Meet the 31 People Who Are Changing the South (according to TIME Magazine). Country singer Kane Brown and Raleigh-based chef Ashley Christensen are mentioned in the full article found here.
"Kane Brown knows he doesn’t look like “your average country artist,” as he puts it: he’s a biracial singer in a genre dominated by white stars, and you won’t find him rocking a cowboy hat. But Brown has bucked norms at every step of his journey, from singing a Chris Young song at a high school talent show in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., to touring with country heavyweights including Young himself. His 2017 single “What Ifs” is one of the most-streamed country songs ever, and he’s the first artist to top all of Billboard’s country charts simultaneously. Brown once looked forward to a “big-boy job” as a FedEx driver, but that was before his videos developed a following on Facebook. “You can’t not chase dreams if they’re in front of you,” he tells TIME. Brown’s honeyed drawl, willingness to stretch genre boundaries and highly personal storytelling have won him fans far beyond social media. “There have been some fans that still don’t let me in,” he says. But Brown, who believes country music is “all about love,” has his eyes on bigger things. Once, he felt like an outcast. Now, he feels he belongs. The numbers—and the fans—already prove it." —Raisa Bruner
"Earlier this year, in the kind of social-media blowup that has become as inevitable as tuna tartare on a fancy restaurant menu, a picture of Michelle Obama on chef Ashley Christensen’s Instagram feed prompted a follower to suggest that, more or less, she should shut up and cook. The Raleigh-based Christensen’s heartfelt reply argued that hospitality goes beyond “a simple transaction of food for cash.” Food personalities, she wrote, “have more reach and influence than ever before, and with that comes responsibility.” Christensen has taken on plenty. Her restaurants, anchored by the award-winning Poole’s Diner, have made her a star in the food world. Her cooking elevates traditional comfort food without stripping it of its soul. But she has always balanced hospitality with social action, whether working with Share Our Strength to feed underprivileged children, weighing in on industry issues like workplace conditions for women in restaurants or changing men’s and women’s restrooms in her restaurants to “people rooms” in response to North Carolina’s since-repealed “bathroom bill.” That also got her some grief, along with plenty of support. Of course a chef can do more than cook. She can also post a sign on the windows of all her restaurants that lets people know exactly why she does more than just feed them. It reads, Don’t forget kindness." —Ray Isle