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Inspirational Black Men

By on January 6, 2014

As 2013 comes to a close, Healthy Black Men recognizes the contributions of ten amazing Black men who really made a difference.

Re-elected to a second term, but first on our list is President Barack Obama stayed the course amidst a flawed launch of the ObamaCare website . But maybe the most underreported story of the year had to be the one million Americans who did secure health insurance via healthcare.gov. Collectively 36 states participate in the expansion of health insurance coverage, resulting in roughly, the population of Dallas, Texas secure healthcare coverage to date.

At number two is storyteller, Lee Louis Daniels. He produced Monster’s Ball and directed Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, which received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director. This year, he directed Oscar winner Forrest Whitaker and media mogul Oprah Winfrey in The Butler, a historical drama featuring Jane Fonda, Mariah Carey, and Lenny Kravitz to name drop. The Butler was box office gold and Daniels cemented his A-list status as a cinematic genius…again.

It was March and Chicago’s Shani Davis earned his 11th individual career medal at the World Single Distance Speed skating Championships in Sochi, Russia. Davis finished second in the 1,500 meters and now has won six gold, three silver and two bronze single-distance medals, nearly one third of the U.S. total (36) in the history of the meet.

Number four on this list is the Newark, NJ mayor who became a U.S. Senator in 2013. Democrat Cory Booker was elected to the United States Senate in October after New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg died in June. Booker was sworn in as a U.S. Senator on October 31st.

Earvin Johnson III, or E.J. (#5), is the 21-year-old son of basketball great and business mogul Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson (#6). We salute them both for representing a healthy father-son dynamic not often seen in the African American community. A masculine father accepting of his openly gay son. Who said it could not happen in our community?


Tony Dorsett, former running back for the Dallas Cowboys became the latest former NFL player to show signs of CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Now 59, Dorsett said that when he took his flight from Dallas to Los Angeles for testing, he repeatedly struggled to remember why he was aboard the plane and where he was going. His public bravery comes is number seven as he shares his CTE battle publicly and gracefully, while reminding us all what true champions are made of.

Former inmate, Frederick Hutson cannot resist trying to solve a problem. He and his company, Pigeonly are number eight because his technological breakthrough taps a “captive” market by offering prison inmates an easy and efficient way to receive photos from loved ones and to make phone calls to them inexpensively. Mr. Hutson left prison, started a company and recently received investments at the million dollar level. Talk about a turnaround story.


Bad Boy record founder and mega-mogul, Sean Combs (#9) has built a half-billion dollar empire with non-music business ventures. And with a page out of the mogul handbook, like Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson, Combs became a television network owner. Revolt launched in October and is a music-oriented digital cable television network, in partnership with Comcast.


Reports of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s declining health in 2013 made the world pause. The day we all knew would come arrived too soon on December 5, 2013 when Mandela died after a long bout with a lung infection at 95 years old. World leaders from nearly 100 countries made a pilgrimage to post-apartheid South Africa to pay tribute to the life and legacy of the man known for 27 years as prisoner 46664. From activist to prisoner, Mandela emerged from incarceration to become South Africa’s first black president, and as a result a global symbol of all the good humanity could offer.


As 2013 draws to a close, we at Healthy Black Men recognize each of these amazing men and the countless others we strive to support through our work. We remain inspired and look forward to a new year with new opportunities to make amazing contributions to society and humankind.


Walker Tisdale III, MPH, MA is the founder and editor of Healthyblackmen.org and executive director of the not-for-profit organization, Health Institute for Men. He resides in Atlanta, GA.



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