The women on this list represent a vast spectrum of excellence: From #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke to Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter; from corporate women shattering glass ceilings to the countless women dismantling white supremacy. These women consistently leave their mark on their respective communities and industries.
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1 of 90 Andrew H. Walker
A noted poet, Alexander was recently appointed president of the Mellon Foundation—the largest fund of
its kind in the country. In addition to supporting the nonprofit’s humanities-driven agenda, Alexander has been tasked with bringing more diversity into the fold.
2 of 90 Aaron Smalls
Following the forceful removal of a young Black girl from her classroom, Anderson established an organization to shine a light on the state of our youth. The #everyblackgirl campaign raises awareness of violence and other societal issues impacting our children in schools, the foster-care system and juvenile detention centers.
3 of 90 Elliot & Erick
With self-care at a premium, the founder of Black Girl in Om brings healing to the masses. The uniquely targeted podcast she cohosts is dedicated to all things wellness and acts as an ongoing love letter to women of color.
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Chloe and Halle Bailey
The energetic siblings have created music for years, but with the release of their much-anticipated debut album, The Kids Are Alright, Beyoncé’s protégés are pushing for major change through their chosen art.
5 of 90 Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
After realizing that the erasure of Black women was a societal problem, the Northeastern University professor came up with the term misogynoir in 2010. Like Bailey, it addresses race and gender bias. Through her life’s work, she also explores culture and sexuality.
6 of 90 Ian J. Young
Neisha Tweed Bell
Beyond her role at the tech giant, Bell brings more diverse faces to the industry through various initiatives. The former copywriter is a master collaborator who’s passionate about inclusivity and mentorship in the industry.
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Long before #MeToo became a movement, the senior director at Girls for Gender Equity coined the phrase as a sign of support for victims of sexual assault. The civil rights activist continues her advocacy to help young women of color beat
the odds and thrive.
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Also known as Mama Caxx, the Haitian-American blogger and model promotes self-love to her 137,000 Instagram followers. The fearless amputee also works to dismantle the stereotypical image of what people with disabilities look like.
9 of 90 Burley, Jarrod Anderson. Goodwin, Jacques Samson. Ford, Bobbi Digital.
JAMIRA BURLEY, ERICA FORD and AMBER GOODWIN AND THE WOMEN OF THE COMMUNITY JUSTICE REFORM COALITION
Under the umbrella of a national advocacy coalition, these women, who are each dynamic in their own right, have come together to confront inequities in the criminal justice system. Advisory board members Burley and Goodwin, along with speakers bureau member Ford, work passionately on training programs and events to reduce gun violence in the Black community.
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After her 5-year-old son died, Burton went into a downward spiral, eventually being imprisoned on drug charges. She now shares her story in Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women and visits prisons nationwide to inspire women to rise higher.