Black History Month Events / Virtual Heritage Tour / Black History Month for Kids / Historical Figures     

For Black History Month 2014 HOT 97 is celebrating those "Making Black History Behind the Scenes". Check out our list of the people you may not have heard of who are currently influencing black culture by making some of your favorite music, TV, film and sports happen!

Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith 

Founder and President of TopDawg Entertainment

The Founder and President of TopDawg Entertainment which is behind the supercrew Black Hippy which includes the likes of Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. TDE has launched a joint venture with Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment; solidifying Top Dawg’s placement as one of the best talent finders in the game.

 Ava DuVernay 

Independent Film writer, producer, director & distributor 

Writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film.‎ Her directorial debut was the critically-acclaimed 2008 hip hop documentary “This Is The Life” and in 2012, she became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Ava has directed for ESPN, BET and in 2013 an episode of ABC’s top-rated drama series Scandal.


Ethiopia Habtemariam 
Vice President of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group & Senior Vice President at Motown Records

Executive Vice President and Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group but also the Senior Vice President at Motown Records. She balances both roles with one consistent goal “quality songwriters, producers and artists will have careers for a long time. Nothing novelty”. These include Miguel, J Cole, Big Sean, NeYo and Erykah Badu. “We pride ourselves as being a team of publishers who discover, develop and nurture our writers.”


Jay Brown
Co-Founder, Roc Nation

Co-Founder of Roc Nation which he described to Billboard as a group of “true entrepreneurs, creating things we love. The challenge is to keep thinking outside the box.” Roc Nation is responsible for Jay Z’s #newrules Samsung release of Magna Carat… Holy Grail, Roc Nation Sports, Roc Nation Records, the Made In America Festival and more.


LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones 

Saturday Night Live Writers
Recently added to Saturday Night Live’s writers room. The two women were discovered during recent SNL auditions which were the first in the show’s history to focus on a search for African American females. Jones, an actress and stand-up comedian has written for and appeared on Def Comedy Jam. Tookes is a former news reporter from Florida. While the plan is for them to remain behind the scenes right now, SNL has a long history of making on-screen cast members from former writers.

Rhonesha Byng

Editorial Fellow, HuffPost Black Voices& Founder of

Byng founded of, a site that serves as an information and inspiration hub for millennial women which was named one of Forbes Top 100 sites for women. She’s been dubbed a “Tech Tastemaker” and lives by the philosophy behind the acronym N.E.S.H.A – No One Ever Slows Her Agenda.


William Sydney "Worldwide Wes" Wesley 

Sports Agent

His most formal role a Sports Agent. But this New Jersey native is known as being one of the most influential people in basketball. He works to connect athletes with business opportunities and has been associated with some of the NBA’s most influential players including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Richard Hamilton and Allen Iverson.