Everyone knows Janet (Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty). She’s managed to remain relevant in every decade since she emerged as a singer in the 80’s. This past year she has received many accolades, including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her story to success is so touching. She started out on tv with her family and broke out into music where she initially didn’t have immediate success. It wasn’t until her third album, Control topped the Billboard charts and took her music career in a different direction. Jackson teaches us that it doesn’t matter you start, it’s how you finish. I look forward to seeing her continue to be the Queen in 2019.
Rhodes rose to fame after the 2016 film Moonlight. Before this career-changing opportunity, he was a college athlete. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. I find it encouraging how although his degree was in Kinesiology, he decided to make a career in his passion instead of a career in healthcare. As someone who currently works in the education field, I see firsthand how careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are pushed however the arts are almost always overlooked. Growing up in a low-income household, often times we’re encouraged to chase careers with little risk and high income. So by going against the grain, I found much strength in Rhodes’ decision. He can also be seen in Birdbox with Sandra Bullock.
I feel that Grande is one of the most talked about celebs in 2018. From her successful third album, sweetener to her losing her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller, she’s survived a very challenging year.I found it so inspiring how she handled her extremely publicized break up with Pete Davidson. They were engaged after dating for only a few weeks. People said they wouldn’t last. People said they wouldn’t make it down the aisle. Although this turned out to be true, Grande made the best of the situation. Her hit single, Thank u, next became her first Billboard Hot 100 chart topper. You can’t reach that level of success wallowing in misery. I’m sure the world cannot wait for her upcoming fifth album in 2019.
I fell in love with Shonda Rhimes as soon as I discovered she executive produces Grey’s Anatomy. Her creativity and passion for her craft are so inspiring. She creates entertaining television while incorporating real-world issues that we can relate to. She also is an executive producer for How To Get Away With Murder and the Grey’s spinoff, Station 19. Outside of working in the entertainment industry, Rhimes has been an activist for gender equality in Hollywood as well as across the country. As awesome as she is in her career, she also is a mom to three girls. When I think of my future, I use Rhimes as my inspiration to create work that is important, fulfilling and real. Rhimes now is working for Netflix. I look forward to all of her future productions.
James is undoubtedly one of the best athletes of our time. His dedication to the sport of basketball motivates everyone. The part of James that inspires me the most is his dedication to his family and community. It’s not easy being a public figure because you navigate through life under a magnifying glass. In 2018, James opened a public elementary school “I Promise School.” He has been involved with several non-profit organizations while also creating his own. We often see African American males in the public spend money on frivolous things but James works against this stereotype by staying dedicated to his community. Who wouldn’t be inspired by this?
Another one of the greatest athletes of all time goes to Serena Williams. She’s played tennis all of life. After she gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. her ranking drastically fell from being one of the top-ranked players. What I find most captivating about Williams is that as much drama as she gets, she always perseveres. She didn’t let her ranking deter her from making her way back up on the list. She also was able to change the rules to the game. Now, players taking maternity leave will not be affected in their rank. Recently, she made a lot of headlines for her outfits being too tight and/or revealing. She strategized and kicked ass in her tutu back in August 2018. Although she didn’t win the 2019 Australian Open, she continues to make us proud with her elegance and grace.
Smith is someone most of us grew up watching. From starting in music to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to now films, Smith has done it all. Recently, he made a lot of headlines as he was cast in Disney’s Aladdin. I think the most interesting and inspiring thing about Smith’s is how he lives his best life on vacation. In 2018 we saw him do some crazy things for his 50th birthday. Skydiving, bungee jumping and doing the Shiggy challenge in Budapest. Although I can’t see myself doing some of those things, I want my 2019 cultivate more of care-free attitude like Smith. I want to be able to travel and have fun doing things on my own without others permission. Finding happiness outside of your career is so important. I saw Smith doing this and I am committed to doing the same.
Who inspires you? I hope you all have an amazing 2019!