As February comes to a close, we celebrate those who continue to use their platforms to make profound social and cultural impacts in Black communities and beyond.
Earlier this year, Boardroom set out to use Black History Month to highlight a select group of fascinating figures whose professional masteries are matched by their drive to create socially conscious change in places near and far.
There were a couple of spirited discussions about what we ought to call this embryonic content series once February rolled around. What ultimately won out was a single word that captured Boardroom’s passion for the intersection of all things relevant in sports, business, and culture: Playmakers. A biweekly celebration followed honoring household names, behind-the-scenes operators, and creative bridge-builders whose voices carry with uncommon verve across industries, communities, and generations.
As Black History Month 2023 draws to a close, we’re proud to celebrate this year’s Playmakers not one last time, but one more time.
The Patrick Mahomes Awakening
At just 27 years of age, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is off to one of the most productive, prolific starts to a career that football has ever seen, and the same can increasingly be said for his pursuit of community justice and empowerment off the field.
His role in standing up for the social issues that matter most and finding as many ways as possible to invest in HBCUs is no less important in terms of legacy-building as winning on the gridiron — particularly since the NFL has never seen one of its most prominent, most popular, and highest-performing players stand up for such causes with such consistency and poise.
Karl Fowlkes: Build & Transcend
“I want people to know me for seamless disruption and fearlessness… for advocating across industries, and showing people you can be more than one thing.”
More specifically, the attorney and entrepreneur said, “I want to be known for access to education and particularly increasing literacy in the Black community.”
The Relentless, Record-breaking Nicole Lynn
As Jalen Hurts’ agent, she already made history as the first Black woman to represent a quarterback in the Super Bowl — but Nicole Lynn has merely begun to show what she can do.
In an industry where so many are quick to invalidate a women’s impact, she blocks out the chatter, over-delivers, and remains committed to the task at hand: making her clients a top priority while simultaneously breaking barriers for the next generation.
Chris Paul: HBCU Superhero
CP3’s icon status was already guaranteed thanks to his incredible exploits on both ends of the floor as part of an NBA career now in its 18th season. But years down the line when he’s already duly enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, we may look back and realize that his finest work was uplifting and empowering students and athletic programs at historically Black institutions whose impacts don’t simply hit close to home for the Point God, but are quite literally home.
Issa Rae is Still Betting on Black
For the last decade, fans have watched actress, writer, and producer Issa Rae catapult from YouTube star to an empire-builder, elevating Black voices in television, film, philanthropy, and beyond along the way.
She pairs the capability of an executive who has accomplished a little bit of everything with the disposition of an ascendant phenom who in so many other ways is just getting started.
How Quinta Brunson Graduated to Greatness
When was the last time you and your family sat down on a weeknight to watch a 30-minute sitcom? When was the last time it was part of your weekly routine? Streaming has nearly eliminated the excitement of consuming primetime content like we used to in the 1990s and 2000s, but one distinctive star has made patience a virtue again.
That alone qualifies Quinta Brunson to be a Boardroom Playmaker — but she’s done so much more.
Broccoli City: A Local Staple With a Global Lens
The annual Broccoli City Festival in DC has become a Black staple in the nation’s capital, but this project is more than a fun music festival.
It’s a brand. A thriving ecosystem. An organization on a mission to mobilize, invest in, and celebrate Black culture and communities. Longtime best friends Brandon McEachern and Marcus Allen banded together to launch Broccoli City, which celebrates a decade in business this year.
Learn how McEachern and Allen continue to lay groundwork for amplifying and celebrating Black culture in the decades to come: