Often overlooked in the fight for justice and equality in our country have been members of the LBGT community and the contributions made in helping many of the gains that were realized to come to fruition. Due to a strong homophobic undercurrent coursing through America, and most particularly in the African American community, many gay and lesbian change agents fought, lived, succeeded and broke barriers with a fraction of the acclaim and credit that their heterosexual counterparts received and still receive.

Below are some of the most influential and powerful black gays of all time as determined by newsone.com.

1. Alvin Ailey: The godfather of black dance crowbarred his way into the urban consciousness when he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. The futurist choreographer transformed dance by popularizing and revolutionizing the concert experience via his masterwork, Revelations, set to blues and spirituals showcasing the African-America expedition from slavery to autonomy despite trepidation.

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