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International Black Heritage Month Announces Its Inaugural Change Maker List 2023

  • 8 min read

“International Black Heritage Month” announces its inaugural Change Maker List 2023 in the final lineup of events for June, featuring creative pioneers that include multi-hyphenate Grace Jones, music mogul Clive Davis, environmentalist Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti, actress and producer Jada Pinkett Smith, actor David Oyelowo, and environmentalist Jaden Smith more…

June is International Black Heritage Month (IBHM), and marks a momentous occasion as the World comes together to celebrate! Launched in June 2021 after the events of George Floyd, IBHM has quickly gained recognition as a decentralized platform to celebrate black cultures worldwide, educate on diversity, and promote unity from all people in service of a more just and inclusive world.

Today International Black Heritage Month (IBHM) powered by Lab Legacy, announces its inaugural Change Maker List 2023 featuring creative pioneers who disrupt the status quo in the areas of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

” It’s important to shine the light on a wide variety of people and brands who are making a positive difference in the world, so others can see it and be it,” says
International Black Heritage Month founder Bruce Reynolds


Change Makers whose past actions disrupted the status quo and addressed Equity:

Grace Jones (Acclaimed Singer, Songwriter, Actor, and Model)
Grace Jones’ individuality, creative genius, and fearless approach to fashion, music, and film have shaped her extraordinary career and influenced and enabled artists from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and genres worldwide. Her musical artistry is unparalleled, and her impact continues to resonate, inspiring future generations of artists to fearlessly pursue their artistic visions and celebrate their own unique voices.

Clive Davis (Music Mogul)
Clive Davis is a legend in the music industry and launched the careers of Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, and many more. He also elevated the careers of artists such as Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick. He teamed up with producer/entrepreneur Sean “Puffy” Combs with a 50/50 joint venture that created Bad Boy Records, creating an artist roster that included Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans, Mase, 112, and Puffy Combs.

Joakim Jonason (Creative Director)
Joakim Jonason, while at ad Agency DDB Stockholm, Sweden, he created the Diesel Jeans Advertising campaign: (The Daily African) Year 2000, spotlighting wealth inequality and showing young wealthy, jet-set Africans enjoying the glamorous lifestyle, with fictional newspaper headlines from The Daily African, such as ‘African hostages free after being held for 148 days by Californian rebels’, and ‘European developing countries targeted by African tobacco industry.’ The campaign can be seen here:

United Colors of Benetton (Brand)
United Colors of Benetton is part of Benetton Group, and the brand fashion brand rarely follows the rules of the status quo with its brand messaging. Featuring a wide range of models and addressing all types of social issues that affect the World. They are “a responsible group that plans for the future and lives in the present, with a watchful eye to the environment, to human dignity, and to a society in transformation.”

Change Makers whose present actions disrupt the status quo and address Diversity:

David Oyelowo (Actor, Producer, and Businessman)
David Oyelowo is a highly accomplished actor and producer. He and his wife created Yoruba Saxon company to create and produce value-based content, to shift culture and color outside the lines. He’s also the Co-Founder of the recently launched Mansa, a new streaming platform for curated global Black cultural content.

Jada Pinkett Smith (Actress and Producer)
Jada Pinkett Smith is a highly accomplished actor, producer, and Executive producer of African Queens, a docudrama series streaming on Netflix. The series focuses on female monarchs from the continent of Africa and is produced and narrated by Jada Pinkett Smith, Jada also executive produced the groundbreaking Red Table Talks, hosted by three generations of women herself, her mother, and her,

Pat McGrath (Makeup Artist and CEO)
Dame Patricia Ann McGrath, widely recognized as “the most influential makeup artist in the world,” has made an indelible mark on the fashion industry. Renowned by Vogue magazine and esteemed fashion insiders, she has revolutionized the art of makeup and garnered worldwide acclaim for her exceptional talent and groundbreaking contributions. She disrupted the industry, launching her own inclusive and innovative makeup line Pat McGrath Labs offering a diverse range of high-quality products that cater to all skin tones and celebrate the beauty of diversity.

