In honor of Maya Angelou, we here at ClaimFame have compiled a list of five Phenomenal black Women in the entertainment industry. These women bowl us over with their strength, entrepreneurship, political advocacy, wisdom, and inner beauty, not to mention their their powerful personalities under the scrutiny of the public eye. Every one of these women deserves to say:
I’m a woman
Laverne Cox is best known for her kick-ass role as Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black, but Cox’s other achievements should not be ignored. From being the first black trans woman with her own reality TV show to speaking all over the United States at LGBT conferences as an LGBT advocate, Laverne Cox is a phenomenal, extremely intelligent, and well spoken woman whose identity has fueled an incredible career in advocacy and the arts.
Oprah is impossible to ignore seeing as she decorates everything from your most recent Starbucks drink to the covers of weight-loss magazines, but to leave her off of this list would be criminal. Outside of having her own TV channel, talk show, magazine, radio station, and film company, Oprah has been on TIME Magazine’s “Most Influential People” list on eight occasions. Oprah has also been the influence behind numerous world-wide charities and social movements (labeled “The Oprah Effect”). Truly, Oprah is a Phenomenal Woman.
Beyonce is an obvious addition to this list because she is such a powerhouse. Outside of the fact that “Queen B” is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with a multitude of awards including seventeen (!!!) Grammys, her hard work and raw artistic talent is not all that makes her stand out in a crowd. With a handle on the music industry so firm that she could record an entire album in secret before releasing it on twitter and facebook complete with music videos as a final touch, Beyonce has also started charities, made fragrances, created her own fashion line, and continually encourages women to find their strength, power, and inner beauty. Beyonce has risen to international stardom through her phenomenal business savvy and powerful femininity, and was featured as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2013.
Lupita Nyong’o may have just found her spotlight with her gut-wrenching performance in 12 Years a Slave, but her influence is spreading like wildfire for being a woman of color who has embraced her beauty because of her color. Nyong’o has come in to her own, and delivered fantastically inspiring speeches on finding your own beauty, most notably at the “Black Women in Hollywood” conference where she won the “Best Breakthrough Performance” award. In her acceptance speech she said ” I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty.” If that’s not phenomenal, I don’t know what is.
While Michelle Obama’s most obvious claim to fame is being the first lady of the United States, Obama is also a huge patroness of the arts, political powerhouse, and inspiration to women nationwide. With a BA at Princeton, and a JD at Harvard, Obama has taken initiative to do some of the most philanthropic works this country has seen, striving to close the wage gap between men and women, support mothers in low income neighborhoods, support gay rights, and increasing the overall health and physical wellbeing of the American people with her “Let’s Move” program. Spearheading the mission of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities to “help narrow the achievement gap, increase student engagement, and improve the culture and climate in the country’s highest poverty schools,” Obama has proved herself to be a visionary and an advocate for the arts.