Nine People Every Black Woman Should Know: Claudette Colvin to Sloane Stephens

July 12, 2013  |  
1 of 10

Today, in almost every field, there are black people. Sure, we probably won’t completely break into the macro black hair business and the food retail and distribution business for a while (what’s up with that?!), but we are everywhere we can be for now. In order to keep moving forward, we will have to feel empowered as individuals. The following nine people from the past and present have powerful personas.

Claudette Colvin

is arguably the most humble activist in recorded U.S. history. As a teen, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation. Until recent history, Colvin’s resistance, which preceded Rosa Parks’ arrest by nine months, has not been publicized apparently due to her unwed pregnancy. This year the People’s Organization for Progress honored Colvin in Newark, NJ, thanking her for an unsung commitment to civil rights.

Malcolm Gladwell

has written three stellar books, and perhaps there have never been books about such dynamic topics packaged in such cultural language. If you want to know how America is growing and changing from a genuine perspective, read Gladwell. Also, he’s as much part of the hair revolution as any natural-haired black woman.

Rye Rye

is a Baltimore rapper with indie swag. She possesses some of the cooler attributes of Nicki Minaj—fun with color and funny lyrics—with a sweet face that makes her choice of profession somewhat ironic. She looks like an R&B group member from the ‘90s, but her lyrics are raw and fresh. Let’s hope she rises to fame, maturing without ego tripping.

Melissa Harris-Perry

hosts her own show on MSNBC, and many women and people of color find her show to be a place for truth. Her book Sister-Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America may be a major way that black women of various backgrounds can come together and assert a collective power against harmful policies and perspectives.

Kimberly Bryant

founded Black Girls Code to expose computer programming to a population that is often bypassed. Through workshops and programs, Bryant sets out to prove that girls of color can be the programmers of tomorrow. Not only is Black Girls Code an educational endeavor, but it also has huge retail potential, selling designs that hail back to Angela Davis’s famous ‘fro.

Ava DuVernay’s

films have a following as quiet and magnetic as her films. She is one of the latest black female directors to achieve success in terms of critical praise for her films, and growing media attention to the problem of financing black stories. A much different filmmaker than Tyler Perry, DuVernay seems to know the humbling side of Hollywood in a way that makes her work secure in its own brand of story-telling.

Caroline Myss

has been featured on OWN’s Super Sunday. She is a spiritual teacher and her lessons are a strong supplement to religious books, and are very effective faith books in their own right. She is a super source of wisdom, possessing an incredible gift to say what few are willing to say: stop being a victim.

Joel Augustus Rogers

wrote From ‘Superman’ to Man, a book that presents the pseudo-science and social consequences of race so personally that it becomes a bit humorous to listen to today’s myopic, racial conversations. His is a brilliant, brilliant mind to travel through.

Sloane Stephens

is a budding tennis star ranked no. 17 by the WTA. Her relationship with 16-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has been in the news lately, but truly their on-and-off drama should be diminished by the fact that there are so few top American tennis stars. Stephens seems to have the tools today’s game requires, variety and power; however, the tool of consistent serving still remains firmly on Serena’s racket.

Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN