This February we are taking time to honor Chicagoans who are making change in the community with The Great 28 Brought to you by Hennessy. Each day of the month we will pay tribute to a different person. Be sure to check in every day to see who gets honored.
Today, we honor fashion industry pioneer, Virgil Abloh as one of our Great 28. An American fashion designer and entrepreneur from Chicago. He was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection beginning and was also the Chief Executive Officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2013. Virgil, did the design merchandise and graphics for Kanye's popular "Graduation" album, and has worked on several ground breaking projects in the fashion industry. He was also responsible for creating a Sense of Awareness to Racial Equality amongst the brand he worked for. He has broken down many walls in The Fashion Industry and his legacy will live forever.
Today we honor Juan Teague CEO of Juan and Only events as one of our Great 28.
Juan Teague has over 20 years of experience in hotels and hospitality industry and built her career from ground up. She is owner of Juan and Only, a premiere full-service events and logistics company. Juan is a huge helping hand the community from her Philanthropic Work to Producing Festivals such as Aahh! Fest, Mamby on the Beach, Spring Awakening and many more. She Invest in Black and Brown Communities and providing job training and opportunities for local youth. Juan has had a huge impact on bringing festivals and entertainment to Chicago’s Black Communities
Today we honor Entrepreneur Kenny Johnson as one of our Great 28.
Kenny Johnson, a native of Chicago, is President of LifeBrand Inc and Lifebrand Hospitality Group that owns and operates bars and restaurants in Chicago.
Owner of Sage Room, Bureau Bar and Restaurant, and Bureau Pizza Company. Kenny Johnson has made a huge impact on the black restaurant business in Chicago. The Bureau Bar and Restaurant opened its doors in 2018, shortly after he rebranded the Velvet Lounge to Sage Room. The summer of 2021 saw the opening of Bureau Pizza Co. on Printers Row. Before owning bars, he was a well-known promoter in Lincoln Park and River North. Kenny Johnson also works with several community organizations and is devoted to making change in Chicago.
Today we honor, Pastor Corey Brooks as one of our Great 28. A Chicago Native, Founder and Sr. Pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, founded in 2000. Spent 94 days on roof of run-down motel (known for drugs, prostitution and violence) to raise money to buy building. Bought Building, tore it down, earmarked for state-of-the-art community center. He is also a Founder and CEO of Project H.O.O.D. started with his wife, Delilah to build Focus to revitalize neighborhoods. Pastor Corey Brooks is currently in the middle of spending 100 days on another roof to raise awareness about ending violence and help build a new entrepreneurial center in the “O” Block Neighborhood. He is devoted to changing the landscape of Chicago Black neighborhoods.
Today we honor basketball player, Ayo Dosunmu, as one of our Great. Ayo is Chicago Bulls Point guard drafted in the 2nd round. He attended Morgan Park High school and played college ball at University of Illinois for 3 years where he recently had his number “11” retired. He was named Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player leading the Illini to victory over Ohio State. He was drafted 38th by the Bulls, became the first rookie to post over 20 points, 10 assists and shoot better than 90% or better. Ayo has a passion to create change amongst the youth in the Chicagoland Area.
Today we honor Dr. Ameena Matthews. Born on Chicago’s Southside, Dr. Ameena Matthews is the daughter of Jeff Fort. Dr. Ameena Matthews has dedicated her life to advocating and fighting for social change in our communities. Dr. Matthews started working with Cease Fire (now known as Cure Violence) as a violence interrupter, where she had a passion to keep people from dieing from Violence. Dr. Ameena’s work was highlighted in the 2011 Emmy award winning documentary “The Interrupters.” She received the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. Dr. Ameena Fort is also the founder of Pause for Peace focuses on proactive approaches to violence. She recently ran for Congress, and she also does security and restorative justice work with iGrow, an organization working to build safe communities in Englewood.
