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Black Renaissance: 20 Game Changers Under 30

ABS list 1Who: Uzoamaka Maduka, 25

Starting a literary magazine that encapsulates the spirit of the age is the stuff of precocious young Ivy Leaguer’s dreams, but The American Reader has caught the attention of a notable number of heavy hitters in the world of letters. Maduka, a Nigerian-American Princeton grad, is its editor-in-chief. In amazement, the New York Times echoed the sentiments of veterans in the literary field in a cover piece earlier this year:

“How did this young woman, with no special family or literary connections, manage to wrangle some big names around the unlikeliest of projects — a monthly literary magazine?

“The answer is that Ms. Maduka, or Max to her friends, has combined an unusual charisma with sheer determination to meet the right people, find the right parties and propel herself into the city’s literary set, even before the magazine has produced much in the way of writing.”

abs list appiahWho: Sandra Appiah, 24

When a 12-year old Sandra Appiah emigrated with her family from Ghana to the United States, she was shocked by the reception from African-American children.

“Every time we did something wrong, it was, ‘Oh, go back to Africa,’ or, ‘Oh, go back to the jungle,’ she revealed to earlier this year. The contentious interactions would continue but instead of hiding away, Appiah sought to find out why African-Americans had such a warped view of Africans.

“CNN, PBS, all these documentaries, this is how they portray Africa,” Appiah added. “So in their [African-Americans’] mind-set, this is the only way they know Africa to be.”

In March 2011, the Syracuse graduate and fellow Ghanian Isaac Boateng launched  “Face 2 Face Africa” with the mission to “restore Africa’s image within the global community.”

“Unless we change that perception and we present another side of Africa, that will constantly be the way that Africa is viewed. We felt that there’s a need for a platform that will bridge the gap, that will remind us of our common ancestry [that we are] all people of African descent.”

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