Philadelphia is no stranger to grooming some of the biggest stars in the world.
Philadelphians such as Kevin Hart, Tierra Whack, Meek Mills, Jazmine Sullivan, Boys II Men, and the fresh prince himself, Will Smith.
Philadelphia also has significant cultural influencers that we can also claim, such as Gillie the King, Wallo, Dj Drama, and Milano. The city is best known for its stoic historical reputation, the cheesesteak, some of the best universities in the world, and our sports team. The town still is underrated.
Philadelphia is so rich with talent, creatives, leaders, and culture contributors that I could have made this a list of 40 without difficulty. The list is as diverse as the city, including mural painters and hip-hop artists who are also college professors. Tech gurus and movie directors, the 20 people in Philadelphia you may not know that you should, is the list you want to take notes.
To make this list only a list of 20, we added some requirements that each person had to meet, at least 3 to be considered an influential force in the city and the culture.
They are a pioneer in their industry or a trailblazer.
Mainstream media outlets in print or digital have recognized them.
The news has featured them before
A minimum of 10k followers on Instagram.
A verified social media presence.
50k followers on Instagram.
Brand partnerships on Social Media
A business that has contributed positively to Black-owned companies and or the Black community.
Hired to speak at an HBCU
Currently holding an executive/Director position at a Fortune 500 company.
We created these requirements based similarly on what significant companies and social media platforms consider when they select to partner with someone or for verification.
20. Keith Reed Jr.
Keith Reed Jr. is one of the city’s budding entrepreneurs. Keith made a name for himself in the fashion circle in Philadelphia before launching his concierge personal shopping and stylist business, The Journi. Using his service, you can have your luxury outfitting picked out, picked up, and delivered to your doorstep the same day. They also include tailoring. Keith has styled for magazines such as Essence and InClub and featured in Philadelphia Style Magazine and Fox News. In addition, Keith boosts a 16.6k following on Instagram.
19. Sumi Floyd
PHL Juneteenth event and peace rally
Sumi is a pioneer and planner in the city responsible for the PHL Juneteenth. A collaborative effort she does with a team of co-laborers.
Sumi is a must-know in the city based on the significance of this event and when it took place. In 2020 when finding peace and joy was far between, Sumi somehow pulled off the year’s occasion. During a year when Venues canceled all events. Her event has contributed to the local Black artists, small businesses, and brands. The Philly tribune, WHYY, and the Inquirer covered the PHL Juneteenth.
As a cherry on top, the 2020 PHL Juneteenth event brought out the likes of Chill Moody and Tierra Whack. Philly names you all surely know.
18. Kyree Terrell
He is known early on for his work behind the camera with MynewPhilly, which Terrell launched over seven years ago. Kyree took his journey and love for producing content to the next level by adding a film director to his resume in 2021. Kyree makes this list due to pioneering original programming news and media outlet with the sole purpose of producing positive content and good communication. Additionally, to combat the mainstream news or violence and crime in the city. Philadelphia Magazine featured Kyree and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has over 16k followers on Instagram.
17. Dyymond Whipper-Young
Guinness Book of World Records holder
The Temple University Alumna has been making the city more beautiful, one mural at a time.
The Art teacher and member of the Mural Arts fellowship for Black Artists have painted her name amongst the most influential with her significant feats in the art space and how she has lent her talent to benefit the culture. As a result, Dyymond’s artwork is in high demand.
Her beautiful artwork has been installed in the Paley center, a masterpiece paying homage to Flo Jo for ESPN. CNN, Fox News, ABC, and WHYY, to name a few, have featured Dyymond.
Her most considerable accomplishment so far, no pun intended, would have to be her world’s largest drawing by an individual. The project art project that took 63 hours to complete spans 6,507 square feet.
Dyymond completed the drawing at the Mandell Center at The Franklin Institute. The art project was a part of Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition.
16. Dr. Uche Ukuku
Nigerian American Dr. Ukuku has done groundbreaking work around Pennsylvania’s family trauma and rape victims. After receiving her doctorate in counseling, Dr. Ukuku opened up her practice. The Open Path collective recognizes that Uche’s work is profound and timely for this generation in an industry that lacks Black representation.