Today we honor Sandi Robinson, Community Activist. Sandi Robinson is the co-founder of Chicago Gives Back and the director of sales at the Godfrey Hotel. Her organization Chicago Gives Back’s mission is to improve the welfare of our global community via innovative charitable experiences. Sandi is a Board Member for IGLTA and she was recognized by the Chicago Defender as a Women of Excellence.. Sandi Robinson has it in her bones to make sure people are taken care of, and continues to work in the community to fight the COVD 19- Pandemic, homelessness, and many other causes across the city of Chicago.
Larry Hoover Jr. is the Son of Larry Hoover. He is a committed to created change in the Chicagoland Area, and exhausting all efforts to promote non violence, and peace across the city. Larry Hoover Jr. founded Free My Father, a campaign bring awareness and advocate for the children who parents have been incarcerated, the abolishment of unjust life without parole sentencing, unfair sentencing of black and brown people in low economic communities, and long term solitary confinement Recently, Larry Hoover Jr. Called on Drake/Kanye to end feud and come together for “Free My Father Benefit Concert” which would raise fund for many of his causes. Each and every day Larry Hoover JR. is working hard toward creating A Better Life for the Youth of Chicago, and advocating for a fair judicial system.
Today we Honor Simeon Henderson. Born and raised in Chicago Simeon Henderson is a man of many hats. He is an Actor, Producer, Motivational Speaker, and Life Coach. In his early life Simeon worked as Public School Teacher, and for the Chicago Police Department where he touched the lives of many people. He made the transition into the Entertainment world and wrote the book "Through The Eyes of a Man". Simeon launched his own entertainment company symbolic entertainment which has produced several films. As an actor he has worked on blockbuster hits such as Barbershop II, War of the Worlds, Even Trade, Caught in the Game, I Used to Love Her, and a host of other movies and national commercials. Simeon continues to work in the community and help the people of Chicago.
Today we honor, Alderman Stephanie Coleman, lifelong resident now Alderman of the 16th Ward. She got start in politics from her mom, former Alderman Shirley Coleman. In 2019, at the Age of 30 became the youngest member of Chicago City Council. She is also actively involved in issues concerning youth: education, achievement gap, public safety, and economic growth
As recipient of the Chicago Defender Women of Excellence, Alderman Coleman is a community leader who has received several notable honors for her hard work . In addition, Alderman Coleman actively participates in multiple community service and outreach projects including being the Founder & CEO, of her own organization Sons, and Daughters of Englewood . Alderman Stephanie D. Coleman continues to work tirelessly for the people of the 16th Ward.
Today we honor Hurricane, known to many in CHICAGO as the man with connections in Chicago. He is a Chicago born Entreprenuer, Activist, and Marketing Professional, and Brand Strategist. Known for his early work in the Music Business, Hurricane has a successful career in marketing and management of mainstream celebrities and working to merge major brands. He has worked closely with the cast of the TV show The CHI and talent such as RAE SREMMURD, COMEDIAN MICHALE BLACKSON, SHAWNA, CORY HARDICT AND MANY OTHERS. In addition he has implemented programs that impact the Urban Community for brands such as Samsung, Jordan North Face and Orange Theory. Hurricane has a passion to help the youth engage in meaningful experiences that will shape their future, and make them productive citizens in Chicago. He works with local School and has created a Stop The Violence Initiative.
Today we honor Damon Williams. Hailing from Englewood, he is a prominent name in the comedy scene. He has over 25 years in the industry. Damon was a former subway shop owner who began his career at All Jokes Aside Comedy Club in Chicago and catapulted his career into movies, television, and entrepreneurship. he has been on BET, HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central networks. Also, Damon has been the host of the Apollo and a part of the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Currently, Damon Williams is co-owner of The Laugh Factory in Chicago. He is also actively involved in the community.
