP, Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs
Paul Wilson, Jr., VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with The H. J. Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), is an innovative and effective entrepreneurial leader with nearly 20 years of experience creating and delivering high-caliber consulting and training solutions to small businesses, corporations, non-profits, and professionals at all levels. He has extensive industry experience that spans leadership roles in small business development, supply chain management, procurement, and supplier diversity. His expertise includes strategic planning, operational planning, leadership development, digital media, government and corporate contracting, and curriculum design and development.
Most recently Paul served as the Area Director of the UGA Small Business Development Center at Georgia State University. In that position he successfully led a dynamic team that provided consulting services, business solutions, educational training, and market research to startup, growing, and established small businesses that helped them achieve their short and long-term goals.
He is a passionate champion for minority business development, expansion, and retention in the metro Atlanta region, and has built strong partnerships and collaborations with several small business development organizations. In addition to being a published author, he enjoys using his multi-media talents and skills to create digital content that informs, inspires, and challenges entrepreneurs to pursue their maximum potential.