Top 10 Culturepreneurs of 2023: Leaders Impacting the Culture & Creative Industries
By: Lisa Reynolds | Culturepreneurs of 2023| Images: Internal /Getty
Cultured Focus Magazine Presents Leading Culturepreneurs Breaking Down Industry Barriers
There is a term for the forward-thinking individuals whose goal is to create the change that this world needs to become a better place - Culturepreneurs. These visionaries seek change and will not stop until they reach their goals of fostering an appreciation for culture and creativity.
Culturepreneurs dream big and the skills and ambition needed to make them come true. With the help of these creative-minded folks, we are seeing the Culture and Creative Industries (CCIs) continue to thrive under their thoughtful guidance.
As 2023 comes to an end, and we look forward to a new year with new possibilities, Cultured Focus Magazine wants to take the time to recognize and honor the Top 10 most influential Culturepreneurs from this year.
Top Culturepreneurs for 2023
1. Fantasia Barrino-Taylor
From the moment the world heard the sultry vocals of Fantasia Barrino-Taylor crooning "Summertime" on American Idol, people were enthralled with her talent and larger-than-life personality.
This effervescent singer and actress first found her claim to fame in 2004 during the 3rd season of American Idol, where she ultimately took home the crown. She continued to garner many accolades throughout the years, including: two Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy win, and the release of her New York Times Best-Selling autobiography "Life is Not a Fairytale."
Currently, you can catch Barrino in the lead role of 2023's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical, "The Color Purple." She breathes life into her character, Celie Harris-Johnson with her stunning vocals and nuanced acting prowess. Previously playing the same role on Broadway in 2007, Barrino is an even more lauded actress in the film. Her performance is already causing some buzz about a possible Golden Globe in her future.
In spite of her admirable success, Barrino's climb to the top was rife with challenges, as she navigated Hollywood with no safety net to catch her. She chose to go back to business school to ensure that she sustained long-term success in an industry that does not hold your hand.
Today, she is a leading Culturepreneur that effortlessly blends culture, business acumen, and her art - which has led to The Color Purple being the number one movie in the country on Christmas Day, grossing over $18 million at the box office.
2. Reggie Hudlin
Accomplished entertainment executive Reggie Hudlin is an oft-praised writer, producer, and director who has been nominated for both the Oscars and the Emmy's.
In 2023, he directed the hit film, "Candy Cane Lane," starring the hilarious and talented Tracy Ellis Ross and Eddie Murphy.
Hudlin is an example of someone truly unique in the entertainment sphere, due to his massive success in every arena; writing, producing, directing, running BET network, and even penning his own comic book.
He is a true Renaissance man, and a multi-talented, multi-tasking Culturepreneur.
3. Samara Joy
Samara Joy is a spell-binding, young jazz singer who turned the music world on its axis when she won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Best New Artist in 2023. Affectionately referred to as "Gen Z's First Jazz Star," Samara Joy is the first jazz artist to win both of those awards simultaneously.
This exceptionally talented Bronx-native has seen her star power rise steadily as she works towards creating a culture of accessibility in the jazz community. She has single-handedly increased the popularity of jazz music exponentially across all age groups, reaching a younger demographic due to her own tender age.
4. Daphne di Cinto
Daphne di Cinto is a multi-talented director, producer, and actor. While you may know her face from her work in the vastly popular Netflix series, Bridgerton, it is her newest venture that has truly put her on the map as a Culturepreneur.
Di Cinto's Oscar-qualifying short film, "Il Moro," has seen brilliant global success and has won her several prestigious awards, including a co-win of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival for Best Short Narrative.
She was also named Cultured Focus Magazine's "Visionary in Film" award during the 79th Venice Film Festival where "Il Moro" was screened at the illustrious Hotel Danieli.
"Il Moro" tells the remarkable tale of Alessandro de' Medici, son of an enslaved African women and Pope Clemente VII, who eventually becomes the first Duke of Florence.
Daphne di Cinto uses her talent and platform to share stories that celebrate diversity in a uniquely beautiful way, in a style that is all her own.
5. David Serero
To say that David Serero is multi-talented is an understatement. This critically-acclaimed actor, stage and film director, and producer takes his art form one step further as an award-winning Opera singer.
