If you were ever in need of inspiring stories to fill your cup in 2015, these Black women provided them. Here are 25 reasons it felt oh-so-good to be a Black woman in 2015.
Davis made history when she became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,” Davis said in her acceptance speech, quoting Harriet Tubman.
In June, the beloved ballerina was promoted to principal dancer by American Ballet Theatre, making her the first African-American female principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history.
The Angolan supermodel hit the Victoria’s Secret fashion show runway sporting a TWA. It was the first time she wore her natural curls. “I was nervous, but I had to do it. When they said ‘yes’ I didn’t expect it, but I was so happy!”she told ESSENCE.
This year, Serena Williams won her 20th Grand Slam title, making her the first woman to win three straight majors since HERSELF during her famed Serena Slam in 2002. The win was among many Serena achievements in 2015.
In April, the Greensboro, North Carolina native was confirmed as the country’s top lawyer, making her the first Black woman to hold the position. Lynch was nominated by President Obama.
After a performance we won’t soon forget at the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, Missy blessed the world with new music and video for “WTF (Where They From).” Welcome back, Missy!
In June, Newsome and James Ian Tyson scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state Capitol to cut down the Confederate flag. “Oftentimes the work of Black women has gotten erased from the civil rights struggle,” Newsome told ESSENCE. “We thought that a Black woman would be a very strong symbol.”
This year, Stenberg has made headlines for her brilliant responses to cultural appropriation and other issues facing Black women. “What would America be like if it loved Black people as much as it loves Black culture?” the 16-year-old actress and comic book creator wondered in an interview with ESSENCE.
Latiker is the founder of Kids Off the Block (KOB), a privately funded nonprofit that provides low-income, at-risk youth with after-school, recreational and employment opportunities. Since starting KOB nearly 13 years ago, Latiker, a 58-year-old mother of eight and grandmother of 15, has given more than 2,000 Chicago kids access to resources that have helped them avoid gangs and saved their lives.
Taraji P. Henson owned 2015, thanks to her role as Cookie on Empire. Not only did she make Cookie an iconic character, she earned herself her first Emmy nomination. Cheers to Taraji!
This year, the South African businesswoman became the first Black woman to launch her own airline. Fly Blue Crane only flys within South Africa, but there plans to expand routes to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Chicago Theological Seminary student helped develop Project “Respond With Love,” an initiative that crowdfunded more than $110,470 to help rebuild the eight southern Black churches that were burned after the Emanuel AME Church shooting.
She’s back! The legendary singer returned in 2015. Her Unbreakable album debuted at the top of the charts, landing her her seventh No. 1 album. Only two other female artists (Barbara Streisand and Madonna) have as many No. 1 albums.
The billionaire mogul bought a 10 percent share into Weight Watchers in October and the company’s stock immediately more than doubled, making Oprah a reported $70 million in one day.
From making history as the first Black female director nominated for a Golden Globe to Mattel creating a Barbie in her honor and the numerous projects in between, there’s no denying that Ava DuVernay has had a phenomenal year.
Earlier this year, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appointed 25-year-old Symone Sanders, an outspoken #BlackLivesMatter activist, as his national press secretary. Here are 6 things to know about Sanders.
In July, ESSENCE launched our very own beauty box, a subscription service, curated by our trusted beauty experts, and created for women of color.
Aired during the Emmys, this Ava DuVernay Apple Music commercial featuring Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington bonding over music and mixtapes was literally everything. It was like watching ourselves with our girlfriends.
We all cheered when one of our favorite actresses, Regina King, won her first Emmy award after years of memorable roles on TV. King won for playing Aliyah Shaheed in American Crime.
NBA player Steph Curry’s 3-year-old daughter Riley stole the nation’s heart during the NBA playoffs when she repeatedly interrupted his post-game press conference in the most adorable way, singing “Blessings” by Big Sean and Drake. We can’t stop cheering for the Curry family.
Haben Girma became the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School in 2013. This year, the world got to know her story after she met with President Obama at the White House for a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This year, 25-year-old Twitty was appointed associate judge in Easley, South Carolina, making her the youngest judge in the city.