Top 10 Black Women Revolutionizing Politics and Entertainment

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24:  Angela Rye at day one of Genius Talks, sponsored by AT&T, during the 2017 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BET)

Top 10 Black Women Revolutionizing Politics and Entertainment

We recognize 10 Black women who have shaped and changed the political and entertainment sphere in a positive way.

Published July 19, 2017

  1. Tamron Hall
    TODAY -- Pictured: Tamron Hall appears on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
    (Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

    Tamron Hall is an African-American broadcast journalist who is known for her outstanding work as a news anchor and host for NBC News, Today's Take and Deadline: Crime. Hall has not only shined in front of the camera but behind it as well. She has worked with Today's "Shine a Light" campaign in order to fight against domestic abuse, homelessness and hunger. Last year, she won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her work against domestic abuse. She's also received an Emmy for her NBC News segment on "The Inauguration of Barack Obama."

  2. Angela Rye
    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24:  Attorney Angela Rye attends the YouTube Pre BET Awards Showcase at NeueHouse Hollywood on June 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for YouTube)
    (Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for YouTube)

    Angela Rye is the friend you wish you had when it comes to debate topics. Rye is an attorney and political advocate. She is quick on her feet, intelligent and unapologetically about her business. Rye is known for her brilliant discussions on platforms such as CNN and NPR, where she serves as a political commentator and analyst. Rye has received numerous accolades for her work. She is the definition of a girlboss!

  3. Ava Duvernay
    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 10:  Filmmaker Ava DuVernay attends the after party for the opening night premiere of "Grandma" during the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on June 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
    (Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

    Ava Marie DuVernay is a talented film director who's work has made her an award-winning director. From her film Middle of Nowhere to her work on Selma, she has been dominating as an African-American female director. DuVernay has made history by being the first Black female director to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. She was also the first black film director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Awards for Best Picture. DuVernay's most recent documentary 13th, which was featured on Netflix, discussed racism, slavery and incarceration in the U.S.

  4. Robin Roberts
    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 17:  Robin Roberts arrives at the CoachArt Gala of Champions held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
    (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

    Robin Roberts is a television broadcaster and news anchor for ABC's Good Morning America (GMA). Roberts has been in the industry for over two decades and started working for sports media company ESPN in 1990. Her love for sports goes back to college, where she played basketball at Southeastern Louisiana University. Roberts was a sportscaster for ESPN until 2005, when she officially left to work for GMA. Since she's signed on to the team, GMA's ratings have increased. Roberts has not only shown her strength through work but in her personal life as well. She has powered through dealing with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome. Her courageousness doesn't go unnoticed as she has received numerous awards, such as ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2013. Roberts is definitely a role model for women in entertainment.

  5. Aja Brown
    BURBANK, CA - MAY 17:  Mayor Aja Brown attends Compton Jr. Posse 7th annual fundraiser gala at The Los Angeles Equestrian Center on May 17, 2014 in Burbank, California.  (Photo: John Sciulli/WireImage)
    (Photo: John Sciulli/WireImage)

    Aja Brown is a politician who made history by being Compton's youngest elected mayor at age 31. Recently, the now-35-year-old swept up another victory by winning a second term as the city's mayor. Brown has focused her efforts on improving the Compton community by reducing gang violence, domestic violence and working on the city's economic/infrastructure development. In 2014, she founded Compton Empowered. It is a community-based gang reduction initiative that aims to empower ex-gang members to take back their neighborhoods through positive practices. Brown has been committed to Compton's community and has been a staple in improved quality of life for Compton.

  6. Laverne Cox
    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 30: Actress Laverne Cox attends The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. 25650_018  (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner)
    (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner)

    Larvene Cox is a successful African-American actress who has made waves in entertainment by being the first openly transgender person to be nominated and win numerous awards. Cox is also the first openly transgender person to have a wax figure of herself at Madam Tussaud's Wax Musem. She is no stranger to television, gaining increased popularity by playing Sophia Burset in Netlfix's hit original series Orange Is the New Black. Her accolades don't stop at just a wax figure, though. She was also the first transgender person to appear on the cover Time Magazine! Cox is a a phenomenal actress and also spends her time as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and their rights. 

  7. Maxine Waters
    PLAYA DEL REY, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Congresswoman Maxine Waters attends Michelle Alexander VIP Reception And Justice On Trial Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University on October 20, 2013 in Playa del Rey, California.  (Photo: Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
    (Photo: Vivien Killilea/WireImage)

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters is an unapologetic politician who stands up for what’s right. Starting her career in the late 1960s, Waters took the California Assembly and Congress by storm. Her efforts aided many Americans and created ways for united advancements for all. Through her work, she’s raised millions of dollars for economic and infrastructure development in cities as well as money for HIV/AIDS causes. Waters is a champion for all domestically and abroad. She worked to expand U.S. debt relief for Africa and other developing nations. Her tenaciousness makes her who she is and we truly admire her.

  8. Angela Yee
    MIAMI BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 17:  Angela Yee attends Revolt Music Conference at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on October 17, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida.  (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/FilmMagic)
    (Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/FilmMagic)

    Angela Yee is a radio host and personality for New York's Power 105.1 FM station. Yee started her radio career in 2005 on Eminem's radio station, Shade 45, on Sirius Radio. After a five-year stint with the station and hosting her own "Morning After With Angela Yee" segment, Yee left to pursue larger dreams. In December of 2010, Yee started hosting The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy. The show began national syndication in 2013 and is featured in major cities such as Miami, Houston, Seattle and more. Yee has also managed a few recording artists, including GZA and Jay Electronica, and helped negotiate Electronica's deal with Roc Nation. Her work in the industry has made her a leading lady in radio entertainment.

  9. Zain Asher
    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29:  News anchor Zain Asher speaks on stage during The Africa-America Institute hosts Future Leaders Legacy Fund Awards gala on September 29, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for The Africa-America Institute)
    (Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for The Africa-America Institute)

    Zain Asher is Nigerian and British news anchor for CNN International. Asher started her career as a business correspondent with CNN in 2013. Prior to working for CNN, Asher received her Masters in Journalism from Columbia University. Asherwas also a full-time reporter for Money. Success runs through Asher's family, as she is the younger sister to actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who you might know from his work in 12 Years a Slave. Asher is one of the few Black female anchors on CNN and she is definitely killin' it!

  10. Shonda Rhimes
    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Producer Shonda Rhimes attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)
    (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)

    Shonda Rhimes is a television producer, screenwriter and creator for many hit TV shows. Some of her hit shows include ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Rhimes's brilliance shines through the shows she creates and executive produces like How to Get Away With Murder. Rhimes has helped to change the way Black women are portrayed on TV by providing powerful leading roles. Rhimes was named one of Time Magazine's 100 People Who Help Shape the World in 2007. Rhimes continues to create platforms for African-American women in TV and is a trailblazer in her own right.

Written by Essie Acolatse


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