ESSENCE Poll: Who Was the Most Influential Black Woman of the Year?
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc

This year Black women continued to break the mold and set the standard for excellence. 

We all watched with tears in our eyes as Viola Davis accepted her Emmy Award and became a sounding board for Black women everywhere when she proclaimed that the only thing separating us from anyone else is opportunity. 

We’ve witnessed Michelle Obama gracefully lead our country during her last term as the First Lady of the United States of America.

We were elated to see Misty Copeland gracefully dance her way into history, becoming the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the American Ballet Theater.

Loading the player...

We rooted for Serena Williams as she competed for the Grand Slam, commended Marilyn Mosby as she stood up for what was right when it came to Baltimore unrest and the Freddie Gray case, tweeted along with #BlackLivesMatter leader Alicia Garza and watched every second of Shonda Rhimes’ Thursday TV takeover. 

In 2015 these women and so many more made us think, cry tears of joy, laugh and most of all, they made us proud. 

So, who do you think was the most influential Black woman of the year? The staff has included their picks below. Let us know who you think we missed!

[poll id=821806]