The Creative Collective NYC — the community behind the CultureCon conference — has announced their second annual Creative Class of 2021, which honors Black leaders across various industries.

The Creative Class is a celebration of visionary culture-shifters of color who inspire within their communities and build from the ground up, emerging as powerful forces, making cultural and societal impact. The list highlights the importance of championing Black voices and supporting existing ecosystems dedicated to building up the Black community.

This year, 44 individuals were named onto the list. Honorees work in areas ranging from science to fashion to beauty to photography to social justice and beyond.

Just like The Creative Collective’s overall mission to provide spaces for individuals of color and amplify talent within the community, The Creative Class list is designed to showcase the efforts of groundbreaking Black leaders, as marginalized voices are just now finally being heard and deserve recognition. The organization’s hope is to simply be a megaphone for the great work being done by the individuals on the list.

Included on the list are Kizzmekia Corbett, the key scientist behind the COVID-19 vaccine; activist and educator Brittany Packnett Cunningham for her commitment to justice and Black political power; sports reporter Taylor Rooks, who spent months reporting from the NBA bubble; photographer Joshua Kissi, co-founder of TONL, for diversifying stock photos and showcasing Black talent with a fresh perspective; Lindsey People Wagner and Sandrine Charles, founders of Black In Fashion Council, who are holding the fashion industry accountable to be more inclusive; Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle, co-founders of wellness studio Heal Haus; Alex Wolf for redefining how we interpret our relationship with technology in the age of social media; Anifa Mvuemba, founder of Hanifa Official, for breaking the internet with a 3D virtual fashion show; Elise Smith, co-founder and CEO at Praxis Labs; and more.

“We are honored to celebrate these inspiring change-makers in our community. Our goal is to continue to nurture creative ecosystems and build ownership and equitable opportunities,” said Imani Ellis, founder of The Creative Collective NYC.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to celebrate this amazing class of creatives,” added Micahel Oloyede, the digital lead for The Creative Collective NYC. “2020 was a historic year for many reasons and our honorees were leaders with their craft, voices, and ambitions. I’m excited to see how they will use their talents to continue to change our communities in 2021.”

The Creative Collective NYC is perhaps best known for CultureCon, which has featured speakers such as Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina King and Spike Lee. The conference began in 2019, starting with 200 people and growing to 3,700 attendees in its most recent third outing. Though the pandemic has disrupted plans for events across the industry, the forces being CultureCon are currently planning what the conference might look like in 2021, perhaps considers a digital event.

To see the full list of The Creative Class for 2021, click here.