9) Ntozake Shange: Poet, playwright, novelist
Best known for: “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf,” “Liliane”
Why we love her: Long before Madea even knew who she was, Shange’s epic choreopoem was a Broadway hit for its remarkable ability to capture so many facets of black female life. The original “For Colored Girls” didn’t simply focus on the painful parts of our existence, but also depicted our joy, our triumphs and our resilience. She released a new novel- “Some Sing, Some Cry,” with her sister Ifa Bayeza last year.
Noteable quotable: “When I die, I will not be guilty of having left a generation of girls behind thinking that anyone can tend to their emotional health other than themselves.”