Today we honor John Monopoly, a native of Chicago, he is a well accomplished music executive and entrepreneur. John Monopoly started as a promoter at the young age of 13 in Chicago. Over time, he has held multiple positions from Vice President at Violator, to Jive Records, to being on the management teams of artists such as Kanye West , Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott. Monopoly is also known discovering streetwear innovator Don C., and discovering fashion designer, DJ and entrepreneur Virgil Abloh. His experience and impact are without a doubt invaluable and a force in the world of fashion, music, and entertainment. The music mogul recently joined the advisory board of Chicago tech company, Eventnoire, and continues to break down barriers in the world or Technology, Cannabis, and Music.
Today we honor Jordan Cornette as one of our Great 28. Chicago’s own, played power forward for Notre Dame. He got his start with Big Ten Network in 2007 as a production assistant. He also worked as Notre Dame Basketball Color Commentator for 9 years. In 2015, Jordan served as a college basketball analyst, and became host of WCIU’s The Jam. Jordan joined ESPN in 2018 as college basketball analyst. He is a host and in-game analyst for The Huddle, ACC Network’s signature football program while also hosting a nightly news and information show, ALL ACC.
Today we honor Tiana Conley, as one of our Great 28. Tiana serves as the Vice President of Global Cereal for the Kellogg Company, where she is responsible for the $6 billion flagship portfolio with treasured brands such as Special K, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Corn Flakes. Prior to joining Kellogg, she was Marketing Director of global tequila at Beam Suntory. Ms. Conley held a variety of marketing roles at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration degree from Xavier University Williams College of Business in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tiana is based in Chicago and is mother of two children!!
Today we honor Tym Wallace. Tym hailing from Chicago is a graduate of the famed Dudleys Beauty College! He is a celebrity hair stylist and make-up artist who has taken the world by storm. Tym, with his gracious manner and breath-taking hairstyles, has managed to work with a plethora of top-tier celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson, Serena Williams, Octavia Spencer, Mary J. Blige. He is also a driving force in television, where his network credits include: MTV, VH1, BET, and WeTV. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Black Girls Rock, The BET Awards. In his spare time, Tym enjoys giving back to the community.
Today we honor, Rhyan LaMarr, a Writer, Director and Producer who attended Columbia College. Best known for writing, producing and directing Canal Street and producing 100 Days to Live. He got his start working on Mr. 3000 with fellow Chicago Native Bernie Mac
He used his connections with Bernie to land a job on The Bernie Mac Show
Rhyan has also worked on America’s Got Talent, American Idol and The Apprentice! In his spare time he enjoys giving back to the community.
Today we honor, Stacia Mac, An Entrepreneur and music Manager. Stacia Mac is from Chicago and is Mother and Manager of of Polo G. Being new to the business, she was able to launch Polo G’s rap career, who is now 1 of the biggest rappers in music. To fully support her son, Mac created ODA/ Only Dreamers Achieve. ODA has now grown to include photographers, makeup artist and influencers. Prior to that her experience included property management helped pave her way into the in entertainment world. Her goal being to help talent rise and navigate to their full potential. Stacia Mac continue to give her time to the community, and help women in Chicago.
Ye, commonly known as Kanye West, is a rapper, record producer, and fashion designer from CHICAGO! KANYE IS THE FOUNDER OF HIS OWN LABEL G.O.O.D MUSIC. He is one of the world’s bestselling artists. He has won 22 Grammy’s and received numerous awards and recognition for his work. As a fashion designer, he has collaborated with Nike, Louis Vuitton, The Gap, and A.P.C. on clothing and footwear, and leads the Yeezy collaboration with Adidas. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world AND Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.8 billion as of 2021, making him a billionaire. Kanye West is committed to enhance and change the current state of black culture and continues to give back to the city of Chicago!
Derrick Rose was born and raised in Chicago, and attended Simeon Career Academy. He was highly recruited by colleges, eventually choosing to join the University of Memphis. Derrick has had an exciting NBA career and is considered as one of the greats in the league! He had an extensive career playing with the Chicago Bulls and is currently plays for the New York Knicks. In his career he has broken several records, named NBA "Rookie Of The Year" in 2009 AND THE Youngest NBA MVP of all time at 22 (2011). Derrick Rose has a passion for the people of Chicago and has given countless hours and time working with his foundation to improve the overall quality of life for citizens of Chicago!
