11 Inspiring Black Women We Can All Learn From

Empowerment

Anti-racist-quotes

The words of Angela Davis are as poignant as ever, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

2020 has hit the Black community to an unnerving degree. Amid the COVID-19 crisis that has impacted the globe, the Black community in the USA has been disproportionally hit. Almost one-third of infections nationwide have affected African Americans, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, though African Americans represent only 13 percent of the total U.S. population.

Not only this, but 2020 has also shone a bright light on the systemic racism in the USA and the continued murder of Black people in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and most recently, George Floyd. Reports like the Amy Cooper incident – when a white woman called the police on a Black man in Central Park after he politely asked her to leash her dog in line with park guidelines – once again highlights the prevalent systemic racism and white supremacy in the US, and the equally problematic, widespread white privilege.

If any of this isn’t familiar to you, it’s more important than ever to take the time to understand and educate yourself on the experiences of the Black community and the toxicity of white privilege.

black lives matter

We’ve curated a list of some inspirational women to follow, from educational content creators to outspoken public figures and those that uplift the Black community, so you can read and learn with an open heart to ensure you are actively becoming part of the change. While many of you may feel that you don’t know what to do to make a difference, following these women and making the effort to educate yourself and others around you is a small way to show your solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Diversifying your content intake is the first step but don’t forget to support

Black-owned beauty brands, sign petitions, and donate wherever possible. Finally, talk to those around you to share your learnings, then keep doing and learning more.

1. Rachel Cargle

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (@rachel.cargle) on

Rachel Cargle is a writer and lecturer whose activism and academic work explore the intersection of race and feminism. Rachel uses her platform to deliver intellectual resources, tools, and stories to empower the Black community while educating others. She breaks down topics and weighted discussions such as white privilege, gaslighting, and the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement with integrity and impact. And we’ve got to mention her episode of the Red Table Talk discussing White Privilege – it’s not to be missed.

Rachel has also created an online learning platform called The Great Unlearn, which provides resources and critical discourse to aid in unlearning the misrepresented history that is still taught today. Check out her extremely valuable education source here – we highly recommend reading “Dear White Women” from her social syllabus series.

2. Jackie Aina

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jackie Aina (@jackieaina) on

Jackie Aina is one of the fiercest and most outspoken content creators on YouTube, who uses her platform to champion the Black community. Jackie continuously advocates for greater visibility of Black women in the beauty industry, calling out brands who do not support, showcase, or actively celebrate deeper skin tones while crediting those who do. Not only does she call out and question the lack of diversity but she also provides a solution, offering tips, hacks, and the 411 on inclusive product ranges. Most recently, she worked with Too Faced to extend their foundation shade range with nine deeper shades.

3. Ashlee Marie Preston

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ashlee Marie Preston (@ashleemariepreston) on

Ashlee Marie Preston is a journalist and activist who has achieved many “firsts” for the Black and trans community. She was the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and the first openly trans person to run for state office in California. Ashlee was also listed as one of the Root 100 “Most Influential African Americans of 2017.”

On a daily basis, Ashlee uses her powerful voice to bring light and awareness to the continued injustice trans and Black communities face while simultaneously uplifting her communities. A true lady-boss with a powerful voice. Take a look through her videos, listen, and learn.

4. Chrissy Rutherford

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chrissy Rutherford (@chrissyford) on

Chrissy Rutherford is a fashion journalist and influencer whose recent Instagram post (above) discussing the racial injustices, riots, and murder of George Floyd went viral. It now has over five million views and thousands of comments in support. While Chrissy is not an activist by profession, she uses her voice and social media platform to discuss important topics; most commonly, mental health and anxiety, which she personally suffers from. By doing so, she brings awareness to a topic that is often overlooked within the Black community: mental health.

5. Jada Pinkett Smith

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapinkettsmith) on

Jada is, by definition, a true QUEEN! She is one of the most open, authentic, badass women in Hollywood. Through her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, she has created a safe space for her community to discuss topics like mental health, drug addiction, and white privilege while shining a light on the Black experience.

