We go into every year with high hopes and goals for ourselves, because every year is supposed to call for a fresh start. But the women on this list of sistahs who lived their very best life in 2017 managed to exceed the usual good tidings and hopes to avoid drama. They found themselves reaching their peak both professionally and personally, and the world was watching and rooting for them along the way. See 17 Black women who certainly couldn’t have asked for a much better year than what 2017 offered them.
Cardi went from struggling to get her music played on the radio while starring on Love and Hip Hop New York to going number one on the music charts, covering a number of major magazines and getting engaged to rapper Offset. She went from a regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx to a household name, and she didn’t have to change one thing about herself.
Tiffany Haddish is funny. If you’ve ever seen her past stand-up, you already knew that. But the world couldn’t deny that fact when the 38-year-old starred in Girls Trip and helped it rake in massive dollars at the box office. Since then, she’s been cast in some promising new projects (including one she’s producing), had a popular showtime stand-up called She Ready!, hosted SNL, released a book, and spoken into fruition a guest spot on the Ellen show.
Ri hasn’t had a bad year in quite some time, but this one was especially good. A lot of it didn’t have anything to do with music. The release of her beauty line, Fenty Beauty, was a huge, shelf-clearing success, the latest collection in her Fenty Puma line was a winner, she had a street in her native Barbados named after her, and of course, there was the number one hit, “Wild Thoughts.” And did we mention that she found herself a new (and very fine AND wealthy) man?
Stephens bounced back from an injury and an abysmal ranking to surprise everyone (including her finals opponent, Venus Williams) and win the US Open. The 24-year-old reminded everyone in the world that she’s a force to be reckoned with on the court, and for her efforts, took home a check for $3.7 million.
Waithe’s “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None, which was inspired by her own story of coming out to her mother, ended up being perhaps the best display from the new season of the Netflix comedy, and it helped the 33-year-old nab a historic Emmy win. She was the first Black woman to win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. She has since been named the Out100: Artist of the Year, had the film she produced, Step Sisters, get picked up by Netflix, and is preparing for the premiere of her Showtime drama, The Chi, in January.
A gold album that’s accrued a wave of praise from critics, a whole new group of fans, and four Grammy nominations is quite the win for the 27-year-old singer/songwriter, whose debut album Ctrl was originally delayed due to a number of setbacks over the years.
A grand slam win at the Australian Open was epic enough, but it was just the start to what would be an amazing year for Serena Williams. She would later give birth to her first child, get married to Alexis Ohanian and have Nike name a building after her. It’s clear that 2017 was her best year yet.
She didn’t have to do much professionally this year, but all eyes were still on Beyoncé and her personal life. The 36-year-old singer welcomed twins and received a public apology from her husband, Jay Z, for his past infidelity on his hit album 4:44 — confirming everything she said in her Grammy-winning album, Lemonade. And when she did release music here and there, hopping on remixes of “Mi Gente” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” they were all huge hits. With a stage comeback scheduled for 2018 at Coachella, it should be another great year for the star.
Ever since it was revealed that former Suits star was dating Prince Harry, she’s become a household name. Where she goes, what she wears, the beauty products she’s used — they all became important topics for some reason. But she has become the ultimate public figure since the couple announced their engagement in November. We’re sure it’s been stressful, but she genuinely seems head over heel in love and ready to be a part of the royal family.
Everyone was sad to see Wiley’s character of Poussey go from Orange is the New Black, but she had a lot to celebrate after the fact, including her stunning wedding to Lauren Morelli, and her new role as Moira on the hit Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tail. In her first season, Wiley was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
The 17-year-old Blackish star covered magazines and was one to watch in terms of fashion on the red carpets — the usual famous people stuff. But outside of that, she graduated from high school, announced that she would be attending Harvard next year, and had the chance to star in her own series, the Blackish spinoff, Grownish, which will debut on Freeform in January.
Aside from continuing in her role as Becky on Empire, Sidibe stepped behind the camera to direct a short film called The Tale of Four and wrote a memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare where she opened up triumphantly about her upbringing, her health and her career. Speaking of health, the 34-year-old had quite the physical transformation after having bariatric surgery and consistently being active after the fact.
Remy should be short for “reminder,” because the MC reminded everyone that she is not one to play with on the mic after she released the much-talked about diss song, “ShETHER.” From there, Remy won a BET Award for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, headlined the annual Hot 97 Summer Jam where she brought out a who’s who of female rappers, opened a clothing store in North Carolina, signed a multi-million dollar deal with Columbia Records and collaborated with Lil Kim for “Wake Me Up.” And at the end of the year, she changed her diet and slimmed down considerably, just in time for her plans to go through with IVF. The year may have started rough, but it ended quite well.
The split from Wissam Al Mana was a shock, but Janet Jackson still had a lot to celebrate this year. She welcomed her first child, returned home to raise him among family and returned to the stage for the State of the World tour. She dropped all of the baby weight in time for the tour and snatched wigs during every performance. And as for her personal life, we don’t know what she has planned in terms of dating in the future, but word on the street is, she’s been hanging with her ex Jermaine Dupri once again.
She was a star in the hit Spider-Man: Homecoming, was on the cover of Vogue and released a gender neutral collection for Daya by Zendaya. She’s ending the year with a role in the Golden Globe-nominated film, The Greatest Showman.
It was 2016 when Teyana Taylor was featured in Kanye West’s “Fade” video, but the ripple effects of winning-ness continued into 2017. She was given a role on the VH1 show The Breaks, launched her Fade 2 Fit workout program, announced that she and husband Iman Shumpert were getting their own reality show, announced a number of acting opportunities, including as the star of the fourth sequel to Honey, and closed quite a few shows during New York Fashion Week. It was an epic year, folks.
It was another successful season of Insecure for creator Issa Rae, but she was also honored during Black Girls Rock!, announced a role in the upcoming film The Hate U Give, became a CoverGirl, starred in Jay-Z’s “Moonlight” video, met Beyoncé, and revealed that she has three more shows in development at HBO coming to a screen near you soon.