my list of 'The top 25 Most Influential Visionaries'

this blog is in response to a really offensive article I addressed above. since writing these two pieces, and commenting on the site in response to the author's negligence...they have replaced Forbes with Oprah on their list and here is the site's moderator's message to me:

Steve Forbes, #7 on the list, did indeed inherit his papa’s empire. Malcolm built Forbes; Steve expanded it. Thus, we decided to remove him from our list and replace him with Oprah Winfrey, who perhaps boasts one of the most iconic success stories ever.

so, it's good to know in this day-and-age that voices are heard and people are honored by their virtue, not just membership into a boy's club.

I have compiled this list below of the '25 Most Influential Visionaries'. I have described in short the life and works of my personal Top 15...the other list is an honoring of their names with links if you would like to know more about their legacies. and please, if you feel inclined to do so, just as I did, please chime in and let me know if there is a person you feel should be honored and for what reason...personal stories are welcomed.

in no particular order, and in a random selection of people from each type of legacy - so please don't get upset about comparisons (i.e. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Fields):

American television host, media mogul, philanthropist, academy award nominated actress, influential book critic and magazine publisher. after having won multiple Emmy awards, she stands to still have the highest rated talk show in the country. growing up in a poor household in rural MS, she was a two-time rape victim who also had a son from the second rape, who later died. she stands true as a woman who has conquered adversity, overcome criticism and has revolutionized talk-television as we know it today. there is really so much to note about her amazing rise to success, including being one of the wealthiest Americans, not to mention being an African American woman on that list...she should be praised endlessly and forever for her lifetime of work. (she is my number 1 hero).
CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, a non-profit designed to support entrepreneurs of high impact in emerging markets. since 1997, she has been the pioneer of this company who identifies then mentors the most promising undiscovered entrepreneurs in Latin America, South Africa, Egypt, India, Jordan and Turkey. a recipient for many awards including, and not limited to: "Innovator for the 21st Century" by Time Magazine , One of the 100 Bold Innovators of 2003 - MIT Tech Review, World Economic Forum named her "Global Leader for Tomorrow" and "Young Global Leader", among many others, she was also The 1st Female Chair of the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, in 2007.
American business magnate, author, editor, homemaking advocate, former stockbroker and fashion model. in 2001, she was named " The 3rd Most Powerful Woman in America" by Ladies Home Journal. growing up in a modest, middle-class household in NJ, she went on to being a successful stockbroker after becoming a mother, started a catering business in her basement in 1976, and a year later wrote a New York Times Best Selling cookbook - Entertaining. since then, she has created the DIY empire and homemaking as we know it in the 21st Century. her show as well as many books, Kmart products and magazines later - has proved her to be a powerful vision of success.
a victim of the segregated Virginian tennis circuit, Ashe moved to Missouri when he was young to play tennis in a better matched environment, one where he wouldn't have to travel great distances. he was recognized by Sports Illustrated and later received a scholarship to UCLA in 1963. it was also this year history was made - he was the first African American ever selected to play for the US Davis Cup team. he was the only player to have won amateur and open national championships in the same year. he called attention to many philanthropic causes, including South Africa's apartheid policies, an avid civil rights supporter, and a protester for crackdown on Haitian refugees. in 1975, Ashe won Wimbledon against Jimmy Connors. this amazing legend remains to be the first African American player to ever win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the US Open or Australian Open. he is one of only two men of Black African ancestry to win a Grand Slam singles title. he founded the National Junior Tennis League, and supported the creation of the Association of Tennis Professionals. he was inducted in 1985 to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
'The second most admired person in the 20th Century" (Gallup poll)
Voted #6 in "The Person of the Century" Poll (Time Magazine)
the leader of the American civil rights movement. a Baptist minister born in Atlanta, GA. he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - serving as its 1st President, led the March on Washington - giving the "I Had A Dream" speech, and proved himself to be one of the greatest orators in US history. he became in 1964, the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize due to his groundbreaking and heartfelt work in ending segregation and discrimination of Black people through non-violent means. as a religious man - he focused on ending poverty and heavily opposed the Vietnam War. it was only until after his assassination in 1968 that he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in '77, and the Congressional Gold Medal in '04. in 1986 - America established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday, and to this day - the 3rd Monday in January is shamefully, still not honored by many people/companies and foundations.
a Roman-Catholic nun who was born in Albania in 1910. for a period of over 40 years of some of the most compassionate work we have seen in recent centuries, she administered services to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. this mission began when she started the "Missionaries of Calcutta" foundation in India in 1950, and then spread across the globe. a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and earning India's highest civilian honor, her foundation reached outstanding heights. at the time of her death, she was operating 610 missions in 123 countries. Pope John Paul II beautified her and gave her the title Blessed Theresa of Calcutta since her death in 1997. although heavily criticised throughout her decades of work, she is a legend in her own wright, and she leaves quite a big set of shoes to fill.
