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It’s funny, every so often we’ll get an e-mail from someone who doesn’t understand why we, Madame Noire, exist. They feel the premise of the site encourages segregation. That is not our intention. You can celebrate black culture and beauty without berating others. We’re here to provide what’s missing in other mainstream media outlets. If there were ever proof that a site like ours is crucial, it was Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year list.

While the magazine picked some very noteworthy women like Gabrielle Giffords and Arianna Huffington, the list was completely devoid of any black women. I understand that Glamour is a publication targeted towards white women but not featuring at least one black woman is simply inexcusable.

So to remedy the situation, we compiled our own list of black women who distinguished themselves significantly in 2011.

Viola Davis

Viola’s leading role in the summer smash “The Help” is not the first time her name has received Oscar buzz. She was also nominated for her role as Mrs. Miller in “Doubt” alongside Meryl Streep. If you remember correctly, Viola also played the role of Antwone Fisher’s wayward mother to perfection. Whether you loved or loathed “The Help,” we’re grateful that it gave Davis a chance to, once again, showcase her talents for the world to see. Hopefully this time they’ll go ahead and give her the little gold man she deserves.

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