March is International Women’s History Month, and in honor of women who are making life better across the globe, whether in entertainment, fashion, media or technology, rolling out has compiled a list of 25 women you should know in 2015. –jamie mariah
Notably one of the hottest females on television, Taraji P. Henson has stolen the hearts of viewers with her role in Fox’s biggest show, “Empire.” Getting her movie start with a role in Baby Boy, Henson has stacked up the roles in such movies as Hustle and Flow, the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which she received an Oscar nomination, and recurring roles in Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too.
2) Issa Rae, writer and producer, “Awkward Black Girl”
Thanks to her comedy Web series, “AWKWARD Black Girl,” Issa Rae has become a YouTube phenomenon. Successfully launching the first and second season of her online show, and even getting Pharrell Williams as one of the executive producers; Rae is now hitting the road in February to promote her new book The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and has a new series, “The Legend of Human Black Guy.” Also being featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Entertainment List for her work, it is not too late to catch up with the program. Check out the latest episodes on YouTube and her website awkwardblackgirl.com.
3) Amma Asante, filmmaker
Best known for A Way of Life, a film she wrote and directed in 2004, British screenwriter and film director Amma Asante has been making a name for herself in not only the U.K., but in the U.S. Since taking America by a storm with her first major feature film Belle, Asante is seen as one of the most promising directors. Opening last spring, Belle has grossed $10.6 million domestically to date. Be on the lookout for upcoming projects. They’re sure to not disappoint.
4) Erin Teague, director of product management, Yahoo!
Being a leader at one of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, Erin Teague has managed to stand out in a predominantly male and white career field. Graduating from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, and then finishing with another degree from Harvard Business School, this Detroit native has broken barriers many wouldn’t have imagined. Named among the 100 “Coolest People in Tech” by Business Insider, 32-year-old Teague is leading a team of engineers at Yahoo!
5) Kimberly Bryant, founder, Black Girls Code
With the mission to introduce programming and technology to girls of color between the ages 7-17, Kimberly Bryant continues to provide opportunities to learn these in-demand skills with her nonprofit organization, Black Girls Code. Being devoted to change the underrepresented percentage of black females in the technology work force, she hopes to provide girls with the skills to obtain positions within the field that has approximately 1.4 million job openings.
6) Amanda Spann, co-founder, tiphub
Being known as one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women in Tech Under 30, one of BET’s Blacks on the Brink of Greatness, and considered one of the five future leaders in technology according to Black Enterprise magazine, Amanda Spann is a force to be reckoned with. Co-founding Tiphub, a mentorship and consultancy that develops and supports impact ventures within Africa, Spann is always seeking new ways to engage the Black tech community.
7) Poornima Vijayashanker, founder of Femgineer
This entrepreneur and software engineer is always on the go. Poornima Vijayashanker has been creating startup after startup. From engineering Mint.com to founding BizeeBee, her newest endeavor is Femgineer, a startup focused on helping tech professionals in their careers and tech entrepreneurs build products and companies. Who knows what this creative mind will come up with next.
8) Wanda Shelley, producer
Considered the queen of urban television, Wanda Shelley has produced some of TV’s most popular reality shows over the past 10 years, including “Being Bobby Brown,” and Keith Sweat’s “Platinum House” which features Dru Hill. She is currently a co-owner and vice President for Simmons-Shelley Entertainment Studios, previously known as B2 Entertainment Studios LLC in Atlanta, where she resides.
9) Tracy Baker-Simmons, Reality TV pioneer
Along with Wanda Shelley, Tracy Baker-Simmons is the co-owner and president of Simmons-Shelley Entertainment Studios. One of the top female producers in the film industry, Simmons has a range of expertise from award-winning TV commercials with Coca-Cola and Sprite to serving as a producer for Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” She is a reality TV pioneer who served as the executive producer and co-creator of the Bravo hit reality series “Being Bobby Brown.”
10) Sibley “Sib Vicious” Scoles, Revolt TV
Edgy and confidence-filled TV personality and recording artist Sibly “Sib Vicious” Scoles is making some noise within the industry. Recently becoming a part of P. Diddy’s Revolt TV as a main host, this San Francisco native is a songbird at heart. Prior to the show, Scoles was overseas touring with singer Taio Cruz. As her career is kicking into high gear, anticipation is high for this talented soul.
11) Alicia Quarles, correspondent
You may recognize her from E! News or maybe even MSNBC, as Alicia Quarles keeps her audience up to date. A USC alum, she started as a producer with Associated Press where she served for a number of years. Catch her reporting on the hottest A-listers or the latest in breaking news.
