12 African-American women making history right now
We're sure you know that February is Black History Month. But do you know about all the amazing women of color who are making history right now? From athletes and politicians to singers and activists, these women are all changing history in the most amazing ways possible. Check out these game-changing ladies—some likely familiar to you, some not—and let them inspire you today and everyday.
Aka Queen Bey, Beyoncé is one of the most well-loved artists in pop culture right now. She dominated 2016 with her album Lemonade, and shocked us all with her powerful performance during last year's Super Bowl. She's sold over 17.2 million albums and won 20 Grammys (20!)—oh, and she has nine more nominations (the most by any female artist ever) at Sunday's 2017 Grammy Awards. Slay.
Jeanette J. Epps
Every little kid’s dream job at one point or another is to be an astronaut, but for Jeanette J. Epps this dream is coming true. After being selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 2009, she will finally go on her first mission in May of 2018 and become the first African-American crew member on the International Space Station.
Let’s be honest, there is no other First Lady who compares to former FLOTUS Michelle Obama. From her incredible fashion sense to her strong health and equality advocacy, we have loved Michelle for over eight years and counting. She is also a lawyer with degrees from Harvard Law and Princeton, so though she won't run for president, Michelle will never be known as just FLOTUS.
After becoming the first female Attorney General of California in 2010, this past election led to Kamala Harris becoming the second African-American woman to serve as a senator for the state of California. Her popularity among voters has even led to her being suggested as the first female President as she continues to fight for equality and justice for all.
It’s almost impossible to have not heard of professional tennis player Serena Williams this year, especially after she made history at the 2017 Australian Open. After beating her older sister, Venus Williams, in the Grand Slam title match, Serena now holds the most number of Grand Slam title wins during the Open Era over any other athlete (male *or* female).
Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors
Behind one of the most influential and powerful recent social justice movements, Black Lives Matter, are co-founders Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors. These three women created this movement in 2013 and continue with their fight to end racial injustices committed against African-Americans to this day.
The first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globe Awards, Ava DuVernay, is a director and screenwriter with amazing work to her name. Ava directed the acclaimed movie Selma about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Netflix documentary, 13th, about the history of racial inequality. Ava will also be directing the 2018 movie A Wrinkle in Time.
In 2007, Val Demings made history when she became the first female chief of police in Orlando, Fla. and decreased the department's crime rate by 40 percent. After retiring from police work in 2011, Val decided to run for Congress and won in the 2016 election. Val now serves as a member of the House of Representatives for the state of Florida.
We have all heard of at least one of Shonda Rhimes' shows (*ahem* Grey’s Anatomy), and with the addition of a *fifth* show to her on-air roster, TV just got a whole lot better. Not only is she an award-winning director/producer/writer of movies and TV shows, but she is also a bestselling author. NBD!
Lisa Blunt Rochester
Last but not least, another first: Lisa Blunt Rochester is not just the first female of color to represent the state of Delaware in Congress, but she is the first woman *period* to do so. Despite her family's political history, Lisa never had dreams of running for office. But after tragic events in her life, she decided that she wanted to help those who were affected by some type of loss (family, friend, job, home) in their life.
Which women inspire you during Black History month? Why? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo credit: Team USA.