The BET 100 Entertainers And Innovators Of The Year | The Creatives

See who superseded our expectations.

BET 100 | The Creatives  - One thing the coronavirus could not shut down was creativity. Even while confined to their homes, directors, authors, artists, comedians, and other visionaries were inspired to do what they do best: produce. And boy, did they deliver with talent as unlimited as their drive. They created groundbreaking films and shot extraordinary photos. They made us laugh, cry, and think about how we can change the world. Most importantly, they gave us hope. We salute this phenomenal crew for their strength, skill and non-stop grind.— Written by Laura J. Downey  Plus, don't forget to check back each day this week to find out who else we've added to the BET 100 list...we're just getting started. (Photo by BET Digital Design/Getty)

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BET 100 | The Creatives  - One thing the coronavirus could not shut down was creativity. Even while confined to their homes, directors, authors, artists, comedians, and other visionaries were inspired to do what they do best: produce. And boy, did they deliver with talent as unlimited as their drive. They created groundbreaking films and shot extraordinary photos. They made us laugh, cry, and think about how we can change the world. Most importantly, they gave us hope. We salute this phenomenal crew for their strength, skill and non-stop grind.— Written by Laura J. Downey  Plus, don't forget to check back each day this week to find out who else we've added to the BET 100 list...we're just getting started. (Photo by BET Digital Design/Getty)

Janelle Monáe - It seems as if the world slowed down when the pandemic hit. But not for 35-year-old Janelle Monáe. She starred in the mind-bending slavery thriller Antebellum, landed on the Hollywood Reporter’s 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood list, scored the cover of Out magazine’s Out100, and released a new music video titled, “Turntables.” The song is used over the end credits of the Stacey Abrams-backed film, All In: The Fight for Democracy. As an advocate for social justice, Monáe’s message came through loud and clear in the lyrics: “America, you a lie … I said, the whole world ‘bout to testify … And the tables ‘bout to turn.” (Photo by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images)

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Janelle Monáe - It seems as if the world slowed down when the pandemic hit. But not for 35-year-old Janelle Monáe. She starred in the mind-bending slavery thriller Antebellum, landed on the Hollywood Reporter’s 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood list, scored the cover of Out magazine’s Out100, and released a new music video titled, “Turntables.” The song is used over the end credits of the Stacey Abrams-backed film, All In: The Fight for Democracy. As an advocate for social justice, Monáe’s message came through loud and clear in the lyrics: “America, you a lie … I said, the whole world ‘bout to testify … And the tables ‘bout to turn.” (Photo by Julien Hekimian/Getty Images)

Dario Calmese - We were all saying his name after he landed the Vanity Fair July/August 2020 cover with his image of Viola Davis. Dario Calmese is the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for the revered glossy. He made the surprising decision to position the Academy Award-winning actress in a reimagined version of “The Scourged Back,” the brutal, Civil War-era portrait of a slave’s whip-scarred body. The 38-year-old wanted to depict “the Black Athena, representing survival and justice, or the Black Madonna representing the transformation of one’s internal darkness into light,” he told The New York Times. His dedication to showcasing African-Americans with such beauty and positivity is why we’ll be adoring his work for years to come. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

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Dario Calmese - We were all saying his name after he landed the Vanity Fair July/August 2020 cover with his image of Viola Davis. Dario Calmese is the first Black photographer to shoot a cover for the revered glossy. He made the surprising decision to position the Academy Award-winning actress in a reimagined version of “The Scourged Back,” the brutal, Civil War-era portrait of a slave’s whip-scarred body. The 38-year-old wanted to depict “the Black Athena, representing survival and justice, or the Black Madonna representing the transformation of one’s internal darkness into light,” he told The New York Times. His dedication to showcasing African-Americans with such beauty and positivity is why we’ll be adoring his work for years to come. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Dee Rees - After an awards season that all but snubbed women directors and directors of color, Dee Rees (the woman behind Pariah and the Oscar-nominated Mudbound) is absolutely worth talking about. This year, she delivered The Last Thing He Wanted (now streaming on Netflix), a mystery that stars Hollywood heavyweights Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, and Willem Dafoe. The 43-year-old lesbian director and screenwriter is out to build an empire. “I want to create work that matters and lasts,” she told The New York Times. As she continues to challenge the norm, her legacy will indeed stand the test of time. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

