We salute the men listed in our first 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.
Marcus L. Strother is a father, husband, educator and a youth and community advocate. Marcus is a 20-year veteran in the education field spending 17 years in Illinois and has since relocated to Sacramento, California for the past two and half years. Marcus spent 8 years as a classroom teacher, teaching Language Arts, Life and Social Skills and Advocacy. Marcus also spent 9 years as a high school administrator with a focus on teacher evaluation, PBIS, school culture, and discipline. Marcus is currently the President & CEO at MENTOR California whose role is to be the unifying champion for expanding quality youth mentoring relationships.
Brandon Frame is a visionary leader, social innovator and educator. He is the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of TheBlackManCan, Inc. an award-winning nonprofit that amplifies the stories of what Black Men and Boys can do. Guided by his vision TheBlackManCan, Inc. has impacted over 10,000 Black Men and Boys across the world, established a MENtor network of over 500 Black Men and built a socially conscious online community that has over 500,000 followers and generates 7 million impressions weekly. Accomplishments and accolades are no stranger to Brandon Frame, but what makes him extraordinary is the humility and servant-leadership that marks his life. Brandon Frame is the Director of Social Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly where he leads a portfolio of schools to build the capacity of the staff in implementing and sustaining Social Emotional Learning.
Dr. Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of the Science Education program and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He is the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement, and a much sought-after public speaker on a number of topics that include hip-hop education, STEM education, politics, race, class, diversity, and youth empowerment. He is also an advisor to numerous international organizations, school districts, and schools.
According to the Chicago native Jonathan McReynolds, Life Music is everything he’s truly about. “My albums are about being authentic and genuine, pure and transparent. That’s who I try to be as a person,” he says. “I’m direct, I’m blunt. I’m not a fan of church clichés and ‘Christian-ese’. Life Music is concerned with showing others and reminding myself how the Faith doesn’t just fit every part of life, but should frame every part of life.” His latest project People debuted at #1 and has been called the believers’ soundtrack of a crazy 2020. It’s lead single “Movin’ On” featuring Mali Music reached #1, Jonathan’s third time, and garnered a Grammy nomination, his fourth.
Neoteric soul. A sound that is uncommonly defined by the radical message in ones lyrics which inspires the heart of the listener. But for Sean C. Johnson, it’s just another form of sharing his testimony. At first glance, one might not envision this former Air Force Staff Sergeant as a soul singer – no afro blowing in the wind and no “tortured genius” look. He does, however, have his own unique vibe – an unsuspecting and compassionate demeanor that produces a sound that draws you in. Sean offers music that lyrically takes the listener deep into the Word, flowing hypnotically over neoteric soul ballads and hip hop beats.
Dr. Ivory A. Toldson is the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Previously, Dr. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). He also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.
Dr. Armen Henderson is a Assistant Professor Of Medicine at the University of Miami, Director of Health Programs for Dream Defenders an organization that does political organizing, programming and advocacy around the social determinants of health and he is the Founder of the Dade County Street Response that meet people’s needs before during and after disasters. Services included (but not limited to) are disaster preparedness, environmental justice, climate change education, gun violence and pandemic response.
Lamar Giles is a well-published author and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. He is also a two-time Edgar Award finalist in the YA category, for his debut YA thriller FAKE ID (HarperCollins, 2014), and his second YA thriller, ENDANGERED (HarperCollins, 2015). His third and fourth YA thrillers, OVERTURNED (Scholastic, 2017) and SPIN (Scholastic, 2019), as well as his middle-grade debut THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER received glowing New York Times reviews, and was named to multiple Best Of lists, including Time Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, and Amazon. FAKE ID has been optioned by Sony Pictures.