4)Pearl Cleage: Playwright, fiction writer, journalist, poet
Best known for: “Flyin’ West,” “What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day,” ” Wish I Had A Red Dress,” “Baby Brother’s Blues”
Why we love her: When the writer of “Flyin West” (1994’s most produced new American play) decided to give novel writing a try, she hit a home run with 1997’s “What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day.” The book, a selection of Oprah’s Book Club, spent nine-weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list . Cleage has since gone on to release five subsequent novels and her signature wit and doting portrayal of black life have charmed audiences across the globe.
Notable quotable: “Discomfort is always a necessary part of enlightenment.” (From What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day)