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Black Creativity Innovation Studio

ended Feb 26

Innovator Gallery

In the Innovator Gallery, learn how African Americans are remaking Chicago and inspiring the next generation.

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Meet Our 2020 Innovators

Coodie and Chike


As co-founders of their own production company, Coodie and Chike created groundbreaking music videos for Kanye West, Erykah Badu and other artists. Today they make award-winning documentaries such as Benji, about the life and death of a Chicago South Side high school basketball star.

Tammera L. Holmes

Founder, AeroStar Avion Institute and AeroStar Consulting Corporation

Tammera Holmes is an advocate for aviation and STEM careers with a focus on African-American and female youth. She is a role model and speaker, and was named a National Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance.

Jason Mayden

CEO and co-founder, Super Heroic

An industrial designer and entrepreneur, Jason Mayden designed shoes at Nike before founding his own company. He’s also a youth advocate who champions education, and believes that encouraging kids to play promotes good health and nurtures curious thinkers.

Dr. Ian Smith

Physician, author, TV personality

Dr. Ian Smith is author of 15 books and creator of the SHRED diet. He is a former co-host of The Doctors daytime talk show, was an expert on Celebrity Fit Club, and is a former medical news correspondent for NBC News. He received his medical degree from University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Dr. Cheryl Whitaker

CEO and chairwoman, NextLevel Health Partners

Dr. Cheryl Whitaker is a 20-year health care professional who has dedicated her career to finding innovative health solutions for underserved populations. She has extensive experience in health care information technology, leveraging IT solutions toward better quality care for patients.

Erick Williams

Chef and owner, Virtue

Virtue restaurant in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood is Erick Williams’s first solo concept, blending fine dining and Southern cuisine while also incubating young, inexperienced workers. An award-winning chef, he helped open the highly regarded MK restaurant, rising to become its executive chef.