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Yes, he signed a lifetime deal with Nike worth a billion dollars; and yes, as beneficent ruler of his brand, James has empowered his peers and laid a template for more favorable contracts for all players. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward helped break the 52-year championship drought in Cleveland and was unanimously named NBA Finals MVP.But the best part, though, is how this young phenom consistently stands up in the face of injustice and gives back in spades. A beautiful man with a beautiful mind is a hero both on and off the screen.One can never tire of using biblical allusions for “King James” because his story is so epic.Yes, the prodigal son of Akron, Ohio, delivered Cleveland its first-ever NBA title, taking on a Goliath competitor, and winning his third NBA Finals MVP in the process.Williams was named Forbes’ highest-earning female athlete in the world—the world, y’all—playing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and winning doubles at Wimbledon with her equally magical sister, Venus.Serena also made individual history in England, nailing her 22nd grand-slam singles title to tie tennis great Steffi Graf for the most grand slams in the Open era (Margaret Court, who has 24 total grand slam wins, is next in Serena’s sights).This season, San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem so that he could stand for the sanctity of black lives.Kaepernick’s action has set off a wave of solidarity from athletes all over the country—from junior high school students to professional competitors in other sports.
Coates’ for Marvel is one of the best-selling comics of 2016, proving that he pretty much stays winning when it comes to this writing thing. Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction and wrote one of the best-selling comics of 2016.
When Williams was honored for his humanitarian work at the 2016 BET Awards, he used his mic time to highlight the urgent fight for black justice, delivering the best two-minute-and-four-second acceptance speech the network ever aired.
The , a series investigating domestic inequality scheduled to air on Epix Sept. Williams and his wife, Aryn Drake-Lee Williams, have also been busy creating: Together, they launched a new app called Ebroji and welcomed their second child, Maceo. The actor/activist’s powerful, fiery speech on race, justice and cultural appropriation at this year’s BET Awards set the internet ablaze.
The multigifted filmmaker is a pioneer in modern history—the first black woman to win best director at Sundance and the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe—and is now the first woman of color to direct a 0 million production after signing on for Disney’s 2017 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, based on the celebrated children’s book. Du Vernay partnered with Oprah to create the OWN series Ten-time Grammy and recent Oscar winner John Legend has distinguished himself as a remarkable singer and musician, but also as a social-justice tour de force.
Last April, Legend unveiled the #Free America movement, a multiyear campaign to end mass incarceration in the U.