15. Sabir M. Peele
Men’s Style Pro
Easily the best-dressed man in the city, Sabir has ties back to 2014 in the fashion space.
Sabir has been a social media contributor and event host for GQ for eight years. Sabir also used to contribute to Esquire Magazine. Additionally, his company, Men’s Style Pro Sabir, curates major fashion and menswear events. Mashable, GQ, and Esquire have featured Sabir. Sabir also boosts a 79.8k verified Instagram account.
14. Tiffany Laibhen-Spence
Tiffany is one of the most stylish people in Philadelphia. Her voice became most recognizable when her “Yes, I’m a mom” voice-over went viral on social media. With a focus on motherhood, fashion and family. Tiffany, her husband, and their adorable son have blessed our Instagram feed with inspiration and smiles. In addition, Tiffany and her husband Kevin are on BET’s millennial love stories.
Tiffany has partnerships with some of the largest brands in the world, including Hyundai, Mielle organics, and many more, on her Instagram account, which has over 108k followers. In addition, XOnecole has also featured Tiffany.
13. Dion Ringgold
The founder and Editor Chief of InClub Magazine, a Black targeted millennial life and style magazine. In 2021 Dion featured on NBC 10 news for his Black history month issue featuring super bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins where he offered over 100k worth of free ad space to small Black-owned businesses affected by Covid 19.
NBC 10 asked him back to do a special fashion segment for Father’s Day. InClub magazine is currently the only national Black-owned magazine in the tristate.
The magazine has garnished the attention of many with cover features, including Taylor Rooks from Bleacher Report, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez and social justice activist Tamika Mallory, to name a few. With over 30k downloads of the app and over 1 million unique visits to the website this year already.
InClub is a rising outlet. Dion has spoken at Fayette State University, PENN STATE, and Howard university.
12. Anthony ‘Munch’ Steele
Maybe the most legendary sneakerhead in the city, Anthony Steele, most affectionately known as Munch, is an inner city kid’s wildest dream. Munch not only is a sneakerhead but turned his love for kicks and culture into a career with the world’s largest sneaker retailer in the world; Footlocker. At Footlocker, Munch holds the position of culture connector and, more officially, Marketing director. Yahoo and Billboard.com, and Bleu Magazine are a few places that feature Munch. Munch has 20k followers on Instagram and maybe just as many sneakers.
11. Will Toms
The co-founder and visionary leader of the leading co-creative space in the city, Rec Philly. A place for creators.
Toms was named a Forbes 30 and 30 and used his time building up entrepreneurs and creatives.
Rec Philly boasts incredible membership numbers with hundreds of creative about to come together and collaborate on everything from podcasts to music videos to dance and to paint.
Will also is a TED talk speaker whom Philly Mag and The Philadelphia Inquirer have featured, and his Instagram verified.
10. GoGo Morrow
The worst kept secret in the city, GoGo was primed for stardom. Her signature blue hair, silky smooth vocals, and dance moves could rival Chlöe Bailey. Morrow has put in her 10,000 hours and is beginning to get her just due. GoGo recently could be seen performing at the BET awards. In addition, Allhiphop.com, Sheen Magazine, RATED RnB, Bossip, and many more have featured GoGo. GoGo also has 24k followers on her verified Instagram account.
9. Kenny Duncan
Barbers who care/ Main Attraction salon
Kenny Duncan is the playground legend of barbering. Long before you knew what he looked like, you knew his work. Kenny might be single-handedly responsible for all barbers getting the bag they deserve for their time and service. At the same time, many barber enthusiasts had big ideas, like becoming the largest barbershop in the city. Kenny instead became the LeBron James of barbering and proved you can be more than a barber. Kenny is a grooming and barber educator, spokesman, and founder of Barbers Who Care—seen on Fox News, ABC, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and WWD.com. The Yoda of barbering also commands an impressive 90.2k following on his verified Instagram account.
8. Ashley M. Fox
Ashley Fox started her entrepreneur journey after leaving her job on Wall Street to launch Empify. After making a big splash in the world of educating millennials and Black people about how investments started the Wealth builder’s community. Ashley has been invited to speak to and educate grade school-age students on early financial planning and has impacted the lives of many. With her influence growing, Forbes for the culture, queens of culture included Ashley for her exceptional work over the last ten years. Ashley currently boasts over 145k followers on Instagram.
