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BET Networks To Celebrate African American Men During Black History Month

BET Networks will celebrate the contributions of Black men with a series of vignettes that will run in February during Black History Month.

The ICONN MANN 28 Men Of Change will feature the stories of contemporary African-American men who have served as trailblazers in the fields of entertainment, business, art, law, finance, medicine, science, politics, education and professional sports, according to network officials. Each two-minute vignette airing on BET and Centric will feature original videos, photographs and editorial features on these inspirational figures, providing a personal and in-depth interview detailing how they have combined their passion with their purpose.

The group of honorees selected for the inaugural ICON MANN 28 Men of Change include (in alphabetical order):

1.    Lonnie Bunch III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

2.    Nick Cannon, TV Host, Writer, Director, Executive Producer and Philanthropist

3.    Lee Daniels, Film Producer and Oscar-Nominated Director

4.    Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean, Grammy Award-Winning Record Producer, Composer and Philanthropist

5.    Dr. Courtney Hollowell, Cook County Hospital Chairman of the Division of Urology

6.    Nyjah Huston, Professional Street Skateboarder

7.    Charles Jenkins, Pastor of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

8.    Ron Kirk, Sr. Council of Gibson Dunn and Former U.S. Trade Representative

9.    Edward Lewis, Co-founder of Essence Magazine and Latina Magazine

10. Ndaba Mandela, Chairman, Africa Rising Foundation

11. Leland Melvin, NASA Astronaut

12. Dr. Steve Perry, Founder and Principal, Capital Preparatory Magnet School

13. Nile Rodgers, Musician, Producer, Composer and Philanthropist

14. Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO, The California Endowment

15. Marcus Samuelsson, Chef and UNICEF Ambassador

16. Gary Simmons, Artist

17. Forest Whitaker, Actor, Producer and Director (pictured)

The remaining honorees will be revealed each day during the month of February 2014, according to BET officials.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.