Name: Dnay Baptiste
Location: New York
How We Know Her: The Harlemite has danced with pop culture’s biggest headliners, from Beyonce to Jennifer Lopez.
Why We Picked Her: She’s sexy. She’s smart. And she regularly delivers hitting dance routines on social media.
What’s Next: When she isn’t touring, Dnay travels the country speaking to women and children about pursuing their dreams.
At, 31 Dnay B. is a quiet but fierce inspiration to young Black people all over the world. The professional dancer and Harlem native has performed with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, N.E.R.D, and most notably serves as Beyoncé’s principal danseuse. Dnay is, by all accounts, a graceful beacon of hope for millennials, unapologetically living in her purpose. A Black self-love warrior with a work ethic that is categorically unmatched.
“I am Dnay Baptiste, a Harlem resident, a strong Black woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister… a dancer, a motivational speaker,” she told CLEO TV this past April, before going into how the drug-riddled streets of Harlem motivated her to work hard. “It was tough, but it was very inspiring. It told me that I didn’t want to be there forever. That wasn’t going to be my only place of residence — I was going to go out, I was going to see the world.”
“But we also had a lot of good times, like, I grew up in the era of block parties. That’s where I started dancing,” she revealed. Dnay credits her sister for piquing her interest in dance. “My sister was my first dance teacher. We would get all the neighborhood kids in the living room, get our little cassette tape, put it in, and press record, make a mixtape, and my sister would choreograph our dance numbers, and we would perform for the block party. That’s where it all started for me — performing and just being in front of a crowd, in front of an audience. That’s where I fell in love with dance and I knew from very young that that’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life.”
Dnay’s life story teaches us many things, but one of the most important lessons is: be focused in your profession — resilience and tenacity are key.
“Check out the other honorees on iOne Digital’s The Creative Class.”