by Maureen Hozey | February 16, 2021

10 Black Floridians Shaping the State

In honor of Black History Month, we’re looking back on our favorite stories celebrating Black change agents making their mark in music, art, sports and culinary culture.

From Zora Neale Hurston to Mary McLeod Bethune, Florida has been home to countless Black artists, educators, athletes and heroes who have left an indelible mark on history. In honor of Black History Month, we’re revisiting ten of our favorite stories of Black excellence from across the state.

Photography by Robert M. Howard

Barry Jenkins: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Filmmaking

Barry Jenkins, director of the 2017 Academy Award-winning film Moonlight, reflects on how his childhood in the Miami projects shaped his artistic vision from a young age. Writer Steve Dollar documents the FSU alumnus’ filmmaking journey, from sleeping on couches to winning big at the Oscars.

Photography courtesy of Miami Open

On and off the Court with Tennis Star Sloane Stephens

Tennis champion Sloane Stephens sits down with Flamingo to talk about growing up in South Florida, how she fell in love with the game and her advocacy for equal pay for women in the world of tennis. Read the February 2019 interview here.

Photography by Mark Wallheiser

Bringing Back the Funk with P-Funk Legend George Clinton

Back in the summer of 2018, Flamingo spent the day with George Clinton, legendary funk musician and founder of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective, to talk about his latest album, his Tallahassee sanctuary and what’s next once Clinton hangs up the sequins for good. Meet the “godfather of hip-hop” here.

Photography by Adam Taylor

Florida Musician Royce Lovett on the Rise

Flamingo Assistant Editor Jessica Giles chats with musician Royce Lovett following his appearance on NBC’s The Voice. Lovett reveals how love, vulnerability, and his Tallahassee upbringing influence his music and songwriting in this 2020 interview.

Photography courtesy of Jesuit High School

The Black Pioneers of Southern Football

One touchdown changed the game of college football forever. Follow contributing editor Eric Barton into the Deep South during the civil rights era, and get to know the Black pioneers who fought for equality on the field and paved the way for Black athletes.

Photography courtesy of JPLA Media

Jac Ross: “It’s More than OK to Be Black”

Small-town R&B singer Jac Ross was thrust onto the national stage in 2020 when his anthemic single “It’s OK to be Black” was used as the soundtrack for an NBA commercial. In this November 2020 Q&A, Ross shares what it’s been like to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement and how he’s finding healing through music.

Photography by Brandon Kidwell

Cutting the Apron Strings with Kenny Gilbert

Although he grew up in Cleveland, the foods and flavors of Florida have always held a spot in Chef Kenny Gilbert’s heart. Step into the kitchen with Gilbert as he talks of taking his traditional Southern fare to the next level in our Spring 2016 issue. If you get hungry, try your hand at some of Gilbert’s world-class recipes, or visit his recently opened eatery, Silkie’s Chicken and Champagne Bar, in Jacksonville.

Photography by Mark Clennon

Meet Two Violinists Busting Stereotypes

Hip-hop string duo Black Violin, led by Kev Marcus on violin and Wil Baptiste on viola, has been blending genres and challenging conventions for over 15 years. In 2019, Marcus spoke with Flamingo about how the pair’s South Florida roots inspire their music, here.

©2020 Marcus Antonius Jansen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Marcus Jansen: From the Battlefield to the Smithsonian

South Florida-based artist and Army veteran Marcus Jansen uses painting as an outlet to express the horrors he faced during his tour of duty in the Middle East. The story explores Jansen’s gritty, “anti-political” art and the man behind the canvas in this December 2020 profile.

Desert Rose by Dustin Harewood. Photography Dustin Harewood

In Certain Circles with Artist Dustin Harewood

Jacksonville-based artist Dustin Harewood is challenging locals to look beyond watercolor beach scenes to more raw, abstract artwork. Drawing inspiration from his Barbadian heritage and frequent trips to Japan, Harewood’s art is eclectic and ever-changing. Follow Flamingo into the studio in this October 2017 article.

Read next: 10 rising Florida filmmakers you should keep your eye on.