Does it seem like time goes by faster each year? It’s almost like if you blink, January turns into December. You know what you couldn’t have missed, though? The impact of these six Black Baltimore creatives in 2023.
They are people who have made Baltimore proud by elevating their brand through hard work and consistency. All steadily deliver original content that exemplifies their uniqueness and why the city rallies behind them.
Whether these creatives are motivating their audience with music, keeping them updated with news or just saying where they should avoid eating, each has had a positive influence on the city they call home.
Brittney Howard, food commentator
Brittney Howard enjoys food more than most so she decided to start recording herself eating after being annoyed by friends constantly asking her where she was going to get her next meal. She started off making TikTok videos primarily for her family and friends, but once she started gaining traction as a food critic, her presence was undeniable.
Howard is unapologetically herself. Her viral food reviews capture audiences because of her authenticity, turning what would be run-of-the-mill content into must-see watches. Her magnetic personality oozes through the phone so the second you hear her voice, your eyes are glued to the screen. But that charisma comes naturally to her. “The more you think about it [how to translate to audiences], the harder it is,” she said. “It’s easier to just be yourself.”
YG Teck, rap artist and clothing brand owner
YG Teck’s story plays out like a good gangster movie with a happy ending. He has shied away from the street route and now uses his experiences as lyrics in his music, setting the bar as a rapper from Baltimore. He’s in the midst of touring different cities across the country, preparing to release an upcoming project and still running his own No Excusez clothing store on 25th Street, where he employs close friends and family from his neighborhood.
The rapper has previously said that some of his fondest memories are associated with what music he was listening to at the time, which is how he developed a passion for becoming an artist. Now he hopes to use his position as a public figure to positively inspire others in the city.
Timothy Fletcher, drummer
Pressure doesn’t affect Timothy Fletcher. The drummer played the Chase Center during a Golden State Warriors playoff game in February and just missed out on advancing to the semifinals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” this summer.
Fletcher began playing clarinet in third grade, then bounced between percussion and saxophone before falling in love with marching snare drums in high school. Now he takes pride in operating as a one-man army and showing others they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. He’s more than thankful for everything that drumming has brought him and only hopes that 2024 can “continue to bring me more blessings.”
Lisa Snowden, editor in chief and co-founder of Baltimore Beat
Lisa Snowden always knew she was going to be a writer, even as a child. Now, not only did she accomplish that, but she has also shown aspiring Black journalists that they can do the same right here in their home city of Baltimore.
As the editor in chief and co-founder of the Baltimore Beat, a newspaper founded in 2017 as a home for people of color, Snowden has given opportunities to plenty of local journalists, notably ones in college. It’s been a long-term goal of hers to provide that for young journalists.
Jordan Lawson, muralist
Jordan Lawson went to middle school, high school and college for art and graphic design so it’s safe to say he was destined to create art in some form. He takes pride in using his “God-given ability” to give back to Baltimore, most noticeably to children.
Lawson did a mural for the Henderson-Hopkins school that incorporated input from students and the surrounding community. “You can’t ask for much more in that situation because it’s one of those type of things where they have to enjoy this every day,” he said.
Lawson was also the first artist selected to paint a mural for the Ravens’ “Paint the State Purple” program. As a lifelong fan, this was a double dream come true for Lawson: He gets to work with his hometown’s football team, and the location of the mural is in Towson, where he went to college.
Akio Evans, film producer and artist
Akio Evans has worked with the who’s who of entertainment — Marvel, HBO, Converse and Timberland among them — and thanks the power of manifestation for his success. Whether he’s working on a film or commissioning sneaker murals for big names like Kevin Hart and Allen Iverson, Evans’ work ethic can’t be overstated.
Evans is adamant that his projects reflect intimacy and storytelling. This creative’s work embodies his hometown; for instance, he highlights Marvel’s Meteor Man in his clothing pieces because the movie was filmed in the city. And his sneaker art? Well, it can’t be duplicated; it’s raw and honest just like Baltimore.