born in 1935, he is a revered spiritual leader among the Tibetan people. the 5h of 16 children born into a farming village in Tibet, he was said to be the rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of TWO! in 1950, at the ripe old age of 15, he was enthroned. he fled Tibet for India in 1959. now in exile, he has presided over the Central Tibetan Administration in India. he remains one of the most regarded spiritual teachers of our time.
India's major political and spiritual leader of the Indian Independence Movement. a vegetarian, and long-time faster, he focused on self-purification leading to social protests and lived a in a modest, self-sufficient community, wearing clothes he spun by hand. a believer in mass civil disobedience, founded on the principle of non-violence (also known as 'ahisma' in yoga). known as The Father of the Nation in India, his birthday, October 2nd is not only a national holiday there, but it is the International Day of Non-Violence. back when it wasn't fashionable or advertised, he led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, women's rights, pushing for religious and ethnic amity to be built, ending 'untouchability', increasing economic self-reliance and most importantly - he allowed for the independence of India from foreign domination. he led movements for civil rights in South Africa, where he was imprisoned (as well as in India), and he played an important role in the Zulu War of 1906 as well.
born in Queens, NY in 1906...she was the only woman on Time Magazine's 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th Century. she was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. having lived for 97 long, she created a billion-dollar legacy after learning valuable merchandising experience from her work in her father's hardware store. a natural saleswoman, she utilized her chemist uncle's knowledge and began selling her skin-care products to beauty salons and hotels. she and her team of executives have only enriched the company's portfolio by adding new brands such as: Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins and MAC.
a South African opposed to apartheid, he rose to worldwide fame in the '80s. in '84 , he became only the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. the first elected black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town who also chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as still the chairman of The Elders. Tutu is a huge AIDS activist as well as a member of the UN Advisory Panel on Genocide Prevention, since 2006. he has also received the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism and the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007. an author and orator, he resigned from teaching school to protest poor educational prospects for Black South Africans (following the passage of the Bantu Education Act). he went on to continue his studies in theology, and eventually in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican Minister. he had an intense position where he voiced his discontent about the way Black people were treated in a largely White parish. after many director-level positions for honored organizations in the UK, he returned to South Africa in 1975, when he was appointed the Anglican Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg, as the first African person to ever hold that title.
a noble man. an educated man. at the age of 7, he became the first member of his family to attend a school. he went on to study at the early age of 16 at a boarding institute, and completed his Junior Certificate there a year early than all other students. due to his beliefs and taking part in revolutions, he was asked to leave college but went on to gain his Bachelor of Laws from the University of London while imprisoned. former President of South Africa, he was previously an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African national Congress. spending a significant time in prison (27 long, hard years) dubbed by the apartheid government as a communist and terrorist, he became a symbol of freedom and equality internationally, to people who knew better. a recipient of over 100 awards over 4 decades, to include the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Mahatma was a huge inspiration for Mandela (aka Madiba, as he is known in South Africa) on the non-violence policy issues and facing adversity with a sense of dignity. a great book, which he co-wrote with his journalist friend, Mandela: The Authorised Biography.
an Irish band with members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. formed in 1976 , when they were teenagers. within a decade, they became a top international act whose main source of income was in performing live, until the release of The Joshua Tree album in 1987. having sold several hundred-million albums worldwide, they have won more Grammy's than any other band in history. in 2005, their first year of eligibility, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame and are listed as #22 of the 100 greatest artists of all time, by Rolling Stone Magazine. what puts them easily on this list is their track record for campaigning for human rights and social justice causes, participating in Band Aid, Live Aid, including Amnesty International, ONE Campaign, founding of Music Rising, Project Red and Bono's DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade in Africa) campaign. many performances have donated proceeds to charities such as the Chernobyl Children's Project and they have performed at many charity functions, such as Mandela's 46664 series of concerts. They have been awarded the Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award for their human rights' efforts.
Venus, "One of the 30 Most Powerful Women in American" (Ladies Home Journal, 2001)
