When you think of Black women, what images or labels come to mind? Defining your own depiction of women of color can be difficult when the mainstream media have continuously stereotyped them as nothing more than the baby mommas, gold diggers or uneducated. In the midst of the undying public persecution, Black women have continued to redefine themselves. Black women have power and have proved their strength by fearlessly going out into the world and excelling in business, politics, academia and media. Television and films have been saturated with the negative misrepresentations of Black women. The exposure aims to overshadow positive role models like superstar actresses Tika Sumpter, Taraji P. Henson and Keke Palmer.
These women all share the commonality of having lucrative acting careers, but people are oblivious as to what it took for them to reach success in a fickle industry with few roles for brown-skinned actresses. Many starlets in Hollywood grew up with opportunity being handed to them on a silver spoon.
These women grew up poor in urban communities where the likelihood of pursuing a career in acting was just a pipe dream.
They have beaten the odds by landing jobs on hit TV shows like “Empire” and “The Haves and Have Nots” or even becoming the youngest talk show host in the history of television — now that’s power.
Then you have Angela Simmons, a budding mogul who grew up on the other side of fence, but despite her privileged upbringing she chose to make a name for herself in fashion — an industry not known for catering to women of color as models, designers or customers.
Every Black woman has a story, so before you judge them find out the obstacles they had to face to get where they are today. Michelle Obama once said, “I need you to understand that we are women who marched on cotton fields into fields of medicine … politics …. entertainment, and now we have found a way to march into the White House.”
Black women were born with two strikes against them: being Black and female. Through all their pain and suffering they continue to persevere in a society that expects them to fail.
Feature by lauren martinez
Images by kawaii matthews and dewayne rogers