Legacy 2017 Miami: 40 Under 40 Issue | Page 12

12BB AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO THE MIAMI HERALD Cover Story MONDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017 Introducing Miami's Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow By Russell Motley, Legacy Editor-in-Chief Legacy Miami’s 2017 “40 Under 40” honorees represent a broad range of experience, professions and backgrounds. From managing the fast-paced career of Grammy-nominated rapper Flo Rida (Lee “Freezy” Prince, 39) to offering folks professional sex therapy (Jenifer Smith, 32), these young men and women are making a notable difference in their respec�ve communi�es. Filmmaker Elijah Wells, 20, is this year’s youngest honoree. Although he’s entering his second year at the New York Film Academy in Manha�an, he has already wri�en, directed and produced four projects, including his latest short film “Se7en.” The drama�c comedy debuted at the Urban Film Fes�val in Historic Overtown in September. “It’s a blessing to know you don’t have to be older to do great things,” says Wells, who is working on several projects including rewri�ng a play and direc�ng a music video for rapper Romeo Miller. “Honestly, it’s a humbling experience to know my work is paying off.” Only two honorees mark their last poten�al year on this this ranking: Quincy Cohen, 40, an administra�ve officer with Miami-Dade County and Commissioner Andreana Jackson, 40, of North Bay Village. Jackson is the first Black elected to public office east of Biscayne Boulevard in Dade County. Now in her second term as commissioner, she says she’s pondering her future in poli�cs. In the mean�me, she takes pride in serving her community with projects such as ArtTech, an annual event that exposes children to art and technology. “I want to con�nue with my community service and build upon what I have done in my last two years as commissioner,” says Jackson. Cohen manages emergency-funded programs for residents in need of shelter, food and employment. In fact, during his interview with Legacy, he was in Miami Gardens working with FEMA as it helped people apply for assistance following Hurricane Irma’s devasta�on. Cohen says, as he enters his 40s, he has even higher ambi�ons. “I’m at a place in my life where I’m asking myself what’s next?” says Cohen, an ordained minister, recently named youth and young adult minister at Mount Sinai Bap�st Church in Miami. “How can I have a larger impact in the community I serve?” Legacy’s list of the most influen�al Blacks under the age of 40 includes familiar names, like food blogger Starex Smith, 34, who is also known as The Hungry Black Man, and lesser known influencers like Christopher Caines, 23, interim program director at the Knight Founda�on. As the saying goes, age ain’t nothing but a number. And that par�cularly holds true when it comes to how much this exclusive list of professionals has achieved in such a short �me.