MN Year In Review: 12 Black Women Of The Year
Last year we were shocked to learn that for their annual “Women of The Year” edition, Glamour magazine neglected to highlight a single black woman. So last year we created our own list of black women who did their thang in 2011. We thought it was such a good idea, that we decided to continue the tradition, so here are the black women who’ve made moves in 2012.The First Lady at the DNC Convention in September. Image: The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images
We never tire of talking about our first lady…never. She’s the bees knees. We love Michelle for her fashion choices, the love and dedication she has for her daughters and the support she provides for her husband. We appreciate the causes she’s picked up as First Lady, military families and addressing childhood obesity, since she’s been in the White House. But most importantly, as a black woman I love that Michelle is intelligent, yet doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s accomplished but she’s never shy about talking about where she comes from and encouraging others to follow in her footsteps. I love that little black girls can see a woman of her background and education in such an elevated position. It would be silly to say that she represents all black women; but if someone had never met or interacted with another black woman, Michelle Obama is a great place to start as a shining example of who we are and what we can accomplish.
Alright, so we’re cheating on this one a little bit since Gabby is only 16. But she’s close enough and we just couldn’t make this list without her. Gabby captured our hearts as we watched her compete in the summer Olympics on the gymnastics team. We were already rooting for Gabby as the lone black girl on the team; but we became even more fond of her once we learned her story of discrimination and sacrifice. We all celebrated, and in my case, shed a few tears when Gabby won gold for her performance in the individual all-arounds.
We’ve had our eyes on Kerry since her role in Save The Last Dance, which is why it’s so good to see her still making moves, over a decade later. Not only is Washington the star of ABC’s hit series, Scandal, she’s also co-starring alongside Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in the new Quentin Tarantino film Django. We see you Kerry!
And now for a woman who makes her boss moves behind the camera. Ava DuVernay had a great 2012. After the success of her 2011 film, I Will Follow, DuVernay didn’t lose steam and followed it up with an even bigger success, Middle Of Nowhere. The film, which you need to see if you haven’t already, was selected to be shown at Sundance. The film was a smash hit there, earning DuVernay the best director award, the first African American to receive this honor.
We have to continue to admire Solange for diversifying her talents and being a constant force in the entertainment industry. From her DJing side hustle, to guest blogging for Vogue to becoming a fashion icon, Solange is doing it. She’s become quite the media maven and then she added the icing and cherry on top with the release of her latest album True, which has been reviewed favorably, with critics saying she’s finally found her voice.
Some of ya’ll are real mad right now, but get outcha feelings. Regardless of whether or not you feel it’s time for Beyoncé to sit down or whatever, you can’t deny that she’s had a really good year. At the top of the year, the songstress gave birth to her first child, a child the world was oh, so anxious to see. She took a quick break and then got right back to work with a sold-out tour and then the release of her ever popular Tumblr and Instagram pages. This year we learned that she’d be performing at the SuperBowl this upcoming February; and if all of that weren’t enough, the woman just signed what’s rumored to be a $50 million dollar deal with Pepsi.
Mona Scott Young
Some of you might have your nose turned up right now but hear me out. Mona is not the one on tv acting a fool, the people she picks are. And while her role as the creator of the insanely successful “Love and Hip Hop” series might be exploitative, she’s still a black woman who’s making money in the media. Even if she highlights some messy stuff, her ideas and ability to recognize
ratchet compelling characters, makes her a very smart lady.
Even more controversy. Though, I’ve long since stopped watching NeNe on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” I will say if any black reality tv star has been able to capitalize on their new-found fame, it’s Ms. NeNe. When you think about it, NeNe is an example of a woman, albeit a bit tacky at times, who proves that you’re never too old to go for your dreams. If you’ll recall NeNe wanted to be an actress as a youngster, so I’m happy to see that she’s taken her platform as a housewife and made the transition into bonafide actress on shows like “Glee” and “The New Normal,” which she does a great job on by the way,
If NeNe’s on the list, we have to include Kandi. Honestly, with the success of her career, Kandi could have been on a woman of the year list several times over. After the break up of Xscape, she never stopped grinding, we just didn’t know about it until we saw her on tv each week. But this year has been particularly good for Kandi because, in addition to her two boutiques in Atlanta, she also expanded her sex toy line, Bedroom Kandi, by allowing women to sell her merchandise, door to door.
If you’re familiar with the list from last year, you may remember that Shonda made the cut last time. Though we knew then that she was developing “Scandal,” we didn’t know just how deliciously good it would be. That show has the internets going crazy every Thursday night. Not only that, we learned this year that Shonda Rhimes and our other favorite, Issa Rae the creator of “Awkward Black Girl,” are going to be collaborating on a brand new series about dating men in LA. We dig that Shonda is helping bring other women of color into the game. Much respect to her.
Though this year has been arguably the worst of Sybrina’s life, we have to admire her for the work she’s done in response to this awful tragedy. After the unjust death of her son, Trayvon Martin, Sybrina could have cowered or allowed herself to be consumed by hatred and bitterness; but instead she and Tracy, fought and continue to fight to make sure their son didn’t die in vain. That takes a courage and strength that we can’t help but admire.
When Oprah says that you’re going to be the one to save her struggling network, you’ve got to be doing a whole heck of a lot right. And that person is Iyanla Vanzant. Last year, when Oprah and Iyanla reunited to mend their decade-long…tension. From then, we learned that Iyanla would be getting a show on Oprah’s OWN network. And Oprah was not lying when she said Iyanla was going to help her out. The premiere of her show, “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” received the highest ratings for Oprah’s network and she’s doing some healing and helping in the process.