In honor of Women’s History Month and #FlyGirlFriday, I have complied a list celebrating the color barriers just a few black women entertainers have been able to break through. As much work and progress there still needs to be done, for the sake of all the phenomenal women who have graced our televisions, movie screens, magazine covers, etc. let’s bask in their greatness. Whenever I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed with life; you know being a woman, being of color, and trying to be great in a world that thinks you are invisible, I like to watch entertainment where black women dominate the f*ck out of their roles and appreciate their talents (but mostly cry at their graciousness). So, with out further do, enjoy.
Halle Berry: First Black Actress to receive an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball, 2002.
Clearly from her reaction, she knew how big of a deal this moment was, not just for her, but for black actresses before and after her.
Taraji P. Henson: Becomes 3rd black woman to win Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a TV drama series, 2016.
Straight up, Taraji is the epitome of womanhood goals.
Beyonce: First black female ARTIST to grace the cover of Vogue, 2015.
And she brought Blu Ivy along. Beyonce, I’m going to let you finish but Blu Ivy had the best picture…like forreal.
Angela Bassett: First Black Actress to take home a Golden Globe award for Best Actress a Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical, for her role as Tina in What’s Love Got To Do With It, 1994.
Three words: BLACK DON’T CRACK!
Viola Davis: First African-American woman to ever win an Emmy award in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama for her role in How to Get Away With Murder, 2015.
She’s from Rhode Island, y’all. She’s putting on for the smallest but greatest state there is.
Cicely Tyson: First black woman to win a Best Actress in a Drama Emmy for her leading role in, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, 1974.
Ya girl is still killing the game at 91. Did you catch her on How To Get Away With Murder as Annalise’s mother? I’m sorry but I pretty much forget any of the other cast members existed AND she is back. Also, BLACK DON’T CRACK.
Serena Williams: Ranked No. 1 is women’s single tennis.
Amongst the long list of her achievements are 21 Grand Slam singles titles, 4 Olympic gold medals, and the first male or female tennis player to ever have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. The List goes on. And she has the body and a grace of a goddess, dripped in coconut oil and honey.
Gabrielle Douglas: First African American gymnast in Olympic history to become the Individual All-Around Champion.
First African-American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series—the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. She is also the creator of its spin-off, Private Practice, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murd
My trust issues began with oatmeal cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies and end with Shonda Rhimes leading me into an early heart attack.
Ella Fitzgerald: First Black woman to win a Grammy, 1958.
She also won a total of 13 Grammy’s and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967.
Vanessa Williams: First Black Miss America, 1983.
Williams was forced to surrender her title after Penthouse bought and published unauthorized nude pictures of her. She bounced right back with a successful career as an actress. “Always stay gracious, the best revenge is your paper.”
Oprah Winfrey: Richest African American of the 20th century and the first black woman to become a multi-millionaire and she has her own television network, OWN, and a talk show called “Oprah’s Next Chapter”.
There are no words to really describe Oprah except for, well, Oprah. Her name pretty much has become a verb and adjective in my vocabulary. For example, I gave my friend great advice, I got hired on the spot for a great job position AND I made a great stir-fry that night, I so Oprahed the sh*t out of my day.
Tyra Banks: First black woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, 1997.
In the words of the great J.T., “She looks like a model except she’s got a little more a**.”
Whoopi Goldberg: First female to host the Academy Awards solo, 1994.
Whoopi wore Foamposites on live TV, enough said.
Maya Angelou: Pulittzer prize nomination, Tony Award nomination, 3 Grammy’s, 50+ honorary degrees, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and being every woman’s inspiration.
“I am a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
Ava DuVernay: DuVernay became the first Black woman to win the Best Director Prize for her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere at the Sundance Film Festival, 2012. DuVernay is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her work in Selma and is also the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
She also directed the Apple Music commercial where Mary J. Blidge, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson danced together to Salsa…squad goals or what?
Rita Moreno: Puerto Rican singer and actress, best known for her role as Anita in West Side Story. Second Puerto Rican to win an Oscar in 1961 and one of only 12 performers to have won all major annual American entertainment awards (an Oscar, and Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. )
Whitney Houston:The most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010.
Wanda Sykes: She became the first African American woman and first openly gay person to be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, 2009.