7. Aunyea Lachelle
NBC 10 Philly Live
Aunyea is the only Black woman leading her own show on a major news network in the city. Philadelphia Style magazine, The Philadelphia Tribune, and The Philadelphia Inquirer have featured Aunyea. When Aunyea is not interviewing the biggest stars in the world. Such as Tiffany Haddish and Quinta Brunson. Aunyea is leveraging her platform to tell the stories of budding rising stars and influencers in the city on her show.
6. Kevin Harden Jr. Esq.
Kevin Harden Jr. has been tearing it up in the courtroom. From making the list of highest ranking verdicts and settlements in the Northeast regions.
To be considered one of the top lawyers in the state. Kevin Harden Jr. has also been responsible for seeing the exoneration of wrongly convicted people. The Legal Intelligencer also featured him. Kevin is also a newly appointed trustee at his Alma mater, Kutztown University.
5. Stephaine Humphrey
Good morning America
Stephanie is the text-savvy, short haircut slaying staple on shows like Good Morning America. She has been teaching us how to navigate the ever-changing chaotic universe that is the tech industry and all its gadgets. Many may know Tech life Steph from her ’til death do us Tweet’ book teaching us how social media affects teens. But, if you are an O.G stan, you would know that she is also an actress. Steph has been a part of some of the most significant tech-related events in the nation.
Steph has over 15k followers on her verified Instagram account.
4. Ernest Owens
Editor at large- Philly Mag
Ernest is one of the most trusted voices in the city. The Editor-at-large has stamped his influence on the media in Philadelphia and across the country. From his unapologetic approach to the news and stories he covers, Ernest also made history as the first Black man and Black queer to hold the title Editor at Large at Philly Mag. In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Ernest was appointed the president of the NABJ. Under his leadership, the NABJ has seen its highest increase in members in years.
Forbes Magazine named Ernest a Forbes 30 under 30 member.
The Grio, HuffPost, The New York Times, and many others have featured him. Ernest is an influential voice for inclusion and the LGBTQIA and has spoken on national and international news broadcasting stations such as BBC News. Ernest also contributes to Rolling Stone, is the author of ‘The case for cancel culture, and has a popular podcast titled Ernestly speaking.
3. Timothy N. Welbeck Esq.
Center for Anti-Racism Research
Timothy Welbeck Esq. has made it his life’s mission to defend people in the court of law as a civil rights attorney. Responsible for ensuring hundreds of Black and Brown people had proper representation in the courts and victoriously seeing to it they do not know the inside of a prison for having their civil rights infringed. In addition, Timothy speaks a great deal of his time as a professor at Temple University. Welbeck has been a contributing writer for HuffPost and featured in Medium, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and WHYY, to name a few. In addition, Timothy often incorporates his rap skills into his curriculum while instructing at Temple.
Another area Tim does well.
2. Rashaad Lambert
For(bes) The Culture
Responsible for getting the most prominent magazine on money, entrepreneurship, and business to pay attention and invest in the culture. Rashaad was the brainchild of For(bes) The Culture, which officially became part of the media juggernaut in the last two years. In doing so, Lambert became appointed the SVP of Community & Culture. This role further positioned Rashaad to see that Forbes leveraged its resources for Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Lambert’s work has allowed recognition for many Black entrepreneurs for their contributions to the culture.
1. Carl Day
Culture Changing Christians
If the term “being outside” was a person, it is Pastor Carl Day. Before he called bull-sh** on former President Trump, which received national news and media attention. Pastor Carl was doing the Lord’s work in the mud with a stick.
His efforts to inspire and uplift the youth in the city were tireless work from his castoffs to conquerors, an initiative to allow youth to travel and experience things outside of their neighborhood. His relationships with individuals like Wallo and Meek Mill has also furthered these efforts. In addition to his work with the mayor’s office to see to it, that police are held accountable to the community they are to protect and serve. CNN, Fox News, CBS, WHYY, and many others have featured Pastor Carl.
There you have it, be sure to follow and support the moves these individuals are making to move the culture and the city of Philadelphia in the right direction.