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  • McKenzie Jean-Philippe

40 Famous Black and African American Women Who Are Leaving Their Mark on History

Updated: Feb 17, 2021


"We have to make the choice—every single day—to exemplify the truth, the respect, and the grace that we wish for this world," Oprah said in 2019.


It's with this spirit that we take the time to honor trailblazing Black women, many of whom embody Lady O's words every day by serving as role models to us all. We've got quite the inspiring list, with actors, artists, activists, athletes, and even a poet. These women represent all shades of brown. They are not only A-listers but also leaders we look to in all facets of society. In the past 20 years, they've been responsible for trendsetting firsts and impressive cultural shifts that changed our world for the better—yes, even through the struggle that was 2020. As famous African American women (like former first lady Michelle Obama, Serena Williams, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tamron Hall, and Gabrielle Union, to mention a few), they have made a name for themselves while simultaneously creating a platform for so many more to follow in their footsteps.


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