25 Reasons Black Women Rocked in 2011

25 reasons To Love Black Women in 2011
ESSENCE.COM Dec, 05, 2011

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Oprah left the limelight of her talk show to launch OWN Network, making her the second African-American woman to head a cable network. The first is Cathy Hughes. In 2011 she also received an honorary Oscar for her philanthropic work.

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On top of working against childhood obesity, this year Mrs. Obama extended her services military families by launching the ‘Joining Forces’ initiative to raise awareness about their unique needs. She also traveled to South Africa where she met with Nelson Mandela.

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Natural hair dominated the scene this year, as everyone from celebrities to co-workers left the perm behind and opted to show pride in their tresses!

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Comedian Wanda Sykes joins the millions of Black women who affected by breast cancer. Luckily she survived after undergoing a double mastectomy. Wanda, you are an exemplar of strength.

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Rihanna is well on her way to being perhaps the most popular artist of our time. She recently broke Madonna’s record by earning her 20th top 10 single with “We Found Love” in just six short years. That’s a lot music! Madonna’s record was six years and nine months.

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Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberian presdient Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became the third and fourth Black women to win a Nobel Peace Prize for their work in the “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

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The outspoken rapper has had a great year. Honored as a Rising Star by Billboard, nominated for three Grammy awards, and now with her very own Barbie Doll, Nicki has won it big this year!

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Face it, the TV screen loves us! There have been nine reality shows based around Black women in 2011 including ‘Braxton Family Values’ on WeTV. No matter what you think about reality shows — and we’ll admit some shows leave little to be proud of — we’re definitely tuning in to see ourselves.

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Black women are ”three times as likely as Caucasian women to rate themselves at the ‘hot’ end of the spectrum" according to a recent survey by Allure Magazine. Sisters, say it with us now: “We love being Black women!”

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This year the singer made enormous leaps outside of her music. Aside from taking care of her son with hubby Swizz Beatz, the singer directed two documentaries – “Keep a Child Away” & “FIVE”, a Broadway play -“Stick Fly”, and starred in a new movie. We don’t know how she does it.

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Emmy nominated TV producer Shonda Rhimes has successfully sold four television shows this year. Already responsible for long-running hits like “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Private Practice,” Rhimes adds “Scandal” and “Wildwood” on Fox.

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What would the music scene be without Mary J Blige? The Queen of Soul released her long-awaited album, “My Life II: The Saga Continues.”

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The Angolan became the fourth Black woman to win the title.

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This was definitely Ledisi’s year. Besides launching her first solo tour, the singer snagged three Grammy Awards. Go Leds!

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Monica and Shannon Brown tied the knot this year, and we just have to say congrats to our girl. Your love is beautiful!

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Jill Scott released two albums this year! Her latest one, "Light of the Sun,’ was her first number one album on the Billboard charts! Not to mention her phenomenal weight-loss! She looks amazing!

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Viola Davis has had a phenomenal year! One of our ESSENCE cover stars, she adopted a child, and could potentially be getting an Oscar nod for her role in “The Help.”

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This year Tyra took things to next level by enrolling at Harvard Business School, and releasing her first novel, “Modelland,” a New York Times bestseller.

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The hilarious and down-to-earth Tasha Smith was our December cover star. Her year has been filled with highlights, including her movie, “Why Did I Get Married Too?” and her new show on TBS, “For Better or Worse.”

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Beyonce was all anyone talked about this year. Her latest album, ‘4’, went straight to the top of the charts, she performed four intimate nights at at Roseland, and gave birth to her first child, Blue Ivy Carter.

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The tennis star is the prime example of survival. After overcoming a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in her lungs, the tennis champ has recovered gracefully. She was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

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Love her or hate her, NeNe Leakes has given us plenty of laughs on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and has stepped out on her own with other ventures. She now is a restauranteur and has created her own Miss Moscato wine.

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The sultry diva has finally shed her sweet girl image and sizzles with songs like “Motivation” and “Lay it On Me.” Not to mention she is also a judge on X-Factor UK!

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Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King will be hosting their her own morning show, “The Early Show,” with PBS TV host Charlie Rose!

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This year T-Boz admitted to having a brain tumor removed. The singer, who also suffers from sickle cell anemia, is a prime example of strong woman overcoming unfortunate circumstances.

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Viola Davis has had a phenomenal year! One of our ESSENCE cover stars, she adopted a child, and could potentially be getting an Oscar nod for her role in “The Help.”

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What would the music scene be without Mary J Blige? The Queen of Soul released her long-awaited album, “My Life II: The Saga Continues.”

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The hilarious and down-to-earth Tasha Smith was our December cover star. Her year has been filled with highlights, including her movie, “Why Did I Get Married Too?” and her new show on TBS, “For Better or Worse.”

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Emmy nominated TV producer Shonda Rhimes has successfully sold four television shows this year. Already responsible for long-running hits like “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Private Practice,” Rhimes adds “Scandal” and “Wildwood” on Fox.

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Beyonce was all anyone talked about this year. Her latest album, ‘4’, went straight to the top of the charts, she performed four intimate nights at at Roseland, and her biggest announcement of all, she and hubby Jay-Z are expecting their first child.

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Niecy Nash had a surreal year this time around, the “Clean House” star shed some pounds, starred in her own reality show, and got hitched on national TV!

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Whitney is back! The coveted singer is back and soon to be on screen again after filming the remake of “Sparkle.”

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Love her or hate her, NeNe Leakes has given us plenty of laughs on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and has stepped out on her own with other ventures. She now is a restauranteur and has created her own Miss Moscato wine.

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Rihanna has been cranking out good music for the past few years, but this year has been phenomenal for the pop singer, who has rocketed to the top of the chart with numerous #1 singles putting her in the ranks of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston!

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The tennis star is the prime example of survival. After overcoming a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in her lungs, the tennis champ has recovered gracefully. She was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

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Alicia Keys has made enormous leaps outside of her music. Aside from taking care of her son with hubby Swizz Beatz, the singer has directed two documentaries – “Keep a Child Away” & “FIVE”, a Broadway play -“Stick Fly”, and starred in a new movie.

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The sultry diva has finally shed her sweet girl image and sizzles with songs like “Motivation” and “Lay it On Me.” Not to mention she is also a judge on X-Factor UK!

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Ecletic songstress Lauryn Hill has had a banner year! She gave birth to her sixth child earlier this summer, as well as was reunited with former bandmate Pras at Rock the Bells. She has been seen around town rocking the house at different venues!