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2017: Year of the Black Woman

2017: Year of the Black Woman

2017: Year of the Black Woman
Photo Credit: Laura Alston for Okayplayer

5 Reasons Why 'Girls Trip' Is Every Black Woman [Spoiler Free Review]
Source: Girls Trip

Girls Trip: Blockbuster Comedy

One of the breakout hits of this year was undoubtedly the buddy picture no one expected. Girls Trip featured four black women turning up at the Essence Music Festival, ground zero, for three days on non-stop #BlackGirlMagic. This hilariously adult and emotionally pitch perfect film gave us an unfiltered look at the genius that is showstopper Tiffany Haddish, and screenwriter Tracy Oliver a $100M+ smash hit. We know there’s a sequel coming up… we just want to know if we can be extras in it!

Tickets For H.E.R.’s Headlining “Lights On Tour” Are Sold Out
Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

H.E.R.: An Enigmatic New Star

Hailing from Vallejo, California, H.E.R. is a talented singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist who gave audiophiles a tutorial in reinvention this year. She cast off her given name (she is the ‘Artist Formerly Known As Gabi Wilson’) for an alluring acronym and culled her mixtapes into one smooth, simmering opus.

She then proceeded to sell out a national club tour sans major radio play or a splashy big budget video. Now, she’s signed to RCA Records, and H.E.R. is the funky, earthy artist that social and digital media propelled to stardom, without us even knowing what’s beneath the stunna shades and expansive hair.

And therein lies the point… the sound of H.E.R. is what matters most.

Janet Jackson Brings The Classics To Barclays For Her “State of the World” Tour
Photo Credit: Farrenton Grigsby

Janet Jackson: Music Royalty

After four decades, Janet “Ms. Jackson If Ya’ Nasty” Jackson came back to the game to show and prove who was still very much in “control” of her life at 51-gorgeous-years-young. She understood the world would wait while she had her son and untethered herself from her now ex-husband, pausing and revamping the tour that initially supported Unbreakable. Fast forward to 2017, and the State of the World Tour, a clinic of show-womanship, wall-to-wall hits and Janet the Icon snatched for the gawds in top voice, slaying her classic choreography with the kids. If you haven’t seen her show, cop tickets and do so before it is too late!

2017: Year of the Black Woman
Source: MSNBC

Joy-Ann Reid: A Purveyor of Real News

In 2017, few cable news anchors had more takedowns that Joy-Ann Reid. Her courageous and thorough reporting, coupled with her “not here for it” interviews on MSNBC’s AM Joy made her the stuff of legend. She somehow finds the time to co-host Reid This, Reid That, her topical podcast with play cousin and fellow black woman anchor, Jacque Reid, while keeping us smartly informed about the goings on in the White House and the world abroad.

Pass The Popcorn: Lupita Nyong'o May Be Joining The 'Black Panther' Cast
Source: Marvel

Lupita Nyong’o: A Starring Role Model

Upstanding and outstanding. These are just mere descriptors of a woman who speaks out against such perversion as Harvey Weinstein even when she had much to lose and the chorus of voices were already robust. Lupita Nyong’o showed us why black women deserve to be believed—and how our credibility is continually challenged. Amid dozens of white accusers, he singled her out by responding to her searing New York Times op-ed, but his cowardice was no match for her truth.

Director Dee Rees Talks ‘Mudbound,’ Whiteness As Currency & Her Filmmaking Process
Source: Netflix

Mary J. Blige: Phoenix Rising

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul has spent the last three decades getting us through our shit. This year, she’s given that gift to herself as she literally cleaned house: divorcing a spouse who won $30K a month in marital support, then had the nerve to try to dig for more gold. Thankfully, he failed and Mary continued onward to the path of acclaim and successes.

After spending much of the year on the road with Lalah Hathaway and Maxwell in support of Strength of a Woman, arguably her most revealing album in years, MJB flipped the script.

See Also

Wowing audiences and critics in Dee ReesMudbound, Mary received her first Golden Globe nomination for “Best Supporting Actress”. She murked every magazine cover she graced this year, too. She said she would glow up, and it is good to see her shine brightly on her own terms.

2017: Year of the Black Woman
Source: Twitter

Meghan Markle: Royal In Waiting

Black America has themselves another first: their first member of the Royal Family in the modern era. When Markle marries Prince Harry next spring, she will most likely be named Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex. The actor makes this list on that strength, and for coming straight outta Compton right into #KnuckIfYouBuckinghamPalace. Be clear: Markle is very black. There wouldn’t be all this polarizing global chatter if she weren’t.

Netflix Buys Worldwide Rights To Michaela Coel-Starring Musical Film, “Been So Long”
Source: Stylist Magazine

Michaela Coel: Quintuple Threat

When two-time BAFTA winner and Chewing Gum creator Michaela Coel crossed the pond, America won. This woman’s picture should be next to the word “powerhouse” in the dictionary. She is a musician, a playwright, a working thespian, a screenwriter and has the gall to be a poet to boot. She’s back aboard the USS Callister for another run on Netflix’s cult smash, Black Mirror. Lastly, she’ll play Simone in the upcoming Che Walker musical about unrequited love, Been So Long, which comes out in 2018. We can’t wait to see what she blesses the U.S. with next.

2017: Year of the Black Woman
Source: Twitter

Radha Blank & Eisa Davis: Mic Droppaz

Both these women are so heavily accomplished in theater. You may remember Radha’s side-splitting, acerbic viral video for “Hoteps Hoteppin’,” or recall Eisa slaying on camera in The Wire or House of Cards, but theater heads know them as award-winning, festival selected playwrights with innumerable credits in a creative space chronically dominated by white men. This year, the masses got to know their serious pen game intimately as writers on Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It Netflix series—a series as controversial as its cinematic namesake. Don’t take your eyes off of these two talented forces.

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