40 Reasons to Love Being a Black Woman

40 Reasons To Love Being a Black Woman in 2010

It’s good to be a Black woman. We are the sassiest, most creative and unique women around. Look at the world we live in. In almost every sector of our lives, from entertainment to politics, there are Black women paving ahead and changing the way we are seen by the world.In 2010, we continued pushing forward. Whether breaking boundaries in politics (California attorney-general Kamala Harris), building beauty empires (Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter), or making our voices heard on social media, we were a optimistic bunch this year. Here are 40 Reasons to love being a Black woman.

Black Women Ruled Social Networks

This year Black women became the top users of Twitter, guaranteeing that we would be leading the conversations on social networks.

Mo’Nique Won an Oscar

Mo’nique took home an Oscar for “Precious,” hosted her own late-night talk show and proved that she was a media powerhouse.

Rihanna Rocked Out

Love it or hate it, Rihanna followed the beat of her own drum this year. With her flaming red hair and brazen attitude, she dared to venture into euro-dance music and stake her claim as the princess of pop!

Nicki Minaj Ruled the Game

Nicki Minaj proved that the era of the female MC is nowhere near over. Her debut album “Pink Friday” went gold just a month after its release, and she launched her own MAC lipstick.

Beyonce Led the Way

Beyonce won six Grammys and her “I am…" world tour grossed $103 million, showing us that it takes passion and a lot of hard work and dedication to get to the top.

Mary J. Blige Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

This year the Yonkers’ native made history when she sold her fragrance on the Home Shopping Network — moving some 50,000 bottles and grossing $2.7 million in one weekend.Blige has also dedicated herself to helping young women of color reach their individual potential through her charity, Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now, Inc. (FFAWN). She also launched her own line of eyeglasses. Blige’s entrepreneurial spirit keeps us energized.

Black Women Fought Back

Despite the varied media reports telling Black women that we would die single and lonely, on comments boards and blogs, Black women fiercely challenged this notion.

Oprah Made a Graceful Exit

Oprah bowed out of daytime talk with one of the most memorable final seasons ever. She was also the only African-American on the Forbes Billionaire List. Oprah’s resilience and compassion is enough to inspire Black women for generations to come.

Michelle Obama Campaigned for Children

Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity is a much-needed one. Her grace and style are a lovely change from stuffy Washington politics. And can we ever explain the pride we get seeing our image reflected back to us in the White House?

Solange Went Natural

Solange and fellow songstress Chrisette Michele’s short natural ‘do was so chic, it had half of Black Hollywood tossing their extensions.Away from the spotlight, more Black women took the leap to natural this year, starting a movement filled with pride. In case you’re in need of a reminder, Black is beautiful!

Halle Berry Held it Down

Halle Berry is a beacon for single moms everywhere… almost every time we saw her this year, she was spending quality time with Nahla… and looking fierce.

LaLa and Carmelo Tied the Knot

LaLa Vasquez and Carmelo Anthony finally walked down the aisle, assuring unwed mothers everywhere that even if the wedding came after the baby carriage, a beautiful union is what matters most.Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and T.I. also tied the knot years after having two children together.

Iman Showed Us What Fabulous Looks Like

Iman gave us fierce and fabulous all year, from keeping it real about her “Bowie Budget” and getting fit with the IntenSati workout to launching a new reality TV show “The Fashion Show” and gracing the 40th Anniversary cover of ESSENCE Magazine. The 55-year-old supermodel and cosmetics mogul continues to be our muse.

NeNe Leakes was Bold and Beautiful

From admitting to having had plastic surgery to keeping it “real” when so much about reality television isn’t, NeNe Leakes is the opinionated sister we’d all love to have in our corner.

Brandy Was a Champion

Win or lose, Brandy was a champion on “Dancing with the Stars” this year. She also made a comeback with her own reality show, “Brandy and Ray-J: Family Matters” on VH1.

Kamala Harris became California’s First Black Attorney General.

Six years after becoming San Francisco’s first Black woman District Attorney General, this year Kamala Harris won her bid to become California’s first Black Attorney General.

Alicia Keys Gave Back

Alicia Keys had a great year, from tying the knot with producer Swizz Beatz, to giving birth to her first child. One thing we’ll remember most about her in 2010 was her dedication to HIV/AIDS awareness.This year the Grammy-winning songstress hosted her annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball fundraiser, and launched a Digital Death campaign that raised $2 million for HIV/AIDS awareness. Kudos to Alicia for giving back.

Jada Pinkett Smith Was a Fierce and Fab Mom

Jada Pinkett Smith returned for a successful second season of “HawthoRNe.” And when she wasn’t being an executive producer to the show, Jada was grooming her children Jade, 12, and Willow, 10, for success, showing us all what a fierce and fab mom looks like.

