Like so many people across the globe, I tuned into Barbara Walter’s special last Thursday evening to see who would make her list of “The 10 Most Fascinating People” and like so many peeps I was pretty disappointed. I can see Mark Zuckerberg and Betty White and was pleased to see LeBron James on her list as well, but Jennifer Lopez and The Jersey Shore cast? Nuh-uh. And I don’t have to like something to find it fascinating so that’s not it. The Situation and dem are simple and stereotypical and what’s so fascinating about being an Idol judge? So instead of wasting breath ranting over Bab’s lame list, why not create our own? Ladies and gents here is theHotness List of The 10 Most Fascinating People. Check it out and please tell me who else should make theHotness List.
Wangechi Mutu: This Kenyan-born artist and new mother had the artworld on smash in 2010. In February Wangechi was honored by Deutsche Bank as their first Artist of the Year. The prize included a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin entitled “My Dirty Little Heaven.” The show traveled in June to Wiels Center for Contemporary Art in Brussels, Belgium. With exhibitions in London, Los Angeles, and NYC Mutu’s chaotic collage and provocative painting and pasting had heads shook! Her work, which explores the contradictions of female and cultural identity and makes reference to colonial history, contemporary African politics and the international fashion industry, is no joke.
*** SAVE THE DATE: Please join theHotness.com & Wangechi Mutu on Saturday, December 18th at 2PM at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery in NYC for an Artist Talk about Black female body politics, beauty, the “Exotic” and racism. ***
dream hampton: The writer, author & filmmaker has been extremely busy this year. Her documentary about “Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert” premiered in August to a sold-out screening at Lincoln Center and to crazy critical acclaim. Using concert footage and exclusive interviews with exiled activist Assata Shakur, former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, political prisoner Mutulu Shakur, dream directed & presents a film that intimately documents the movement behind the annual event that the nonprofit Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has produced, for more than a decade, to raise awareness about and support for political prisoners in the U.S. And just in case y’all were wondering, a major reason why “Decoded” is so damn good and is a NY Times Bestseller is cuz dream used her skills as a journalist and her insight as one of Shawn Carter’s dearest friends to filter his lyrical life story into a visual and literary cornucopia of hip-hop hotness. Battling the big C in 2010, the Detroit native has shown and proved she’s a real warrior who literally flies, rules Twitter with her uber smartness and who still has time to juice her veggies and make dinner for her daughter.
Sade: In 2010 we were blessed with the return of Helen Folasade Adu, professionally known to us as simply Sade. “Soldier Of Love” debuted and we all exhaled because there’s something about that soft, sultry husk of a voice that lulls, soothes and liberates… even if only from the confines of pop madness and R&B shenanigans. Sade who turned 51 this year and looks better than ever was also declared the most successful solo female artist in British history in the UK times this summer. She just garnered two Grammy nominations and is preparing for a world tour in 2011, which is already selling-out in some cities almost an entire year before show time! Ila’s mother is one of only a handful of singers that can stay away a year and return just as relevant and as popular as the best of music’s regulars.
Favianna Rodriguez: Hailing from Oakland, CA, Favianna is an artist-activist and Co-founder of Presente.org. A printmaker who got her start as a political poster designer in the 90’s, spent 2010 in Mexico City as part of a US delegation fighting for the rights of migrants, in Maui discussing the history of paper and the power of political posters, in Harlem presenting creative ways to fight anti-immigrant hate. Of course Favianna created iconic, provocative posters at every destination. The Taller Tupac Amaru collective, which she co-founded in ’03 was awarded 2010’s Best Political Art Collective by East Bay Express. She is a cultural worker on the rise who has painted and presented all across the globe.
Oprah Winfrey: Really do I need to go into detail about why she’s so fascinating? All I need to write is “25 Years.” Surely being TV’s top host for a quarter of a century is a feet in and of itself, but for a Black woman who does not fit America’s standard of beauty, this is extraordinary. Her ratings are higher than ever this year and her mag is one of only a handful with increased ad revenue. And besides who else has opened a school recently, was honored by President Obama and has the illest Favorite Things Show this side of Pluto? She is startling in her fascination appeal. Can’t wait to see what she does with the OWN next year!
Majora Carter: A Bronx girl with heart, Majora is an activist who has been making Mother Nature proud for over a decade as she fights for environmental justice in her native South Bronx community. She’s the president of The Majora Carter Group, LLC– a private, for-profit “green” economic consulting firm. In the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine, Majora was listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. The 2006 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow was awarded the 2010 Award from IIDA and began working on her memoir this year.
Beyonce: Say what you want about my grrrl Bey, but there’s no denying she has got it going on. In February, the Recording Industry Association of America listed her as the top certified artist of the decade. Her feature on Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” this year became her sixth number one and resulted in both Gaga and Bey tying Mariah Carey’s record for most No. 1’s. This year she launched her first fragrance “Heat” and this past November she released her DVD “I Am… World Tour,” which she co-incidentally produced, directed and edited. Two million units were sold in one week. Beyonce is not only Sascha Fierce she is undeniably fierce!
Lisa Ling: I’ve always loved Lisa’s courage. When she was sittin’ high on the hog as one of the original ladies of The View, she felt like she needed to do more with her life than discuss hot topics and talk fashion. She left The View and traveled all over the world with National Geographic and then later as a correspondent for Oprah giving us an intimate view on child trafficking in Ghana, the drug war in Colombia and bride burning in India to name a few of her insightful pieces. Her fight to obtain freedom for her imprisoned sister was nothing short of empowering and their book “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home” is proof positive that there is no love like a sister’s love. Her newly launched website Secret Society Of Women, came about as a result of suffering a miscarriage earlier this year and feeling alone in her loss, offers women an anonymous place to post their thoughts, hopes and fears.
Janelle Monae: Her album, The ArchAndroid, dropped this past summer like a meteor from outer space leaving a crater that was funky, spirited, edgy, unique, mysterious and smoldering soul. I’ve written about my favorite singing android several times and each time I’ve discovered something new about the Kansas City native. Her songs, like her performances, like her style are original artifacts that mix Egypt with Venus and James Brown with Erykah Badu. She never ceases to amaze.
Michelle Obama: Bab’s had General David Petraeus as her MOST fascinating person?! For me that honor goes to First Lady Michelle Obama. The media tends to focus on her style and her “toned” arms, but lest we forget FLOTUS is a lawyer, mother and activist. She is creating a legacy of healthy eating in America when she planted the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady. Her Let’s Move! campaign to battle America’s epidemic of childhood obesity is definitely doing big things! Just today her hubby signed into law her child nutrition bill. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will expand the number of children in school lunch programs, increase the reimbursement rate to school districts for meals by six cents and replace the junk food available outside the cafeteria, such as in vending machines, with more healthful options. She’s the First Lady and the first & foremost fascinating person on my list!