2017 continued to be the Year of the Black Woman, as creatives such as Dee Rees, Cardi B and more changed the rules and forced the world to see them true.
Yeah, we said it: 2017 was the Year of the Black Woman. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that this would be the case, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we should’ve seen it coming from the moment Rep. Maxine Waters told the world her mission was the impeachment of Dotard Donald Trump—on the week of his inauguration.
Black women have been wielding their political, creative and societal power all year long, changing the rules and redirecting the national conversation on everything from body image to Buckingham Palace. Some reclaimed their time, using the ballot box to make their point, as recently as last week in the Alabama senate race. Others took back their very lives from toxic relationships. And still there were those who made headlines with their engagements and pregnancies, forcing the world to see them as the beauties they truly are.
Black women would not be denied.
2017 was the year where black women stared down erasure, assault, denigration and clapped back by saying, “No more.” So, here we go, y’all, in alphabetical order we salute the black women who made this year fierce, fun, and oh-so-fly—because there is no ranking all this phenomenal womanhood!
Cardi B: That Uncut Raw
When Oprah instructed us to live our best lives, she meant everybody. Cardi B is that ‘round-the-way-girl that bounces back when everyone else counts her out. The kind of girl whose success gets judged because they can’t figure it out. Here’s the open secret: Cardi B sets goals and works at them. Her stint on Love & Hip-Hop New York was a stone on her path to becoming a recording star.
She wouldn’t take no for an answer, so she dropped two mixtapes. Her newfound fame was another stone, leading her to a sizeable contract with Atlantic Records. Within months after the release of “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” it was the first solo single to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from a woman hip-hop artist since Lauryn Hill did the same thing in 1998 with “Doo Wop (That Thing)”.
GRAMMY nominated and newly engaged to Offset of Migos fame, and still paying her mama’s bills — there is no time to chill for the belleza of the Bronx, Cardi B.
Dee Rees & Tamar-kali: Soul Sisters
This writer-director and musician-composer tandem make a wonderful filmmaking team who, together, have created masterpieces on a shoestring budget (Pariah) and on a multi-million dollar Netflix budget (Mudbound). With the latter project up for two Golden Globes, including “Best Original Song,” Dee Rees and Tamar-kali are pushing the culture forward with each new project.
Elaine Welteroth: Fearless Leader
At only 29-years-old, this Bay Area badass was named the youngest African American editor-in-chief in the history of Condé Nast. She has turned the page on what a young women’s magazine such as Teen Vogue can teach its readers. She took a huge risk publishing an informative article about anal sex for her core readership of 18-24-year-olds. And, of course, there was an outcry—but somebody had to do it, because guess what? Some girls are out there doing it and what better way to help them be safe than by educating them properly?