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Jack Harlow got his first taste of viral fame in 2017 when his music video “Dark Knight” went viral on YouTube, eventually clocking 7.5 million views. The singer, who grew up on a horse farm outside Louisville, Kentucky, and raps about things like fettuccine and airplane seats, has perfected the art of building a career on social media. He hasn’t made a full studio album, yet every show on his 2021 tour is sold out and he has moved over $1 million in merchandise. He’s already giving back, too, raising over $1 million for Louisville-based nonprofits and HBCUs. “I can make a million hit songs, but that doesn’t compare to coming back home and saying, ‘I want to lift you up with me,’ ” he says.
We published the first edition of the Forbes 30 Under 30 a decade ago, with one clear goal: to identify the new guard, the young innovators, trailblazers and disruptors remaking our world. That first list featured names like Kevin Systrom, whose company Instagram had only seven employees; Lena Dunham, who had yet to debut on HBO’s Girls; Daniel Ek, who had just launched Spotify in the U.S.; journalist Ronan Farrow, years before he exposed Harvey Weinstein in the New Yorker; and actor Donald Glover, then mostly known as a cast member in the cult comedy Community.
Much of 2022 was being freshly created by this group back in 2012. Ten years from today, it’s a good bet we’ll all be living in a new world being imagined today by the 600 entrepreneurs, innovators and entertainers that make up our 10th Anniversary class.
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