Who run the world? Girls! It has been a rough year for women in entertainment. In height of the “MeToo” movement and the continued fight to be equivalent to men in the industry, we are deemed to never give up and keep fighting to the top. Unequal pay, misrepresentation, sexism and harassment are just a few struggles women face while achieving success.
Below are a few #badass women that are beating the odds. These women have taken ownership of their spotlight. They have shown up and shown out. They have paved the way for other women to do the same.
Lena Waithe is the ultimate epitome of black girl magic. She is currently making her way through Hollywood loud and proud. As the first black woman to receive an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, Waithe is letting the world know she’s here and not going anywhere. Her Netflix series “Master of None” is breaking barriers for television by highlighting African Americans in the LGBTQ community. We can’t forget about her Showtime hit, The Chi, that digs into Chicago’s south side. Waithe has also produced Step Sisters, dance film, and TBS’s Twenties, about three African American women making their way in Hollywood. Waithe represents not one, but three underrepresented groups in the entertainment industry. Being a queer woman of color, Waithe is determined to make her mark in this industry. Way to go!
How can you not love Issa? She embodies women empowerment and makes us laugh along the way. Rae is living proof that the stigma of being awkwardly black has a chance. She encourages women to be themselves and never give up. Although Rae has made her mark, this year she will be a leading lady in entertainment. Rae continues to amaze us with Insecure by dropping gems via Twitter and throughout the hit show. Being an unapologetic black girl and not being afraid to be a ‘bitch’, has shot Rae’s career through the roof. We’re so happy she is finally getting the recognition she deserves.
This “regular degular” girl from Bronx, NY took this year by storm and it’s impossible to ignore. Cardi’s infectious laugh and energy makes it hard for anyone to hate her. She has proven that she is capable of success. She has skyrocketed on the billboard charts and even surpassing some great artists. All while becoming a first time mommy to Kulture. Cardi is the first rapper to have three Billboard Hot 100 while being in the top 10 simultaneously. She currently has the longest running female rap album in the top 10 of Billboard 200. The NYC native from the streets has transcended into a global superstar. If anyone has had the ultimate “glow up” in the industry, it is Cardi B.
Angela Rye is the voice we wish we had. Rye has dominated CNN with her fierce attitude and undeniable wit. She is passionate about what she believes in and is not afraid to show it. Especially when speaking on taboo topics such as race and sex. The political commentator is not one to mess with. She is showcasing her talent in which proves that it is normal to be smart and to have a voice in a world where we are forced to be silent. Thank you for speaking up for us Angela Rye.
As the first African American woman to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Dee Rees is making her mark in the industry. Climbing her way to the top from her early films Pariah and Bessie, Rees had a plan. Her new film, Mudbound, has sold to Netflix for $12 million. She is subtly making her way through Hollywood and paving the way for other female directors. Keep writing Rees, we’re watching!
Angelica Nwandu, creator of The Shade Room (TSR), an Instagram-based media outlet focused on celebrity gossip, has found her way into our hearts. TSR has over 13 million followers referred to as “Roommates” that highlights trendy celebrity news. Nwandu took social media to another level with TSR right at our fingertips. She’s a digital pioneer. Keep shining and keeping us entertained Angelica.
In the past, she was known as just Kim K’s little sister. Now, she’s Forbes highest paid female entertainer. Yes, little Kylie Jenner is giving young girls the ability to dream. The reality star steered away of her Kardashian/Jenner association and moved on to create a million-dollar cosmetic line. Not to mention, having the most liked picture in Instagram history. Jenner gave us a first look at baby Stormi while maintaining her entrepreneurial stats. Amongst some of the greatest millennial chart toppers, she has shown us that she has more to offer than her appearance. As a proud mom, she is taking social media by storm (no pun intended). The highly favored 21 year old is showing young girls how to make a name for themselves.
Yara Shahidi is gracefully slaying through the entertainment world but staying true to who she is. The young adult has accomplished so much in life at such a young age. For example, this fall she plans to enroll in Harvard to continue her studies. Shahidi is outspoken with her beliefs and values. She has been fortunate enough to speak political activism with powerful women such as Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. In the sitcom Black-ish, starring as Zoey Johnson, she discusses societal issues with her family allowing her to show us that it’s more than a role on television. Shahidi is an inspiration to all girls in which she upholds the figure of being a strong black girl. By being a voice to those that are voiceless, she is the staple of advocating for what you love and believe in.
Ava Duvernay, film director, producer, screenwriter, film marketer and film distributor. What can I say? Duvernay is the “Jack of all trades” when it comes to entertainment. She creates amazing and important work for the world to get in tuned with and isn’t afraid to shake the walls on controversy. If 13th, a documentary film, didn’t bring you to complete tears, then I don’t know what will. She makes her films with passion. In an industry ruled by white men, she is beginning to take the crown. She was the first woman of color to direct a $100 million film, A Wrinkle in Time, starring a little black girl who discovers she can do extraordinary things she didn’t know she could do. Depicted as super powers, this little girl learns she is just amazing on her own. That’s what all movies should aim to teach little girls. We appreciate you Ms. Duvernay.
Nicki Minaj has been in the industry for over 10 years but this year Nicki shows us why she is indefinitely the queen. Titling as her 4th studio album, QUEEN, Minaj has unleashed another side of her that has been hidden. She now holds the most billboard hits than any other female artist. She kept her foot on everyone’s neck as she went into the lab to create this masterpiece. She speaks loud and proud for what she feels. For a long time, she was quiet about all of the rumors and accusations about her relationships and music career. She was often in the spotlight for being provocative. However, with this highly anticipated album, Minaj put to rest all of the rumors with Safaree, Nas and her pen. Having her Barbz as a voice of reasoning, she came back eager and harder as a female in the rap game. Keep shining Nicki.