February is here and we at Praise 107.9 are celebrating Black History Month. We will be honoring the contributions of our black leaders who paved the way in all industries.
Black History Month Honorees: People You Need to Know! was originally published on classixphilly.com
1. Joan Myers Brown- Started PhiladancoSource:Getty
Today’s honoree is Joan Myers Brown. A visionary who started Philadanco in 1970, Brown paved the way for her dancers to electrify global audiences with the flavor of Black Philadelphia. Philadanco is still based in West Philly, and thanks to Joan Myers Brown, it should be there for years to come.
2. Judge Lori Dumas [left]
After 20 years on the Philadelphia court of common pleas this Philly Native and mother of three is taking her Duke University and North Carolina Law School Central degree and career UP STATE — by making history as the first black woman to sit on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvanian. Judge Lori Dumas Philly raised… History made!
3. Chief Lisa Forrest- Battalion Chief of America’s Oldest Fire Department.
She may be but 4‘10“ tall but this fire department diminutive, petite powerhouse now has just that… Power — Lisa Forrest is the first black woman to ever be named battalion chief of America’s oldest fire Department. The Philadelphia Fire Department. — 18 years on the job this mother of two rose steadily from Lieutenant, to Capt, to Battalion Chief. Who knows what’s next. For Chief Lisa Forrest, anything’s possible!
4. Zaila Avant Garde- National Spelling Bee WinnerSource:Getty
Honoring Zaila Avant-Garde. In the 93-year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, she became the first African American to win the contest back in 2021. This 15-year-old whiz-kid isn’t just a scholar, she also has a nasty Iverson-esque crossover. Check out her basketball highlights. The student-athlete’s dedication to greatness is something everyone should aspire to.
5. Cree Summer- Voice of Iconic CharactersSource:Getty
The voice of many childhoods, Cree Summer. Since 1983, at age 11, she has voiced a pantheon of iconic characters, including Susie Carmichael from Rugrats and Penny from Inspector Gadget. You might even notice her as Freddie Brooks from A Different World. She is responsible for giving the identity to so many Black female characters, making black kids around the world feel seen.
6. Jessica Watkins- NASA astronautSource:Getty
Celebrating NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins. This Stanford graduate will be the first Black woman to embark on an extended mission into space. Jessica’s expertise in geology and marine biology may even exceed her time as Division I champion in Rugby. In April, her mission on the moon is to spend six months working and cultivating life on the International Space Station. Buzz Lightyear doesn’t have a thing on Jessica Watkins.
7. Sister Rosetta Tharpe- GuitaristSource:Getty
Honoring guitar hero Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Before guitar virtuosos like Jimmy Hendricks and Prince, there was THE GODMOTHER OF ROCK & ROLL. The hall of famer’s mix of gospel and rock ‘n’ roll back in the 1930s and 40s would’ve flew your wig off before church ended. There’s a reason her uncanny knack for her control of her Gibson guitar could easily be seen as God-like. Her guitar moves can be seen in every guitarist from her era to now.
9. Barry Jenkins- FilmmakerSource:Getty
Honoring filmmaker Barry Jenkins. Barry first began his career in film with the short film My Josephine in 2003. From there his struggle and passion for the art of filmmaking bloomed, and 2016’s Moonlight was the pinnacle of his hard work. Black filmmakers like Barry continue to shape to the future landscape of what belongs in Hollywood.