What is there to actually say about the First Lady of The United States. She’s Michelle Obama…..enough said.
Michelle Obama is the first Black First Lady and she’s beautiful, intelligent, classy, powerful, empowering, and she knows just what to say. She is the most fashionable First Lady since Jackie Kennedy, but it’s not even her fashion sense alone that people care about. She actually has something to say, something we all need to hear. Launching a fitness program Let’s Move! To raise a healthier generation of children, which I was all for, because I think video games and television are the parents now. But she also launched Let Girls Learn and she has been incredibly vocal about the rights of women. Stating in the Oprah interview:
"Live out loud, and understand that what’s in your brain is really useful. Do not hide it. Don’t dumb it down. Don’t apologize for it. Just put it on the table and let people deal with it." She also addressed prejudices in America and the fact she didn’t ignore what has been going on in the country she resides in was what America needed coming out of the White House for a very long time.
Beyoncé showed up at this years Super Bowl and made the main event an afterthought. She was not the headliner of this years show but a guest that stole the show and had her name on the tip of everyone's tongue. Some say she turned the Super Bowl into a political statement I'd have to disagree with that. I believe she was celebrating her race, being black and proud and America wasn't ready for their beloved Beyoncé to openly admit she was a black girl and very proud of it. I was told by someone “well you don't see me going around saying I'm white and I'm proud.” Well in response I also don't see a history of white racial oppression or white people are automatically thugs, unintelligent, less beautiful, their natural hair is a distraction, or all on welfare. But never mind that, Beyoncé afterwards released Lemonade her sixth studio album and her blackness was in full swing. A huge supporter of Black Lives Matter this year, an incredible sold out world tour, a successful athleisure line Ivy Park, and nine Grammy nominations Beyoncé was a clear choice for our Fashionably Influential Women List.
I adore Nicki Minaj because she’s absolutely one of a kind. She was listed on Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. She has the most Hot 100 entries in history amongst female rappers ties as second amongst women over all genres. She has sold 20 million as a solo lead artist and 60 million as a feature artist. She has her own way of doing things and is musically versatile she’s not just a female rapper she’s more than revealing costumes and uncensored lyrics, she’s a brand and she did it as a female rapper. She speaks out about racial injustice but what I love to see her do is use her power. Female rappers, music artists in general are very powerful and what they say resonate women their age and young girls that look up to them. Take away her music, costumes, wigs, and controversy and you have a woman who uses her platform to empower young women. A woman who tells girls to get an education, stop depending on or waiting on a man, and to become your own woman. Don’t be afraid of what they’re going to call you just because you’re intelligent and unafraid to use your intellect. Aside from branding, her incredible musical ability, and her new video game, that’s what you can take away from Nicki Minaj.
Solange came out of nowhere with her fourth album, A Seat At The Table. Her first album to go number 1 was the album Black America needed. Like her sisters Lemonade, A Seat At The Table explored prejudice, black experience, and culture. Not only did Solange deliver these experiences in a soulful, manner she put her parents on the album recalling their run-ins with racism in this country. It was a conversation with the world and an intimate look into Solange’s mind and her goal to reclaim, celebrate, and heal. It was her most political album, but she's always been vocal about racial injustices in America. While she may have made this album for the healing of herself and her family, her perspective was shared by many black men and women who needed to be healed as well.
Alicia Keys caused an uproar when she stopped wearing makeup this year. People have a problem with this woman choosing not to wear makeup as a personal choice, she’s not advocating anyone else to stop. The fact someone actually said she may be able to stop wearing makeup, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can. Well in true fashion I have to respond and my response is just because you hate what you look like when you get home does not make it Alicia Key’s problem. People spend so much time putting on their face they don’t take care of the face they were born with resulting in all those nasty imperfections you are afraid to walk out of your house wearing. Anyway back to this incredibly brave woman who decided to stop living her life worrying about what other people will say or think and feeding into the stereotypes and “standards of beauty.” She’s taking a stand against the same magazines and bloggers that tell you, you need to wear make up to be beautiful is exactly the same as someone saying you have to be white, skinny, and blonde to be considered a beautiful woman. It is equivalent and she saw what the standards and expectations were doing to her personally. Alicia on why she decided to stop wearing makeup:
"Women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgment of women. The constant stereotyping through every medium that makes us feel like being a normal size is not normal, and heaven forbid if you're plus-size. Or the constant message that being sexy means being naked."
"Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn't put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me." In the end she’s doing it for herself and if you hate her for it figure out if you’re doing what you’re doing for yourself or out of fear of what you think people will say?
Not only did Kerry Washington welcome a bouncing baby boy this year but she also turned into Papa Pope on her hit Television Series Scandal. Kerry Washington still captivates America as Olivia Pope after 5 seasons. She plays a very powerful crisis manager and she has this take it or leave it attitude that she plays incredibly well. After all is said and done I’m inspired to run my business Olivia Pope style she’s my business hat. This year she partnered with OPI as the company’s Creative Consultant releasing a line the Washington D.C. Collection that is stunning! She played Anita Hill in the Television movie Confirmation earning her Emmy and Critic’s Choice Awards. She switched her actress hat for a producer’s hat and announced she would be producing a television show named Patrol for ABC about female LAPD officers. I’m looking forward to what she’s offering next year because I definitely didn’t get enough of her this year.
Zendaya has been vocal about racial injustices in America. She is constantly speaking out about Black Lives Matter and has helped push the movement. Never missing an opportunity to speak out on the issues Zendaya has become one of the most inspiring young women in recent years. Being I’m not too old myself I know black women are scarce as young role models. It’s hard to find young black women that care more about the issues around them than their Instagram photos. She is honestly who I would want my daughter to look up to in this sea of Instafame. When she’s not busy speaking out about what a lot of people are choosing to ignore, or are starting to see as perfectly fine or working on her television show. She has released an affordable, fashionable, diverse clothing line called Daya by Zendaya.
Ava DuVernay is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe as well as the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. DuVernay is the writer and director for 13TH an incredible film, I made my fiancé watch the moment I read the summary on Netflix. The film is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which outlawed slavery unless as a punishment for crime. This moving documentary argues slavery is being enforced through mass incarceration. Breaking up our black families, taking away our black heads of households, in hopes to break our black spirits. By no means do I condone breaking the law, but to be honest there was a time blacks were being arrested for wanting equal rights so lets not pretend the long standing amendment does not view these or wrongly convicted, changed black men as slaves and criminals. This documentary sheds light on this nations history and treatment of blacks especially the brutal history with law enforcement. It is one of the most brilliant films I have ever seen and I look forward to more of her black educational screen showstoppers.
Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player of all time. This year Serena was the highest paid female athlete and she absolutely deserves it. She also holds an all-time record for the most singles matches won at the Grand Slams with 309 matches (through the 2016 US Open).
She has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals.
She won her latest singles match in Wimbledon and the same day she and her sister Venus won Grand Slam doubles titles. Basically if my daughter wanted to be an athlete when she grew up, I would have her take a look at Serena Williams as an inspiration. She also feeds her fashion aspirations with a line called Signature Statement which is mainly sold on HSN. Her second showing was a success this year and she recently announced her engagement so I don’t see her slowing down anytime soon.
Viola Davis is honestly my Queen this year and here’s why: she is absolutely mind-blowing and she has never given up on her craft! Viola Davis is the star of How To Get Away With Murder a hit television show for which she became the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She plays a lawyer, manipulator, sex goddess, and nurturer in the hit series, I can’t recall a time I’ve ever seen a woman of her complexion be the powerful lead. She has always been an incredible actress, but the moment Annalise Keating walked onto the screen she demanded power. She plays a complex character with strength and beauty that has never been shown good enough as a role for a black woman. And to top things off she will be receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her decades of hard work.
This list can honestly go on and on and I suspect next year it will grow tremendously but right now lets applaud the women who made the list and keep looking forward to social growth and incredible fashion over the next year!
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