The 2017 YBCA 100 List

Meet the 100 people, organizations, and movements that are shaping the future of culture.

About the list

Each year, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts releases the YBCA 100 list, celebrating the innovators, provocateurs, and thought leaders from all over the world who are using their platform to create cultural movement. This year, the list took on a renewed urgency and importance. In the face of uncertain social and political headwinds, we gave voice to those who can lead us towards a more hopeful and equitable future.

On October 28, 2017, several of the year’s honorees spoke and performed at the annual YBCA 100 Summit. Watch their presentations and performances here »

100 Days Action
artivism collective

For providing a forum for artistic resistance.

Abundant Beginnings
community education and empowerment initiative

For cultivating the next generation of community leaders.

Adrian Acencion
Trans Latinx Disabled organizer

For striving to create a world that is safe for all people, regardless of gender identity.

David Adjaye

For creating a home for the African American experience.

Axel Alonso
editor in chief of Marvel Comics

For transforming a universe of superheroes into one of universal inclusion.

Sam Altman
president of Y Combinator

For moving big ideas into reality.

Alt National Park Service
resistance organization

For putting transparency and the public interest above politics.

Joaquin Alvarado
Former CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting

For fact-based, non-partisan, truth-driven stories.

José Andrés
chef, author, educator, activist

For using his platform to advocate for food justice and human rights.

Appalachia-based arts organization

For strengthening the voices of the people of Appalachia and rural America.

Alejandro Aravena

For upending the relationship between capital and urban development.

Reza Aslan
author, scholar, TV host

For generating a deeper understanding of the Middle East through alternative coverage.

Kenya Barris
writer, producer

For bringing relevance back to the television sitcom.

singer-songwriter, producer

For her exhaustive creativity in music, art, and technology.

Brand New Congress
political action committee

For giving ordinary citizens a platform to make change.

The California Sunday Magazine
digital and print publication

For finding extraordinary value in the tales of ordinary people.

Chance the Rapper
performer, founder of SocialWorks

For keeping social change at the forefront of his actions and artistry.

Jasilyn Charger
co-founder, International Indigenous Youth Council

For demanding respect for her cultural heritage.

Staceyann Chin
spoken-word poet, LGBTQ activist

For refusing to conform and speaking it loud.

Debra Cleaver
founder and CEO of

For empowering more people to participate in our most vital civic action.

Adam Curtis

For providing the fuel to question those in positions of power.

Malkia Cyril
founder and executive director of Center for Media Justice

For advocating for the defense of net neutrality and media justice.

Carolina De Robertis
writer, activist

For writing stories that challenge us to think bigger.

DJ Spooky
composer, multimedia artist, DJ

For tackling social and environmental issues through innovative art.

Penelope Douglas
community development entrepreneur

For building bridges across finance, community, and art sectors.

design collective

For creating work that challenges current social and political systems.

Roxane Gay
writer and professor

For her funny, critical, and intersectional writing.

Shawn Ginwright
activist, researcher

For promoting radical healing, hope and imagination.

Girls on the Run of the Bay Area
girls’ empowerment organization

For helping every girl embrace who she is.

Donald Glover
actor, writer, rapper

For distilling his own real hustle in music and comedy into the surreal Atlanta.

Marina Gorbis
executive director of Institute for the Future

For providing perspective and strategy to future-looking organizations.

Melonie and Melorra Green
curators, artivists, radio show hosts

For being unstoppable advocates for the arts, Pan-Africanism, and LGBT rights.

Lauren Halsey

For connecting her contemporary art practice to the community she came up in.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
founder and CEO of Center for Youth Wellness, founding physician at Bayview Child Health Center

For advocating healthy outcomes for all children.

Zakiya Harris
cultural architect, artist, educator

For enhancing Oakland through music, activism, and community organizing.

Linda Harrison
executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora

For championing provocative and vital voices in the African Diaspora.

Jemele Hill and Michael Smith
cohosts of ESPN’s SC6

For bringing new perspectives to the world of sports.

Maria Hinojosa
journalist, producer

For giving voice to the diversity of the American experience.

The Indivisible Project
political resistance movement

For fostering change through collaboration.

Saru Jayaraman
founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

For advocating for the labor of those who serve us food.

Barry Jenkins

For powerful human storytelling.

Rupi Kaur
spoken-word artist, writer

For sharing her poetry through unexpected channels.

Ingrid LaFleur
cultural producer, arts advocate

For bringing art and culture into mayoral politics.

Las Patronas
social justice organization

For offering a form of solidarity that starts in the kitchen.

Liz Lerman

For pushing dance’s potential to engage with the community.

Lil Buck
dancer, choreographer

For exhibiting the harmony between seemingly discordant artistic practices.

Rachel Maddow
political commentator

For fearless, precise political reporting.

Toni Tipton-Martin
cookbook author

For telling the stories of invisible African-American cooks who made our country.

Daphne Matziaraki
filmmaker, journalist

For having the courage to chase the facts and deliver difficult truths.

