by Amir Shaw
If you only watched the evening news or depended on pop culture to paint a picture of young Blacks, you would probably think that the majority of Black youngsters were only ambitious about sports and music – or caught up in crime and debauchery.
However, the face of Black success isn’t limited to the fields that are occupied by Jay-Z, Beyonce and LeBron James. There are a multitude of young Blacks who are achieving at a high level in science, math, classical music, chess and other knowledge-based areas and preparing to change society.
Stephen R. Stafford II
Stephen entered Morehouse College at the age of 11 and picked up three majors. Now 16, he is currently studying computer science and mathematics. He will likely graduate at 17.
By the age of 7, Loiseau spoke French, Creole, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian. She also plays the harp, clarinet, violin, drums, guitar and piano.
Andrew is a master violinist based out of Atlanta. He was named concertmaster of the Georgia Music Association’s All-State Middle School Orchestra. The title goes to the most skilled musician in the section.
Raised by a single father, Autum was ridiculed by highly regarded conservatives at the age of 7 for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery. Autum never wavered and mastered languages such as Arabic, Swahili and Spanish. She scored 149 on the standard IQ test. At age 13, she was accepted into the University of Connecticut.
The Imafidon family is known as the smartest family in the U.K. The youngest siblings, Peter and Paula, made history by becoming the youngest students to enroll in secondary school. Their older sister, Anne-Marie, was the youngest student to pass A-level computing at the age of 13.
At 17, Rochelle Ballantyne is one of the top chess players in the world. She is currently on the verge of becoming the first Black American female to earn the title of chess master.
Ginger Howard is the youngest Black American woman to become a pro golfer. Howard is competing to become the fifth Black American woman to join the LPGA Tour.
Tony Hansberry II
Tony used failure as inspiration. After he didn’t place in the eighth grade science fair, Tony interned at Shands Hospital and developed a method of reducing the amount of time it takes to perform hysterectomies and potentially reducing the risk of complications after the procedure. He was honored for his contributions.
Chelsea has been an accomplished pianist since the age of 5. Now 13, Chelsea has performed at Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Steinway Hall. She’s also an artist and straight A student.
Daquan created a walkie-talkie, bulletproof helmet at the age of 12. He’s currently working with Johns Hopkins University to gather funding to patent the idea.
Amir Shaw is a filmmaker and music and sports director for Rolling Out magazine. Follow him on Twitter @arshaw. This story first appeared in Rolling Out.