Updated: Apr 12, 2022
When I think about the future of Black girls, I do so with optimism because of the changemakers, trendsetters, and professional baddies clearing the way and expanding the range of what it looks like to be successful, authentic, and a champion for other Black women. It is for that reason that on this International Women’s Day, I am celebrating 7 inspiring Black Women making history and uplifting our girls with their brilliance, inspiration, and authenticity, inside and outside of their crafts:
Michela Cole is widely known for being a writer, actress, and the award-winning creator (and star) of Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, but not as many people know just how much of a multitalented force she is. In addition to the work she’s done on screen, she is also a talented musician and poet. She has been vocal about her personal experience being sexually assaulted in 2016 and has done phenomenal work in creatively highlighting the multilayered societal and legal issues around sexual assault and rape culture in I May Destroy You, for which she made history as the first Black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. If turning your pain into purpose was a person, well, you know the rest!
Lindsey Granger is a journalist, writer, and producer. She is currently a host on a nationally syndicated talk show, The Daily Blast, and CEO of her own production company, Lindsey Granger Productions. You may have seen the viral videos of her boldly challenging racist rhetoric and acts of violence against members of the Black community. We not only love that she is uncompromising and passionate in bringing the facts in response to current events, but that she does so with style. Whether she’s rocking cornrows, box braids, a high bun, or a silk press, her presentation never disappoints. She expertly balances her hardcore journalistic ability, with her fun, relatable, and down-to-earth personality—inspiring Black girls to be bold and brave.
London Breed is making history as San Francisco’s first Black female mayor. Whether she does it sporting curly hair, straight hair or locs, she is determined to fight for the dignity and well-being of those experiencing poverty and homelessness. Having been raised in poverty in San Francisco herself, she has the lived experience to make a meaningful impact. She’s a living and breathing embodiment of the mantra that guides so many of us: “If you don’t like it, change it.”
Natasha Mayne, affectionately dubbed "The Vogue Attorney,” is a Florida-based attorney that uses her platform to call others to greatness. To that end, she is also the founder of Natasha Mayne, Inc., a consulting firm, focusing on empowerment. While her eclectic and impeccable fashion sense may reel you in, it is her inspirational wisdom, encouraging words, and unshakable confidence that keeps us coming back for more. This Jamaican-American divorce attorney makes no apologies for knowing and showing that she is a badass in the courtroom and the world is her runway. Her accomplishments include winning “Best Overall Advocate” at the prestigious Florida Bar Trial Competition, receiving the National Order of Barristers Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy, and inspiring legions of women to be audacious, non-traditional, authentically themselves, even in traditional white-male dominated professions.
Jasmine Mans is a Newark, NJ born and raised poet and author of Black Girl, Call Home—"a love letter to the wandering Black girl and vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.” Through her poetry, she has shared reflections on the experience of being a queer Black woman. Not only does her powerful storytelling and poetry honor and celebrate Black girlhood/Black womanhood but her products donning phrases like “buy weed from women” and “stop stealing art from Black girls” proudly and publicly uplift Black women at the margins of our community.
Melissa Ward is making history as the first African-American female captain for a major U.S. carrier. Captain M'Lis Ward is also a former USC women’s basketball championship player. Being a pioneer is also the legacy of her mother who was the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Chicago medical school. Having that kind of role model, it comes as no surprise that she is breaking barriers to inspire young girls to enter and thrive in predominantly male-dominated spaces. She hopes that other young women will aspire to become pilots. The opportunities are ripe with the industry facing a pilot shortage. I don’t know about you but I would love to greet a Black female pilot—in the loving way that we do—on my next vacation. Hey, we see you, sis!
Yrsa-Daley Ward is a Nigerian-Jamaican Author & Poet born and raised in England. Her powerful, inspirational narrative poetry books have garnered her much acclaim but her co-writing Beyonce’s Black Is King has made her more of a household name in the United States. Through her poetry books, including her memoir, The Terrible, one of the most powerful Black coming of age stories earning the PEN/Ackerley Prize, she has highlighted societal issues surrounding trauma and sexual assault. Now, she is inspiring readers to engage in the practice of getting to know their authentic and most intimate selves and focus on self-worth and healing through her latest book, The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself.
With these women and more embodying the change they desire to see, challenging convention, and sharing their authentic voices with the world, we are sure to see a new generation of intelligent, confident, and self-assured Black girls choosing to pursue and dominate in their chosen career paths even if they do not see their personalities, style, or image represented. We are not white men (or women), we are not a monolith, and we won’t pretend to be for the comfort of anyone. We are a force of unique measure, unyielding in our demand that the world expands to receive us. Shrinking to fit in is not an item on Black women’s agenda. Meeting adjourned.
For more in the way of Black girl coming-of-age stories, check out my inspirational narrative poetry book online, Home For Hurricanes: A Memoir of Resilience in Poetry and Prose.
If you are looking for an experienced woman of color or Black motivational speaker to inspire your audience to action, request Monique Y. Murphy.
Monique is the award-winning author of Home For Hurricanes, and a passionate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and Motivational Speaker and Leader in New York. She speaks about diversity, equity & inclusion, career, and resilience, customizing the content and experience to meet the desired outcomes of her clients.
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