She also provides an outlet for three generations of Black women to share their stories and tell their truths, offering a unique, inter-generational perspective. She then broadens and deepens the discussion space by inviting key figures of the Black community, from activists to icons, as well as non-Black members to discuss interracial relations. Red Table Talk is a must-watch for all. For real.

6. Angela Rye

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by A N G E L A | R Y E (@angelarye) on

Angela Rye is not afraid to work and fight for what is right. She’s an American attorney, the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies (a political advocacy firm in Washington), an NPR Political Analyst, a CNN Political Commentator, and makes a regular appearance on The Breakfast Club.

Angela utilizes her presence within the media to share and represent the Black experience. Not only does she break down political issues on her social media but she works to unravel the systemic racism within the American government to ensure positive change in the political process.

7. Lena Waithe

View this post on Instagram

🏳️‍🌈 BLACK MASCULINE PRESENTING LESBIAN FROM CHICAGO. ⁣ ⁣ #MetGala2018⁣ #MetGala2019

A post shared by Lena Waithe (@lenawaithe) on

Lena Waithe is an American screenwriter, producer, and actress. She was the first African American woman to win an Emmy for comedic writing for her work on the ‘Thanksgiving’ episode of Netflix’s Master of None series, where she told her own coming out story. She is rightly praised for breaking down and laying a path for other Black women and men to follow yet remains humble in acknowledging those who have come before her.

Since winning the Emmy, she has continued to narrate and share what it means to be Black and queer in America today. Her writing is relatable, funny, and truly moving with an overriding message of Black power, Black strength, and Black beauty.

In fact, Lena Waithe’s most recent screenplay, Queen & Slim, tells a story with a timely narrative of a Black couple forced to go on the run after being unjustly shot at by a white police officer. This film could not showcase more relevant themes and is well worth a watch.

8. Amanda Seales

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by amandaseales (@amandaseales) on

Artist, content creator, comedian, and Founder of the interactive game show Smart, Funny & Black, Amanda is as “intellectually lit” as they come. Her Smart, Funny & Black site brings together members of the Black community to discuss Black history, Black culture, and the Black experience through comedy. While she endlessly celebrates Black culture, she is also refreshingly vocal about the daily racism Black men and women face. Take note of her most recent video.

9. Michelle Obama

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

Michelle Obama is so legendary her fame rivals her husband’s. She’s an inspiring leader who uplifts, encourages, and implements positive change to empower the African American community. Cheesy but true: her Instagram page is like a beacon of hope – watch the video above and you’ll understand why.

10. Ericka Hart

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ericka Hart, M.Ed. She/They (@ihartericka) on

An award-winning sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality, Ericka Hart, M.Ed., D/s, is a writer and highly-acclaimed speaker, who makes her voice heard to fight oppression. Ericka was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28, and made headlines in 2016 when she went topless to proudly reveal her mastectomy scars at a music festival.

As a Black queer activist and a cancer-survivor, Ericka leads the conversation on gender identity and marginalized communities in the media. Ericka’s Instagram page is open, honest, and insightful, and full of thought-provoking content that aims to educate and uproot systemic racism and prejudice.

11. Layla F. Saad

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by LAYLA THEE ANCESTRESS (@laylafsaad) on

Layla F. Saad is an author, speaker, and podcast host vocalizing her unique perspective on topics of race, identity, personal transformation, and social change. Having grown up in the West but now living in the Middle East, as an East African, Arab, British, Black, Muslim woman, Layla has a unique perspective on identity that she hopes will leave a legacy of healing and liberation.

There is SO much to learn from Layla F. Saad, author of the best-selling book Me And White Supremacy. Initially released to download for free after an Instagram challenge, the originally titled, digital Me And White Supremacy Workbook, was downloaded 80,000 times in six months. The book asks non-Black people to understand their white privilege and examine ways in which they uphold white supremacy. Layla’s social media page is an extension of that. Follow her to learn more, but better yet, take the challenge yourself. Now is the time. Buy the Me And White Supremacy book here.

For more ways to support and show your solidarity, check out 20 amazing Black-owned beauty brands we love. It’s also important to sign petitions and donate wherever possible. We will be continuing to use our platform to educate on how you can support Black communities and make a difference.