“I always believed that anything was possible with hard work and preparation, but Obama is a tangible example of this. As a Black man in America who is very aware of our history in this country, President Obama’s election means a lot to me. He stands for perseverance. He is the realization of Martin Luther King’s dream. Since Obama was elected he has continued to inspire me because he leads the country and still makes time for his family. His relationship with his daughters reminds me of my relationship with my daughter Karma.” -Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, rapper, actor

Kirk Franklin


“Since President Obama’s election I try to live a life without excuses. To no longer allow whatever realities I face to conflict with truth; truth that I am able to overcome any reality by God’s grace. As a Black man, his election has motivated me in an even greater way to help people of color prepare for the greatness God has placed in every one of us. Some people just need a coach, a voice reminding them of the possibility inside of them. I want to be that voice. The inspiration I feel now fuels a desire for even stronger character and integrity. The eyes of the world are on us as black men. What I do when that the camera is on affects the progress we’ve seen right before our eyes. It’s still not complete, but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.” -Kirk Franklin, gospel artist, host of BET’s “Sunday Best”

Ryan Leslie


“From a very early age, my parents ingrained in me that you shouldn’t be defined by your race, even though people may make a big deal about it. So, even though I feel like, yes it is an historic milestone that we have an African American in office,’ I believe that it’s a reflection of our ability as a people to do whatever we set our minds to and I wouldn’t say my life has really changed because Barack Obama is in office.” -Ryan Leslie, singer/producer

Lamman Rucker

Cinerama Dome

“My life hasn’t changed, but my pride in him has continued to improve based on the courage I’ve seen him demonstrate throughout his term thus far—challenging the political infrastructure, corporate greed and more. As a Black man, I was very happy for the African-American community, the Black family image and the potential for improved international relations. It just reinforced and confirmed what I’ve always known: Obama doesn’t impress me, he simply embodies what I expect (and encourage) of every Black man! I mean that in the best possible way. With access to education, good principles, a strong woman beside you, a firm relationship with God and the right opportunity, you can do whatever you dream. We need to work hard to demonstrate that Obama is not just a flash in the pan. Black men have always been models of excellence and achievement. President Obama has inspired me to continue to be a man of accomplishment, integrity, principle, discipline, family, upliftment, of this country and multiculturalism. He’s also inspired me to continue to believe that each of us is “called” to serve the world (and our country) in some capacity for the greater good.” -Lamman Rucker, actor

Morris Chestnut


“It’s extremely inspirational to see how the world has embraced President Obama. Every time he does an interview his eloquence inspires me. On election day, I took my son with me to the polls and he helped me vote. Just to witness the magnitude it has had on my 12-year-old son and how he truly believes that he can make a difference in this world. Before Obama was elected I never believe that we as Black people could really make a difference, but I’m more in tune with my political interest than I’ve ever been, all because of him.” -Morris Chestnut, actor

Laz Alonzo


“President Obama’s election meant to me as a Black man, that we can compete equally on any level, in any arena. There has always been an unspoken glass ceiling that as a child you are conditioned to believe exists. On that day, that ceiling was shattered for our children and us as adults as well.” -Laz Alonzo, actor

Harry Belafonte


“As much as President Obama’s election to the presidency has filled the hearts of Black men with pride, such delight will be swiftly crushed if the president does not pay more attention to the plight of the poor for it is this place that the majority of African-American men reside. He must take the lead in changing the conditions of poverty and the absence of opportunity that crush the sole of the Black population. If this mission is achieved, then all Americans will be rewarded.” —Grammy award winning singer, actor and humanitarian, Harry Belafonte

Boris Kodjoe


“President Obama has inspired in me the continuous drive to do my best, hold up my family even higher, help others as much as I can, and carry myself with integrity, grace, and full of gratitude.” -Boris Kodjoe, actor

Anthony Mackie


“Obama’s first year in office has restored my faith in our system of government.” -Anthony Mackie, actor

Donnie McClurkin


“Not so much my life, but it has changed the way I view the life of my son, and Americans’ sons and daughters. My son will grow up never knowing that there’s anything in race, creed or color that prohibits him from attaining every level of greatness because of the life and success of President Obama.” -Donnie Mcclurkin, gospel artist and pastor