16 Black Women We Learned From In 2017
2017, I will not miss you. I am so ready for the new year, but before the clock strikes midnight, it’s only right to give a shout out to the Black women who we learned from in 2017. It’s easy to dismiss 2017 as the worst year since... well, 2016, but 2017 has had a few silver linings, and it’s time to give credit where credit is due. Because chances are good that if you’ve learned something new this year, a Black woman had something to do with that newly acquired knowledge.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? In 2017, an actual establishment served an alcoholic beverage called “Pill Cosby” and thought it was funny. Kendall Jenner and Pepsi thought a can of soda would solve long-standing racial tension. And in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones beat Roy Moore, an accused sexual predator, by less than 2 percentage points — a victory that was rightfully credited to Black women showing up in the face of widespread voter suppression. It’s been a rough year, but with a few silver linings thrown in.
Despite all the obstacles 2017 has thrown our way, Black women have still managed to teach and inspire millions. Whether it was in entertainment, journalism, sports, health, beauty, or politics, Black women were leading the conversation and making people pay attention. Ahead, find a small sampling of the Black women who dropped the knowledge we needed this year.
Yara Shahidi is proof that actresses can be socially aware and critique the systems that they benefit from. The young starlet called out colorism in Hollywood in addition to speaking on issues of racism and exclusion.
7& 8. Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu
If anyone tells you "it's just Twitter," kindly point them in the direction of April Reign, the co-creator of #NoConfederate, a hashtag that helped stop the creation of a show that imagined if the South would've won the Civil War. She also helps folks (including herself) get jobs with the #ReignyDayJobs hashtag.
Rihanna taught the beauty industry a thing or two when she launched Fenty Beauty, a makeup line that caters to women of all shades. Some of her competitors scrambled to include foundations of darker shades, with the lesson being that inclusivity sells.
11Dr. Joy Harden Bradford
Dr. Joy saw a need for therapists among Black women and created a therapist directory, blog, and podcast to help folks in their mental health journeys. "Therapy for Black Girls" is a needed resource that drops knowledge consistently.
You'll probably learn more about race and education from following Eve Ewing on Twitter than you ever learned in any classroom.
Paulah Wheeler is a co-founder of BLKHLTH, an organization that educates, engages, and empowers the Black community regarding health and wellness. Wheeler co-facilitates community events and proudly proclaims "Black Health Matters."
Raianna Brown took a stand by taking a knee and showed solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who were protesting police brutality and other racial injustices. Brown proved that literally everyone can use their voice.
As the year comes to a close, thank the Black women in your life that you've learned from, and if you're not familiar with any of the women on this list, read up on them and learn a thing or three. Then, be sure to thank them for dropping the knowledge we needed during this trash year. Hopefully, the lessons we learned from them will make it easy to reclaim our time in 2018.