21 Creatives Who Shaped Black Culture

D1 A BHM Perspectives 21 Creatives V2 JS
Sarah Berkman, Asia Clark and Valerie Gunn

You may not know their names, but these Black trailblazers shaped culture as we know it today. We wanted to dig deeper and highlight the lesser known Black creatives throughout time. That’s how we came to identify 21 iconic individuals who made an impact in art, music and more by bringing their fresh perspectives. Get to know them below.

Entertainment and Art

Entertainment, art, and literature play a defining role in how we interact with the world. Through visual, performative and written art, these Black pioneers shaped culture as we see it today.

Beauty and Fashion

The fashion and beauty industries have a deep history of discrimination and exclusion, but these talented trailblazers overcame many obstacles and have left a lasting impact. You may know Rihanna’s Fenty or Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and work for Louis Vuitton, but here are a few lesser known — but just as noteworthy — industry changemakers.


Music is something that brings people together, sparks joy and truly becomes synonymous with culture. Black musicians’ contributions to our musical evolution is immeasurable. There are some names we all know, like Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix, but here are a few who you may not have heard of before.

Entrepreneur and Business

Beyond the art and music worlds, there are many Black entrepreneurs and business people who have made history. Some are household names, but many other entrepreneurs’ stories aren’t as widely known. Here are a few lesser-known people who should be celebrated.

As we celebrate the unsung innovators listed above, we encourage you to continue discovering pivotal Black creatives who are not as widely known through research and dialogue during Black History Month and beyond.