Last month, we joined our partners at American Family Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin for the launch of its inaugural Young, Gifted and Dreaming Fearlessly Summit. There, we met five young dreamers: 15-year-old actor and entrepreneur AJ Carr, 14-year-old aspiring astronaut Taylor Richardson, 14-year-old DJ Fulano Librizzi, 13-year-old ice cream shop owner Beau Shell, and 10-year-old singer and actor JD McCrary. Here are a few reasons why they are the kids to watch in 2018.
1. AJ Carr - entrepreneur and actor on Showtime's "The Chi"
Before landing a recurring role on Showtime's "The Chi", AJ founded "Big Bosses," an organization dedicated to empowering youth by cultivating their talents, promoting leadership, and building "character through self-esteem by teaching self-worth", according to the organization's website. Most recently, the 15-year-old hosted a "Black Panther" movie premiere party, where he gifted 40 kids with tickets to watch the now #1 movie in the world.
2. Taylor Richardson, aspring astronaut and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) advocate
Back in 2016, Taylor launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for 100 girls to see "Hidden Figures." She went on to exceed her goal and raise more than $20,000 to take 1,000 girls to see the untold true story about the three African American women who were behind one of NASA's first successful space missions. Fast forward to this year, Taylor has done it again. This time, raising $50,000 to send girls to see Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time."
In fact, Oprah Winfrey recently committed to matching the $50,000 that Taylor raised on a recent appearance on Good Morning America, where Taylor talked about her successful fundraiser. Watch below.
.@Oprah's advice to young girls: "The highest honor on Earth that you will ever have is the honor of being yourself...your only true job as a human being is to discover why you came. Why you are here." pic.twitter.com/Xdyfh16eE0— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 7, 2018
3. Fulano Librizzi, celebrity DJ
Fulano was destined to be on the 1s and 2s. He started taking drumming lessons at the age of 4. By age 5, he was enrolled at the New York City deejay school and became the school's youngest student - and let's just say the rest is history. His list of clients include Nickelodeon, the Gap, Cartoon Network, American Eagle, Old Navy, Bill Clinton, Alicia Keys and more.
"I just want to keep making people dance and making people smile," Fulano said. That is why I deejay and that is why I love what I do."
4. Beau Shell, ice cream shop owner
For six years Beau ran his ice cream business out his parents' garage, but in December that all changed when he raised enough funds ($20,000 to be exact) to open his very own ice cream shop. His most recent accomplishment is raising enough funds so 100 STEM girls in Athens, Georgia can go see "A Wrinkle in Time."
What makes it even more special is that Taylor, who Beau met at the American Family Insurance summit, is coming out to his support his event next Sunday.
Ok folks! My brother @lilicecreamdude is trying to get a 100 girls to see @wrinkleintime! He may be the only boy doing this! He’s an inspiring video on his @facebook page explaining why he wants to support girls well #warriors! Please check it out and maybe donate! Go Beau so proud! See ya next Sunday!! https://www.facebook.com/lilicecreamdude/posts/1348543318624241
5. JD McCrary, singer and actor
JD McCrary kicked off the new year by performing with Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) onstage during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. The 10-year-old singing phenomenon landed the role of young Simba in Disney's live-action remake of "The Lion King", where Glover will play the adult version of Simba. The film is expected to premiere in 2019.
Since the event, all five kids and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas (who was the featured guest at the summit) have kept in touch and formed their own village amongst one another. We suggest you keep a look out for these young fearless dreamers, because they got next.