He has performed in well over 2500 performances across 45 countries, produced almost 100 theatrical performances, starred in over 100 films and television series, recorded and produced over 100 musical albums, and played upwards of 50 lead and titular roles between his time in the opera, theater, and musical industry.
Among his many awards is the Certificate of Recognition by the Mayor of New York, awarded to him for his expansive contributions to the City's dynamic, creative culture. He has enriched the already vibrant performing arts scene and fostered a sense of inclusivity amongst the diverse melting pot of New York.
This incredible Culturepreneur has founded several festivals across the world, has his own record label, and fosters talent across all genres of music.
In 2023, he won Cultured Focus Magazine's "Excellence in the Arts Award."
6. Sabrina Parnanzone
Sabrina Parnanzone is an excellent addition to this list of Culturepreneurs as the CEO of Paris Modest Fashion week.
Parnanzone created Paris Modest Fashion Week to be a place that celebrates diversity and modest fashion to empower women from all walks of life. The modest fashion industry is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that continues to grow in recent years.
Parnanzone wanted to foster a safe space with a culture that celebrates all things fashion and culture where women designers has break down creative barriers and share their art. This event was created by, and for, women and emphasizes empowerment and diversity.
7. Gelareh Alam
Gelareh Alam is a celebrated fashion designer nestled in the heart of San Francisco whose aim to empower women through her elegant, eco-conscious designs. Alam's designs reflect her dedication to sustainability by incorporating organic and recycled materials, as well as employing eco-friendly production processes. By prioritizing the use of sustainable fabrics and minimizing waste, she aims to reduce the fashion industry's impact on the environment.
Alam shared her powerful message aiming to push the luxury fashion industry to adopt more sustainable practices as she exhibited her stunning collection at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). As sustainability becomes an increasingly important topic globally, Gelareh Alam continues to inspire both fellow designers and consumers alike with her eco-conscious designs. Her work serves as a reminder that fashion can be both stylish and environmentally responsible, paving the way for a more sustainable future in the world of fashion.
8. Angela Prudenzi
Angela Prudenzi is a journalist and film critic who uses her seat on the selection committee for the Venice Film Festival for the greater good. She is a champion of accessible film making and aims to make film accessible for everyone.
Women in Italian Cinema: an Inclusive Project (WICIP) is the first project that was born out of the need to promote Italian Cinema written, produced, and directed by women. It includes the presentation of five inspiring films that are accessible for both the deaf and blind communities. By advocating for inclusive practices in the film industry, Angela Prudenzi and WICIP have been instrumental in breaking down barriers and making cinema more accessible to a wider audience. Their commitment serves as an inspiration for filmmakers, production companies, and other industry professionals to prioritize inclusivity and ensure that everyone can fully participate in the magic of storytelling through film.
9. Mo Islam
The creator of the Mo Show Podcast, Mo Islam, is a Culturepreneur who uses his platform to give insight into the day-to-day life in Saudi Arabia. His podcast is a series of English-language videos and is the first English podcast to host leading Saudi male and female personalities across all industries.
Mo skillfully interviews entrepreneurs, journalists, and expats who all speak of their personal journeys in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Conversations range from health and wellness to fashion and women's empowerment - which is so important for culture locally and internationally to shatter stereotypes.
10. Eiko Hashiba
Eiko Hashiba is the founder and CEO of VisasQ, Inc. which is the only listed expert network service provider in the entire world. It was started in Japan and continued its international expansion with its acquisition of Coleman Research Group in 2021.
Now, VisasQ, Inc. has over 450 members who collaborate from around the world - New York, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, LA, Raleigh, and London. This knowledge sharing platform is committed to make strong, thoughtful connections between their network of over 490,000 clients and experts.
This diverse global enterprise fosters a culture of collaboration and inclusivity, overcoming internal and external barriers.
A Year of Empowerment and Culture
As this year ends, Cultured Focus Magazine wants to honor these top 10 industry leaders and impactful Culturepreneurs, in the hopes that their stories will inspire others to dream big and make changes in the world.
Each of these individuals has brought about momentous change in one capacity or another, using their platforms to inspire us all to innovate, and grow creatively in 2024.