Aretha Franklin Recovered

The Queen of Soul had a few health setbacks this year, yet she remained optimistic. “I feel great,” she told JET. “The doctors say I can do whatever I feel like I am up to do. Of course, that doesn’t mean any concerts or anything like that. But I can do things around the house, and today I am just piddling around the house.” Get well soon Aretha!

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Fantasia Made it Through the Storm

Despite a broken heart and suicide attempt, Fantasia survived the storm and produced one of her best albums, earning her two Grammy nominations. Go ‘Tasia!

Shingai Shoniwa Celebrated Her Uniqueness

British singer Shingai Shoniwa and her U.S. counterpart, Janelle Monae, continue to show us that there are many different types of Black women in the world. We love them being their authentic selves.

Monica Made Her Comeback

Monica’s never been shy about how difficult the past few years have been for her. Lucky for music lovers, the Hotlanta native returned to the charts more passionate and resilient. And it worked. Her album “Still Standing” was nominated for two Grammys.

Soledad O’Brien Asserted Her Blackness

Soledad O’Brien stood up for her right to be Black. In her new book, “The Next Big Story,” O’Brien recalls an off-air exchange with Rev. Jesse Jackson in which he told her “didn’t count” as a Black anchor on CNN.The daughter of an Afro-Latino mother and a White father, O’Brien wrote, “I wasn’t sure what that meant. I don’t count — what? I’m not black? I’m not black enough?”

Joan Small Became the Face of Estee Lauder

This year Puerto Rican-born model Joan Small became the second Black model to become the face of beauty giant, Estee Lauder. The first wasEthiopian supermodel Liya Kebede.

Sade Came Back to Us

Known for her smooth vocals the British and Nigerian singer songwriter dropped another classic album this year with “Soldier of Love,” after taking an eight-year-long break. It could take a lifetime for Sade to release another record and we wouldn’t mind waiting.

Katherine Jackson Kept the Family Together

Nothing compares to a mother’s love. In 2010 Katherine Jackson made it very clear that she wanted justice for her son Michael Jackson’s death, filing court cases while looking after the late pop icon’s three children and managing his estate.

Terry McMillan Returned to ‘Happy’

Author Terry McMillan got her groove back by writing “Getting to Happy,” a sequel to “Waiting to Exhale.” It was great reuniting with our favorite characters, Bernadine, Robin, Savannah and Gloria.

Sylvia Rhone Had Everyone Listening

Besides being the first Black woman to head a major record company (Elektra) music industry veteran Sylvia Rhone proved she had tremendous staying power by leading the label with three of the most successful artists of 2010 — Nicki Minaj, Drake and Taylor Swift.

For Colored Girls Cast Inspired Us

The cast of “For Colored Girls” acted their hearts out, inspiring Black women the world over.

Shirley Sherrod Stood Up for Herself

On July 19, 2010, former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign over false claims of racism. A champion for civil rights, Sherrod stood up for herself, appearing on nearly every major talk show to tell her side of the story. Sherrod’s commitment to the truth got her an apology from the White House and an offer to restore her job.

Helena Andrews is the New Voice of Young Black Women

Helena Andrews certainly turned heads this year as she published “Bitch is the New Black.” The witty memoir’s title many have landed her in hot water with a few critics, but it also ushered a new voice for young educated Black women.

Lisa Price Grew Her Beauty Empire

The founder of Carol’s Daughter had a great year. The hair care emperess had some of the best selling products of 2010. And just think, it all started in her Brooklyn kitchen.

Roslyn Brock Led the NAACP

This year the NAACP elected Roslyn M. Brock as the chairman of the Board of Directors. At 44, she became the youngest woman to ever lead the NAACP.

Black Teens Were More Optimistic

40 is the New 30

Like ESSENCE, some of our favorite celebs turned 40 this year, and boy did they make it look fabulous. Naomi Campbell, Taraji P. Henson, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Regina Hall, Nia Long, Aisha Tyler, Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, and Nicole Ari Parker all turned the big 4-0 in 2010.

Gabourey Sidibe Triumphed

Lots of people, including shock jock Howard Stern, said actress Gabourey Sidibe woud never find work after “Precious” because of her weight. Gabby prevailed, hosting “Saturday Night Live,” starring on Showtime’s “The Big C” and working on two major films to be released in 2011. Take that, Howard Stern!

We Rely on Our Faith

For our 40th Anniversary, ESSENCE partnered with a leading market research firm and find out how Black women viewed their spiritual life. Here’s what we found:*71 percent of Black women rely on their faith as their primary sources of optimism for the future.*70 percent of Black women identfy themselves as spiritual, while 56 percent identify as religious.

We Love Ourselves

For our 40th Anniversary, ESSENCE partnered with a leading market research firm to find out how Black women see themselves. Here’s what we found:65 percentof Black women say they have a lot of self-confidence.70 percentof Black women agree with the statement, “I am happy with who I am.”*55 percentof Black women say they are sexy.