Tarell Alvin McCraney
playwright, actor, screenwriter, educator

For turning his own search for identity into a powerful screenplay in Moonlight.

Heather C. McGhee
president of Demos

For pushing us towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Jean Melesaine
photographer, artist, activist

For capturing the often unseen faces in a community.

Matt Mitchell
founder of CryptoHarlem

For ensuring human rights online for marginalized and over-policed populations.

Moral Mondays
political protest movement

For sparking a movement of civil disobedience to protest unjust legislation.

Carmen Morgan
founder and director of artEquity

For training artists to facilitate important conversations around social justice.

News and Guts
news, media, and investigative reporting platform

For being a brave media voice in a world of fake news.

Trevor Noah
comedian, television host

For providing a nightly check on the new not-normal in America.

Zahra Noorbakhsh

For using humor to share the contemporary Muslim-American experience with us.

Omi Gallery
art and community space

For offering powerful challenges to the social and art market status quo.

Walé Oyéjidé
fashion creative director

For designing clothes and textiles to convey African cultural history and issues of the present.

Painted Brain
mental health advocacy organization

For using art as a model for social services.

Peacock Rebellion
social justice organization

For using art to build a culture of social justice.

Raoul Peck
filmmaker, activist

For reviving crucial historic and cultural narratives.

Jordan Peele
comedian, director, writer

For bringing awareness and intentionality to mainstream media.

Julie Phelps
artistic director of CounterPulse

For fostering a space and resources for creative community endurance.

Samora Pinderhughes
jazz pianist, composer

For writing and performing music to empower people against racism and social inequality.

Pau Quintanajornet
founder of Project Wallflowers

For reimagining public spaces with “ailmento para el alma.” She is magic!

Radical Monarchs
girls of color empowerment organization

For helping girls contribute radically to their communities.

Radio Ambulante
radio program

For recognizing the importance of linguistic autonomy and equality.

Issa Rae
actor, writer, director

For humor, joy, and realness in everyday life.

Jorge Ramos

For pushing political boundaries and supporting immigrant rights.

Claudia Rankine
poet, writer, playwright

For challenging the notion of a post-racial society.

Laurie Jo Reynolds
artist, policy advocate, researcher, and professor

For intervening in government systems to create change.

Damon Rich
designer, partner at Hector, founder of CUP

For designing public spaces that help to create more democratically responsive environments.

Boots Riley
performer, producer, community organizer

For scrutinizing class and structural racism through the art of words.

Rashad Robinson
executive director of Color Of Change

For building a digital space for effective civil rights activism.

Chad Rochkind
principal at Human Scale Studio, tactical urbanism advocate

For working with the community to make Detroit more vibrant.

Ananya Roy
scholar, professor

For transforming higher education to directly impact poverty and inequality.

Run for Something
political nonprofit

For inspiring and helping young people to run for public office.

Doniece Sandoval
founder and CEO of Lava Mae

For providing access to hygiene to transform lives and communities.

Mimi Silbert
president and CEO of Delancey Street Foundation

For providing a path for ex-felons and others to contribute to the vitality of our communities.

Lateefah Simon
BART Board of Directors, President of Akonadi Foundation

For advancing opportunities for underrepresented communities in the Bay Area.

Smart Bomb Oakland
futurist arts and music community collective

For showcasing dynamic, innovative, and marginalized voices.

Amara Tabor-Smith
artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater

For conjuring issues of race, gender, and the environment through dance.

Jill Soloway
writer, director

For telling stories that are rooted in empathy, inclusion, and equity.

Abdi Soltani
executive director of ACLU of Northern California

For seeking out and advancing justice for all people.

The Stud Collective
business co-op

For smartly disrupting cultural displacement through resistance economics.

Akira Tana
jazz drummer

For using music to promote healing and community.

Bryant Terry
chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora and food justice activist

For teaching food justice as a path for social revolution.

Virgie Tovar
founder of Babecamp and the #LoseHateNotWeight campaign

For fearlessly exploring the intersection of size, gender, and race.

Hamdi Ulukaya
CEO of Chobani

For proving that big corporations can be kind and successful.

UnderCover Presents
musical collective

For cross-pollination of cultures, musicians, writers and artists.

Deanna Van Buren
cofounder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces

For transforming how our nation views men and women post-incarceration.

Jose Antonio Vargas
journalist, filmmaker, CEO of Define American

For laying bare the politics of immigration as a journalist and undocumented immigrant.

Elaine Welteroth
editor of Teen Vogue

For guiding a teen magazine towards covering the big issues.

Colson Whitehead

For writing boldly from the core of the African-American historical experience.

The White Helmets
Syrian humanitarian organization

For conducting volunteer urban search and rescue for civilians in Syria.

Saul Williams
poet, musician, actor

For prioritizing socially engaged ideas as a music artist and actor.

Kristina Wong

For using humor to explore race and economics.

Mike Zuckerman
founder of [freespace]

For uncovering new paradigms to restore vulnerable places and spaces.

See the YBCA 100 list from 2016 »