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Dee Rees - After an awards season that all but snubbed women directors and directors of color, Dee Rees (the woman behind Pariah and the Oscar-nominated Mudbound) is absolutely worth talking about. This year, she delivered The Last Thing He Wanted (now streaming on Netflix), a mystery that stars Hollywood heavyweights Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, and Willem Dafoe. The 43-year-old lesbian director and screenwriter is out to build an empire. “I want to create work that matters and lasts,” she told The New York Times. As she continues to challenge the norm, her legacy will indeed stand the test of time. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

Phoebe Robinson - With two wildly popular podcasts under her belt (2 Dope Queens, Sooo Many White Guys), comedian and author Phoebe Robinson launched a third one in August. Black Frasier was created as an outlet for Robinson to discuss social issues such as voting, racism, toxic family environments, and more. Her biggest guest to date? Former first lady Michelle Obama. The two exchanged thoughtful banter, played games, and discussed hope in the midst of a pandemic. Robinson keeps it real on the series and uses her platform to encourage people to talk about their problems—aka therapy sesh—so we can all get through this tough time together. (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

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Phoebe Robinson - With two wildly popular podcasts under her belt (2 Dope Queens, Sooo Many White Guys), comedian and author Phoebe Robinson launched a third one in August. Black Frasier was created as an outlet for Robinson to discuss social issues such as voting, racism, toxic family environments, and more. Her biggest guest to date? Former first lady Michelle Obama. The two exchanged thoughtful banter, played games, and discussed hope in the midst of a pandemic. Robinson keeps it real on the series and uses her platform to encourage people to talk about their problems—aka therapy sesh—so we can all get through this tough time together. (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Kimberly Drew - If you haven’t been following art curator Kimberly Drew on Instagram (@museummammy), you’re missing out. The one-time social media manager for The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also an author and activist. Her latest book, Black Futures, set to launch this month, is a combination of photos, recipes, poetry, and memes highlighting the captivating creativity Black talent epitomizes. In addition, the 30-year-old phenom recently landed on the 2020 Innovators List compiled by Artnet News. Drew is a force with which to be reckoned. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Getty Images for Prada)

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Kimberly Drew - If you haven’t been following art curator Kimberly Drew on Instagram (@museummammy), you’re missing out. The one-time social media manager for The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also an author and activist. Her latest book, Black Futures, set to launch this month, is a combination of photos, recipes, poetry, and memes highlighting the captivating creativity Black talent epitomizes. In addition, the 30-year-old phenom recently landed on the 2020 Innovators List compiled by Artnet News. Drew is a force with which to be reckoned. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Getty Images for Prada)

1619 - Narrated by The New York Times Magazine staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 is a vivid account of what life looked like to the enslaved Africans brought to the English colony of Virginia some 400 years ago. While Hannah-Jones shares her own family’s journey on the audio series, it is complemented by the storytelling of the horrors of the cotton-picking industry, the division of families, and much more. Although some historians have objected to this podcast and its contents, several schools will now update their curriculum to include the poignant material. We celebrate Hannah-Jones for sharing our stories—American stories—with the world. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards )

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1619 - Narrated by The New York Times Magazine staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 is a vivid account of what life looked like to the enslaved Africans brought to the English colony of Virginia some 400 years ago. While Hannah-Jones shares her own family’s journey on the audio series, it is complemented by the storytelling of the horrors of the cotton-picking industry, the division of families, and much more. Although some historians have objected to this podcast and its contents, several schools will now update their curriculum to include the poignant material. We celebrate Hannah-Jones for sharing our stories—American stories—with the world. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody Awards )