Mikaela Loach (Author and Climate Justice Activist)
Mikaela Loach is the bestselling author of “It’s Not That Radical: Climate Action To Transform Our World.” A climate justice activist and co-host of The Yikes Podcast.
She connects climate change with the need for racial equality and emphasizes
that addressing the climate crisis is essential for creating a better world
that transcends societal divisions such as class, age, color, and location.
Loach bridges and reframes how the climate crisis affects the African
Continent, the diaspora, Europe, and beyond.

Change Makers whose early-stage actions disrupt the future status quo and address inclusion:

Briana Marbury (CEO and Social Impact)
Briana Marbury is President and CEO of The Interledger Foundation (ILF) and leads efforts to enable digital financial inclusion for vulnerable populations around the World. ILF is a nonprofit organization that invests in initiatives, communities, and entrepreneurs dedicated to enabling seamless and interconnected global payments. Marbury has been in financial leadership at Repair the World, Uncommon Schools, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and successfully developed operational systems that advanced their missions.

MK Boston (CEO, Engineer, and Environmentalist)
MK Boston is the CEO of Atlas Water and Electric company (AWE), which is at the forefront of renewable power and water technology. The AWE technology uses air compression to extract water vapor and collect liquid Water. And the AWE rotor technology and energy storage system combine the power of wind with atmospheric compression to create 24/7, on-demand, utility-scale renewable energy.

Jaden Smith and Drew FitzGerald (Environmentalist and Social Impact)
Jaden Smith (son of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith) and Drew FitzGerald are founders of and JUST Water, sold in cartons, as an environment-friendly and more sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bottled water. And to help communities with water challenges, they created Waterbox that can be placed in communities and provide 10 gallons of Water in 15 seconds.,

Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti (Environmentalist)
Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti is a youth environment and climate activist and founder of the Green Generation Initiative, which encourages young people to love nature and be environmentally conscious at a young age. And calls for solidarity and compassion for the World’s growing climate and ecological crises. “Most of the things that are happening in the world right now are because we have chosen to put profits above the people and our planet.”

Adebayo Oke-Lawal (CEO and Creative Director)
Adebayo Oke-Lawal is the CEO and Creative Director of Nigerian fashion brand ‘Orange Culture,’ which also has a dedicated mentorship program, ‘The Orange Mentorship,’ created to provide resources and support to young fashion entrepreneurs across the continent of Africa. With a strong menswear following, all pieces are made in Lagos, with fabrics ethically sourced from local Nigerian fabric makers. The brand also equips staff with rigorous training and offers them opportunities for further empowering skills. www./

Mag Rodriguez (CEO and Entrepreneur)
Mag Rodriguez is the CEO and founder of, a new creative platform that helps artists sell music directly to fans. It positions itself as “sell music first, stream second” and a pre-release stop before streaming platforms. Created to empower Black and brown artists to address proper compensation and crediting, and connect artists with fans to enable direct support, and eliminate fees from reseller platforms.


International Black Heritage Month (IBHM) 2023 focus this year is Jamaica and the 75th anniversary of Windrush, the vibrant Yoruba people, and the inspiring Creative Pioneers who have shaped our world. People around the globe can enjoy the curated content and virtual events all year long at:

Another of this year’s highlights is the 24-hour IBHM curated Spotify playlist, that features Japanese reggae, Indian hip hop, Afro beats from Mexico and Portugal, and acclaimed artists from around the globe, such as C4 Pedro, Libianca, Koffee Gunna, Chozen Lee, Usher, Missy Elliott, Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, Africa Unite, Diana Ross, Beyoncé, Soul II Soul, and more. Listen Here:

This year IBHM also featured virtual impactful educational talks and workshops with esteemed speakers, including award-winning visual designer Eddie Opara, sharing on the future of design, and his recent work creating Ben’s Best BLNZ (B3) brand, founded by Ben of the iconic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

IBHM partnered with The Homeownership Council of America and other financial organizations to hold virtual workshops aimed at helping disadvantaged people in America become first-time homeowners.

IBHM also partnered with The University of La Verne, California to host workshops focused on legal skills, financial wealth building, and mental well-being. These sessions will equip participants with practical knowledge and tools to navigate essential aspects of their lives.