12) Mara Schiavocampo, writer, journalist and correspondent
ABC News correspondent and author of the book Thinspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds — My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Self-Acceptance is formerly an anchor for MSNBC and NBC News, Mara Schiavocampo is an Emmy Award- winning journalist. Her resume includes work with ABC News, Ebony magazine, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Labeled as “the next Diane Sawyer,” Schiavocampo was the first reporter of her kind in network TV. She has worked as a correspondent for “Nightly News,” “The Today Show,” “Weekend Nightly News” and “Weekend Today.”
13) Sheinelle Jones, anchor and journalist
This “Weekend Today,” anchor is making waves. Before joining the NBC family, Sheinelle Jones was a co-host on the morning program “Good Day Philadelphia,” and before that she was an evening news anchor and reporter for a Fox affiliate in Oklahoma.
14) Tamron Hall, correspondent
Catch her at 9 a.m. co-hosting the “Today” Show or at 11 a.m. anchoring “NewsNation” on MSNBC; Tamron Hall is not camera shy. Adding to her list of TV airings, she is also a national correspondent for NBC News. This award- winning journalist has been featured in major outlets such as Forbes, Ebony magazine, Marie Claire, and the Huffington Post.
15) Meghan Markle, actress
Meghan Markle has had recurring roles in “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” “Fringe,” and starred in films such as Get Him to the Greek, and Horrible Bosses. The Los Angeles native is now known as Rachel Zane in the show “Suits.”
6) Ava DuVernay, director
Director, film marketer, film distributor, and screenwriter Ava DuVernay directed the Oscar-nominated film Selma. DuVernay won Best Director Prize for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere,” and became the first female black director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Now, thanks to Selma, she also became the first black female director to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
17) Angela Benton, founder, Black Web 2.0, NewMe Accelerator
Angela Benton, CEO of Black Web Media and the founder of NewMe Accelerator, has raised more $16 million in funding since her comoany;s inception in start in 2011. NewMe helps entrepreneurs launch businesses and get the help of investors. Benton was featured on the CNN series “Black in America,” and it seems whatever she puts her mind to comes to fruition.
18) Luvvie Ajayi, blogger
Referring to herself as “the Jill of all trades,” this comedic blogger, award-winning writer and digital strategist has made a major name for herself. Ajayi was one of first black bloggers to receive red carpet and backstage coverage access, She has also found time to create her own nonprofit organization called The Red Pump Project. Her blog draws 250,000 viewers per month.
19) Serayah Love, actress and singer
Probably most recognizable for her role in the hit show, “Empire,” Serayah proves there’s much more to her under the surface. This California native is a singer, model, and actress that chooses to pursue a career in music. What can be called a triple threat, we’ll call it a recipe for great success.
20) Crystal Nicole, songwriter
Winning 4 Grammy Awards and 5 ASCAP Awards, Crystal Nicole, better known as her stage name Cristyle, has a talent like no other. Writing for artists like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blidge, Rihanna, David Guetta, and even Beyoncé, her list can go on for days. Crystal finally released her own debut album by the name of “I Am Crystal Nicole.”
21) Isha Sesay, CNN
When she’s not traveling the world covering breaking stories, you may catch her anchoring on “CNNI NewsCenter” or even the “BackStory” throughout the week. Isha Sesay is an anchor and CNN International correspondent who has reported on major global events such as the Ebola outbreak, to the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, and even to the protests in Egypt. This hard workingwomen is doing big things in the city of Atlanta whenever duty doesn’t call overseas.
22) Gugu Mbatha-Raw, actress
British stage and film actress Gugu Mbatha has surely been getting peoples attention. First hitting the American scene in Tom Hanks “Larry Crowne” and then going on to do television shows, Mbatha earned critical acclaim from her performances in both dramas “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights.” Be on the lookout for upcoming movies!
23) Shellye Archambeau, CEO MetricStream
Becoming the first African American women IBM sent on an international assignment, Shellye Archambeau is now the head woman in charge. Being recognized as one of the Top 25 Click and Mortar Executives by Internet World and also as one of 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology, this is a lady that knows what she’s doing.
24) Folorunsho Alakija, world’s richest woman and oil baroness
Meet Nigeria’s first female billionaire, Folorunsho Alakija. She founded Supreme Stitches, a premium fashion line, and then later got into the oil business. In 2008, the former beauty queen went on to start her own company. She is the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited, Digital Reality Prints Limited. She is also the executive vice chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.
25) Beyoncé, singer, actress
Known across the world, Beyoncé has easily become a household name. Being what some would call the epitome of influential, she has sold millions of records, sold out many of her concert tours, and has millions of views online. She continues to shatter records and continues to entice those worldwide through songs, commercials, movies and fashion. Queen Bey, as fans call her, can do no wrong.