Moziah started his own bow tie business, Mo’s Bows, at age
9. After in appearance on the investment
show Shark Tank, he’s running a $200,000-a-year apparel company touting
licensing deals with Cole Haan and Neiman Marcus. Bridges’ latest
accomplishment? Supplying bow ties to basketball players at the 2015 NBA draft.
Jaden Smith, 17
Sure, Will Smith’s son gets the most attention for enigmatic
pronouncements—telling the New York Times that “school is not authentic because
it ends,” for example, or tweeting “Kanye For President” to his 5.7 million
followers. But he’s also making waves in the music industry. After dropping
digital EP This is the Album earlier this year, Smith signed on to host his own
radio show on Apple’s Beats 1.
Six months ago, barely anyone had heard of Silentó (real
name: Richard Lamar Hawk), an aspiring rapper from Stone Mountain, Georgia.
That all changed on June 25, 2015, when the rising high school senior dropped
the video for his first single, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”—an infectious clip
centered around popular hip-hop dance moves. (He says he came up with the idea
while entertaining classmates at lunch.) Within a week, the video had earned
roughly 2.5 million views. By mid-October, it had logged more than 300 million,
spawning countless parodies andcelebrity imitations and eventually reaching
Number 3 on the BillboardHot 100. Next up for its multiplatinum singer?
Attending college, where he plans to study business.
Amandla Stenberg, 17
The actress is best known as Rue from The Hunger Games
series—a role that earned her an NAACP Image Award nomination and a Teen Choice
Award—but she doesn’t just take part in pop culture, she actively critiques it.
For a school history project, she and another classmate made a video called
“Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” that was widely covered by the media and examined
how white “pop stars and icons adopted black culture as a way of being edgy”
while staying silent on issues such as police brutality. Stenberg is unafraid
to call out celebrities she thinks are appropriating culture: in July she
criticized Kylie Jenner—also on this list—for showing off her cornrows on
Instagram but failing to use her “position of power to help black Americans.”
The former Disney Channel star (full name: Zendaya Maree
Stoermer Coleman) has emerged as a champion of body positivity, schooling E!’s
Giuliana Rancic earlier this year for mocking Zendaya’s dreadlocks at the
Oscars and sharing unretouched versions of a magazine photoshoot with her 14.1
million Instagram followers. Recently, Mattel debuted a custom Barbie modeled
after Zendaya’s Oscars look, meant to honor “a moment of confidence that was so
Malia Obama, 17
The older First Daughter is now a full-fledged cultural
icon, whose fashion choices and college visits (most recently, to Brown
University) routinely make headlines. Earlier this year, for example, a leaked
photo appeared to show Obama sporting a T-shirt with the logo for Brooklyn
hip-hop collective Pro Era, driving record traffic to co-founder Joey Bada$$’s
Wikipedia page. Obama was spotted on the set of HBO’s Girlsover the summer,
reportedly as part of an internship for creator Lena Dunham.
What do you think of the selections? I love it personally wish there was more black teens in the list. I honestly love Silento, I didn’t know he was young.