Emmanuel Acho - The former NFL football player popped up on the scene this summer with his YouTube series, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. He gets real with everyone from interracial couples to police officers, and tackles topics such as systemic racism, defunding the police, white privilege, and “Karens” who weaponize their whiteness. These difficult discussions caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey and landed Emmanuel Acho on her Apple TV+ series: The Oprah Conversation, where they talked about racism in America, and more. Acho recently released his debut book, titled after the series, which made the coveted The New York Times best seller list. (Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)

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Emmanuel Acho - The former NFL football player popped up on the scene this summer with his YouTube series, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. He gets real with everyone from interracial couples to police officers, and tackles topics such as systemic racism, defunding the police, white privilege, and “Karens” who weaponize their whiteness. These difficult discussions caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey and landed Emmanuel Acho on her Apple TV+ series: The Oprah Conversation, where they talked about racism in America, and more. Acho recently released his debut book, titled after the series, which made the coveted The New York Times best seller list. (Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)

Trevor Noah - The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has been making the most of 2020. He was listed in Fortune’s 2020 40 Under 40 media and entertainment lineup in September. And if that wasn’t enough, after reworking his The New York Times best seller Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood for a younger audience, It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime was named Book of the Year in the children’s category for the SA Book Awards and most recently, he was named as the host of the 2021 Grammy Awards. The 36-year-old author and comedian continues to use his voice to sound off against the damning, long-term effects of apartheid. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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Trevor Noah - The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has been making the most of 2020. He was listed in Fortune’s 2020 40 Under 40 media and entertainment lineup in September. And if that wasn’t enough, after reworking his The New York Times best seller Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood for a younger audience, It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime was named Book of the Year in the children’s category for the SA Book Awards and most recently, he was named as the host of the 2021 Grammy Awards. The 36-year-old author and comedian continues to use his voice to sound off against the damning, long-term effects of apartheid. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Janet Mock - She is a powerhouse in every way, shape, and form imaginable. As a director, producer, author, and transgender rights activist, Janet Mock is not only brilliant, she’s beautiful, and a breath of fresh air. Earlier this year, she received the prestigious Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She was also listed as one of the 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood by the Hollywood Reporter. Her dedication to ensuring transgender women of color are represented on the FX network show, Pose, and her work to expose racism, homophobia, and sexism in the Netflx drama Hollywood make her the ultimate shero. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

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Janet Mock - She is a powerhouse in every way, shape, and form imaginable. As a director, producer, author, and transgender rights activist, Janet Mock is not only brilliant, she’s beautiful, and a breath of fresh air. Earlier this year, she received the prestigious Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She was also listed as one of the 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood by the Hollywood Reporter. Her dedication to ensuring transgender women of color are represented on the FX network show, Pose, and her work to expose racism, homophobia, and sexism in the Netflx drama Hollywood make her the ultimate shero. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

Leatrice “Elle” McKinney - Her fans know her as L.L. McKinney. Recently named one of the most influential African Americans in 2020 by The Root, the author and equality advocate didn’t let a worldwide pandemic stop her from co-creating the virtual 2020 Juneteenth Book Festival, which highlighted nearly 40 Black authors and their work. McKinney also brought to light the pay disparities between Black and non-Black authors when she started the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag on Twitter. A champion of her people, McKinney personifies Black Girl Magic. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)

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Leatrice “Elle” McKinney - Her fans know her as L.L. McKinney. Recently named one of the most influential African Americans in 2020 by The Root, the author and equality advocate didn’t let a worldwide pandemic stop her from co-creating the virtual 2020 Juneteenth Book Festival, which highlighted nearly 40 Black authors and their work. McKinney also brought to light the pay disparities between Black and non-Black authors when she started the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag on Twitter. A champion of her people, McKinney personifies Black Girl Magic. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)