15 Black Women We Wanted to Be

15 Black Women We Wanted to Be
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 19, 2012

1 of 24

“As a child, the late queen of pop, Whitney Houston, truly was the ‘greatest love of all’ to me. I wanted to be as beautiful, confident, and talented as her. She was a friend in my head. Her music touched my heart and got me on my feet. She was classy with a side of sass and loved by all; she was simply the best. Whitney, you will be missed.” —Charli Penn, ESSENCE.com Relationships Editor

2 of 24

“Yes, she was fictional — but because she was in my living room every Thursday night at 8 p.m., when my entire family would drop everything to huddle together and watch The Cosby Show, Clair was as real to me as anyone. She had it all: an adoring husband and five beautiful kids; a successful career; a Brooklyn brownstone; a classy wardrobe; and a wicked sense of humor.” — Dawnie Walton, ESSENCE.com Managing Editor

3 of 24 Lauryn-Hill.com

“Ms. Hill was only a few years older than me, but she was already everything I wanted to be: beautiful, talented, driven. And, she had the most amazing voice.” —Yolanda Sangweni, ESSENCE.com Entertainment Editor

4 of 24

“I was kind of a nerd and loved to read poetry at an early age. I was introduced to Maya Angelou’s poetry in the fifth grade and immediately I fell in love and wanted to write like her. I think it says a lot about you if you can move a fifth grader.” — Celia Smith, ESSENCE.com Fashion Editor

5 of 24

“I always loved to talk as a child and even though I didn’t yet know that I wanted to become a journalist, I knew I loved watching Oprah do her thing and wanted others to want to open up to me the way they did to her.” —Charli Penn, ESSENCE.com Relationships Editor

6 of 24

“From ‘I Wanna Be Down’ to Moesha, I loved watching Brandy’s career soar when I was a ’tween. Her success made my dreams feel tangible.” — Charlise Ferguson, ESSENCE.com Partnerships Editor

7 of 24

“Sheila E. was such a badass but feminine, plus her hair rocked.” — Cori Murray, ESSENCE Entertainment Director

8 of 24

“I always imagined I’d grow up to be like Khadijah James (far left). Living Single hit the airwaves when I was 7 years old, and I just knew that I’d move to New York, run a magazine, talk about hip-hop for a living, and have a crew of super fly homegirls. I’m 26 and only missing the Editor-In-Chief title.” — Niema Jordan, ESSENCE Editor

9 of 24

“Ruby is utterly amazing. As a young girl I admired her talent, her beauty, and the fact that she was an activist in the Civil Rights movement. I also greatly admired her marriage to Ossie Davis.” —Shakyna Bolden, ESSENCE.com Digital Coordinator

10 of 24

“I wanted to be Denise Huxtable! She had style and sex appeal and was artsy and cool and a non-conformist. I LOVED her. She was my idol.” — Jeannine Amber, ESSENCE Senior Writer

11 of 24

“I wanted to be Diana Ross, mostly because of her glorious hair. I loved wrapping a towel around my head and pretending I was her while singing in the mirror. I would make my sisters the Supremes.” —Ukeme Emem, ESSENCE.com Executive Producer

12 of 24

“As a teenager, I relished seeing Susan L. Taylor’s gorgeous face in the pages of ESSENCE. Her smile and those iconic cornrows made me want to become a part of her ESSENCE universe.” —Yolanda Sangweni, ESSENCE.com Entertainment Editor

13 of 24

“No one could move quite like Ms. Jackson back in the day. I remember watching her videos over and over again so I could master the dance routines. She was, and continues to be, a great inspiration.” —Shakyna Bolden, ESSENCE.com Digital Coordinator

14 of 24

“I loved TLC because they were the epitome of true friendship and sisterhood. They broke boundaries with their music and style, and there was something in each one of them that I could relate to.” —Nicole Marie Melton, ESSENCE.com Associate Editor

15 of 24

“I used songs like ‘Ladies First’ and ‘U.N.I.T.Y’ as an informal manifesto on hip-hop feminism. I loved the Queen’s strength and swagger.” —Yolanda Sangweni, ESSENCE.com Entertainment Editor

16 of 24

Even as tweens Tia and Tamera were fun and ever so fabulous.

17 of 24

“I always imagined I’d grow up to be like Khadijah James. Living Single hit the airwaves when I was 7 years old, and I just knew that I’d move to NY, run a magazine, talk about hip-hop for a living, and have a crew of super fly homegirls. I’m 26 and only missing the EIC title.” — Niema Jordan, ESSENCE editor.

18 of 24

19 of 24

20 of 24

Khadijah Jones

21 of 24 Getty Images

Winnie Mandela

22 of 24

23 of 24

“Yes, she was fictional — but because she was in my living room every Thursday night at 8 p.m., when my entire family would drop everything to huddle together and watch The Cosby Show, Clair was as real to me as anyone. She had it all: an adoring husband and five beautiful kids; a successful career; a Brooklyn brownstone; a classy wardrobe; and a wicked sense of humor.” — Dawnie Walton, ESSENCE.com Managing Editor

24 of 24