Talen Jalee Horton-Tucker, born in Chicago, and raised on the Northside of Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. He played at Simeon Career Academy where he helped the Wolverines to three straight City Championships. He is currently a playing for the L.A. Lakers. Horton-Tucker played college basketball for the Iowa State Cyclones. Talen continues to be a growing force in the N.B.A. and has a bright future ahead of him. In his spare time, he likes to speak with the youth of Chicago and give back to organizations that are helping with decreasing the violence in the city.
A native of the North Lawndale neighborhood, Scott has focused his energies on building an exceptional West Side. A graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and Morehouse College, Scott was trained for leadership! Now, in his second term, Scott is committed to working side by side with the people and organizations that have built a solid foundation for the 24th Ward. Creating an economic engine for the community, beautifying the ward, improving the relationship between the police department and the community, and developing job training for residents are Scott’s top priorities.
They Created Leaders 1354 in 2002 in Hyde Park. They believe that everyone should lead their own path with creativity and Individuality. The brand has a huge connection with the music scene in Chicago, and is one of few with a strong positive message. Selling apparel being the main goal, developed into a place for youth to hang and share ideas. Leaders 1345 is Supported by the likes of Chance the Rapper, Anthony Davis, Dwayne Wade, B.J. The Chicago Kid and Vic. Corey and Diego also spend a great deal of time giving back to the community.
A Chicago Native, founder and CEO of Think Outside Da Block. Mission to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged you and build community. Think Outside Da Block host 5 annual events, including their most successful, Roll N Peace. Roll N Peace, a bike tour through Englewood, was built to address the mental health and wellness in the community Built to increase fitness, promote weight loss, decrease depression and anxiety, and improve self-esteem. Also, Pha’tal created the program #GetchaMindRight; an innovative approach to raising trauma awareness and connecting individuals to resources.
Jamal Malone is the CEO of Ada S. McKinley Community Services. He was featured as Crain’s Chicago Business 2021 Notable Black Leaders and Executives. The agency recently celebrated 100 years, serving over 7000 people with 70 program sites.Services include Child Development & Youth, Employment & Community Support and Behavioral Health & Clinical. He has led Ada S. McKinley community services to be a premiere organization in its field. Jamal Malone hard work and leadership has led him to be one of the most respected businessmen in the City of Chicago.
A Chicago native, Norva Denton is the Senior Vice President of A&R for Warner Records. Denton got his start in 2008 as West Coast Regional Director at Motown/Island Def Jam in New York. Denton worked with artist including Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Logic, Alessia Cara, Charlie Wilson, Kelly Price, Rick Ross and Pusha T. Norva continues to break down barriers in the music industry and has led warner records artist to ultimate success. Norva was recently recognized as Billboard Magazine Hip Hop Power Player.
Irika Sargent anchors the CBS 2 Chicago weekday evening news at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. with Brad Edwards. Sargent’s anchoring and reporting has garnered multiple Emmy Awards and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. Sargent graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. She then earned a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School. She practiced law for years. Sargent has been committed to helping many non-profit organizations including the Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, 100 Black Men of Chicago and many more!
A native of Chicago "Lil Rel" Howery Jr. is an actor and comedian. He is known for playing in shows like The Carmichael Show , Transportation Security Administration, the horror film Get Out (2017). He also starred in the TV series Rel . He has been in multiple movies…and has a very vibrant career. Lil Rel has been celebrated on multiple levels. He was the winner of the Best Comedic Performance in a Movie at the MTV Movie & Television Awards, nominated for image Award for Best Supporting Actor and crowned Bernie Mac Comedy King of the Year, Howery is experiencing success at a rate bestowed upon few in Hollywood's history! He also gives back and is committed to creating change in Chicago!