born in 1980, Venus is a former world #1 tennis player and the reigning Wimbledon singles/doubles champion. a strong player, she has won 16 Grand Slam titles as well as Olympic Gold medals. this year, she struck the fastest serve by a woman in Wimbledon's history during the singles finals at a record 129 mph. in previous years, Venus won the Lipton International Players Championships a couple of times, the Hamburg Tournament, the Italian Open in Rome, the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament in CT, and the Zurich Tournament. she and Serena teamed to win doubles titles at the French and US Open, becoming the first sister team to win a Grand Slam doubles title in the 20th century. she has met endlessly with officials from the French and Wimbledon tournaments to follow in Billie Jean King's footsteps that female tennis players should be paid as much as males. her demands were rejected. however, Tony Blair and members of Parliament publicly endorsed her arguments and later that year in 2006, the Women's Tennis Association and UNESCO teamed for a gender equality sports campaign, with Venus at the helm. early in 2007, Wimbledon and the French Open announced it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds. nicely done Venus. she is also the CEO of her Interior Design Firm, V Starr Interiors in Florida, and has also designed a line called EleVen with Steve & Barry as the retailer.
Serena, the current top-ranked American Female Player.
a former World #1 ranked female tennis player with 8 Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic Gold in women's doubles. she is the most recent of all players (read: women and men) to have held all 4 Grand Slam singles titles at the same time. at the age of 4 1/2 she had already won her first tournament, and in the next 6 years of her life out of 49 tournaments she entered, she won 46 of them Tennis Magazine in 2005, ranked her #17 of the best players from the preceding 40 years. she has also tied Venus' record for the fastest WTA tour serve by a woman, of 129 mph. her titles match Venus' as does her fashion sense, she has had lines with Puma and now Nike, and also started her own line of clothing in boutiques in Miami and LA, called Aneres which is her first name spelled backwards. having modeled for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, she has also had fame with her sister Venus on The Simpsons, and on ABC. she has had numerous other acting gigs including an appearance for Common's music video, 'I Want You'.
The 12th Richest Woman in Britain.
"48th Most Powerful Celebrity of 2007", Forbes Magazine.
Time Magazine's runner-up for its "2007 Person of the Year" award.
her real name is Joanne as was the authored name on the first Harry Potter book published. but her publishers urged her to use two initials so that young boys wouldn't be biased to read a book a female wrote!! a former welfare recipient after divorcing and moving to Scotland with her daughter, this amazing and imaginative author went from rags-to-riches as a millionaire only 5 years later. when in school, she majored in French and Clasics. she became a researcher and secretary for Amnesty International. in 1990 while on a train in England, this British writer conceived the phenomenon, Harry Potter. having sold almost 400 million copies, she has had the time to become an international philanthropist with organizations like Comic Relief, One Parent Families and the MS Society of Great Britain. her initial novel was rejected by all 12 publishing houses it was submitted to in 1995. since then, her book series has earned numerous awards and prizes, and her films have gone on to be legends. congradulations Joanne Rowling.
"...the most sensational woman anyone ever saw." Earnest Hemmingway.
this legendary singer/dancer was also called the 'Bronze Venus' or the 'Black Pearl' and the 'Creole Goddess'. she was a US born French ex-pat. Ms. Baker is the first female African American to star in a major motion picture, integrate a US Concert hall and become a world famous entertainer. an avid contributor to the US Civil Rights Movement, she has paved the way for many of today's African American performers. a school dropout at the age of 12, within a year she was dancing and performing on the streets of St. Louis. a few years later, during the Harlem Renaissance, she made her move to NYC and performed at The Plantation Club as well as Broadway revues. evenutally, she was touted as 'the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville'. in 1925, she ventured to Paris and was an immediate success due to her highly erotic shows, where often she would be accompanied by her pet cheetah, Chiquita. this woman was dynamite!! later she became an actress in Europe but always remained a muse for authors, painters, designers and sculptors alike, in the contemporary vein: Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, F. Schott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior. she was the first American-born woman to receive teh highest French military honor - the Croix de Guerre. She was also inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fam. she was so fierce and popular with the French, even the Nazis who were occupying France during WWII refused to cause her harm. she was always a bigger star in France, and unfortunately fell victim to such criticisms here in the US as the New York Times calling her a "Negro wench." oh boy, how off-target they were. I am sure this only added to her vehemntly strong defense for social justice and opposition of segregation; in fact, she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the US and in Las Vegas where she insisted on mixed audiences, she began to finally integrate shows in this Country. in 1951, she made a case for charges of racism against the Stork Club in NY where they would not let her perform. Grace Kelly who was at the club at that moment, rushed over to her and left with her entire party, boycotting the establishment for the rest of her life. the two women became very close and Kelly even helped Baker in hard financial times when she needed a home and money to live. Baker spoke at the March on Washington beside Martin Luther King, Jr. when she worked with the NAACP. she was the only woman to speak at the rally. even Coretta Scott King asked Baker to take Martin Luther King's place and lead the American Civil Rights Movement, after his assassination, but she turned it down in fear her children were too young to lose their mother. Josephine adopted 12 multi-ethic orphans whom she called her 'Rainbow Tribe'. she eventually had one child, who was stillborn in 1941 and had to have an emergency hysterectomy. just after celebrating 50 years in show business by a revue backed by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - in 1975, she passed away two days later at the age of 68. cited as the iconic performer for Diana Ross and Whitney Houston, this woman will forever live on in entertainment, Civil Rights Movement's and women's history. however, you can still honor her legacy at her son's restaurant on 42nd Street in NYC's Restaurant Row, Chez Josephine.

OTHER NOTABLES (with live links)

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