The beauty industry reached new heights in 2016, thanks to a subset of creatives who weren’t afraid to amplify images of Black girl magic. Whether it was a makeup tutorial that forced us to rethink the power of makeup, a collective of women displaying various shades of melanin or a photographer who styled afros like no other, we never grew bored with seeing these groundbreaking moments take over our social feeds.

Take a look back at seven of our favorites: 

1. Deshauna Barber is crowned Miss USA 2016

Getty Images

In June 2016, the Washington D.C. native made headlines for her triumph as the newly crowned Miss USA. Her winning combination of smarts and Black girl magic reminded us that beauty is more than skin deep. 

“To me confidently beautiful means it’s not always about your appearance,” Barber stated during the annual competition. “Serving in the military has taught me that being confidently beautiful is about being able to earn respect from people regardless of what you look like.”

And just like that, Barber became one of our favorite she-roes. 

2. Mushiya Designs A Doll With Our Hair Texture

Mushiya Tshikuka, host of WEtv reality show Cutting It In the ATL, won the holiday season when she unveiled “My Natural Doll,” a little girl adorned in beautiful brown skin, ankara clothing and 100% textured virgin hair. By utilizing the latter, little ones are able to style their doll without the worry of its mane becoming matted and tangled. 

“In a world where the dolls we play with and the role models we see shapes our perception of beauty and our self-confidence, it is important that our little girls are constantly exposed to a reflection of themselves — beautiful dark skin and kinky hair like that which grows out of their own head,” reads the doll’s description. You can still purchase it on the Runway Curls website. 

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3. The Emergence of One Melanin Goddess

Model and influencer Khoudia Diop captured the Internet’s attention this year with her confidence and pride as a woman with beautiful brown skin.

We’ve loved watching her sprinkle Black girl magic in breathtaking photo shoots and look forward to whatever slayage she brings in 2017. 

Black as Night!! ✊🏿

A photo posted by Khoudia Diop (@melaniin.goddess) on

4. The Colored Girl Project

Joey Rosado/ @islandboiphotography

Two women are working to reclaim beauty for the Black woman through their self-love campaign, "The Colored Girl Project." In their freshman campaign, ten Black women from different walks of life were selected through social media to celebrate and showcase the different aspects of beauty as it pertains to the Black woman. Shot by popular photographer, Joey Rosado, the results are the perfect combination of Black Girl Magic and Queendom all wrapped up in one! Meet the freshman class of the The Colored Girl(s).

This summer,Tori Elizabeth and Victory Jones made waves with their self-love campaign, established to celebrate all forms of Black beauty. 

“I found 10 models on social media. I wanted women from different social and cultural backgrounds,” Elizabeth told ESSENCE. “I wanted women with angular eyes, women with freckles and fair skin and women with really rich, ebony skin. It’s so important to be proud of who we are and showcase the beauty of Blackness.”

We couldn’t get enough of this queendom and thankfully, they’ve unveiled more Black girl magic since the initial reveal.

Here’s to more greatness in 2017!

5. The Afro Bloomin’ Project


Spring blooming!

In March, “hair goals” reached new levels when photographer and blogger Dazhane Leah blended flowers and afros for an epic photo series on Instagram. By putting the spotlight on natural hair, this innovative project effortlessly motivated us to embrace our own textures. 


Roses are red...

“The point of the project wasn’t to discriminate against other races but to be unapologetic and celebrate black lives through everything that is who we are,” Leah stated in an interview with Mashable

Mission accomplished!

6. Shalom Nchom Displays The Real Power Of Makeup


The 20 year old burn survivor captured our hearts when she revealed how makeup helped her to overcome the bullying she experienced as a child. “I’m happy because I love myself,” says the inspirational beauty guru in a now viral video, where she applies makeup to half her face. 

As cliche as it is, Nchom is a reminder that true beauty starts from within. 

7. The “Moshoodat” Photo Series

Island Boi Photography

"Ubuntu: I am what I am because of who we all are." Model: Ericka Hart

We couldn’t look away from makeup artist and art director’s Moshoodat Sanni’s breathtaking photo series, launched in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Model Ericka Hart (above) garnered the most praise, for proudly displaying her body after surviving the deadly disease. 

Island Boi Photography

"Don't touch my hair." Model: Danielle Desiree

“I created this project because I’ve always wanted women of color to see the light and the magic we carry! I want women of color to be looked at on a high pedestal,” says Sanni of the project. We’re still obsessed! 

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