Pioneer Women: Black Entertainers Who Did It First

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  • Beyonce, Vanessa Williams
  • Cheryl Boone Isaacs
  • Halle Berry
  • Beyoncè
  • Tyra Banks
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Esther Rolle
  • Cicely Tyson
  • Beverly Johnson
  • Ethel Waters
  • Whitney Houston
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Hattie McDaniel

Halle Berry

Berry made history in 2002 as the first Black woman to ever win the Best Actress award at the Oscars (for her performance in Monster's Ball). But it was her emotional acceptance speech that grabbed headlines the following day. Said Berry, "This moment is so much bigger than me. It's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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