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Shonda, Beyoncé, Halle, Ava, and all the Other Badass Black Girls in Entertainment (1994-Now)

Dear Badass Black Girl,

Two weeks ago, you got to meet 8 Badass Trailblazers in Entertainment (1900–1969) and, a few days later, I introduced you to 8 more Badass Black Girls (1970-1989) in the industry.

As #CreativeSmartGirl points out, "the entertainment industry isn't one known for always being so diverse. But despite the obstacles, Black women always find a way to show up and show out, [...] breaking barriers in media, TV, film and music, and inspiring girls all over."

Here are more names to add to your list of #BadassBlackGirls. Keep these talented women on your radar!

1994. Darnell Martin was the first Black American woman to direct a major studio’s movie. She directed Columbia Pictures’ I Like It Like That.

fl. 1995. Shonda Rhimes, best known for the television drama, Grey’s Anatomy, became the first woman to create three hit shows with more than a hundred episodes each.

2001. Beyoncé Knowles became the first Black American woman to win the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Pop Music Songwriter of the Year.

2002. Halle Berry gave an emotional acceptance speech after becoming the first Black American actress to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Monster’s Ball. She thanked Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Jada Pinkett Smith, and a slew of other Black actresses. She dedicated her Oscar to “…every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

2004. Phylicia Rashad, popular from her role as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, was the first Black actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the remake of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

2009. Anika Noni Rose, a film and Broadway actress, was the voice actress behind Princess Tiana, Disney’s first Black animated princess, in The Princess and the Frog.

fl. 2011. Issa Rae became the first Black woman to create and star in a premium cable series. She is the creator and star of HBO’s hit series, Insecure.

2014. Ava DuVernay became the first Black woman to direct a film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar—Selma. She is also the first Black female director to win the director’s prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

2014. Quvenzhané Wallis made history as the youngest actress ever to receive a nomination for an Oscar for Best Actress for her role as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. She also made history when she became the first Black actress to play the lead role in Annie in the 2014 motion picture remake.

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Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers ─ A Daily Dose of Inspiration for Badass Black Girls

Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes in this journal designed for teenage girls. By reflecting on these topics, readers confront the issues that can hold them back from living their lives.

Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, self-motivation, and positive self-awareness. This journal celebrates girl power and honors the strength and spirit of black girls.

Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek not just to inspire, but to ignite discussion and debate about the world. Girls, especially, are growing up in a world that tries to tell them how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages readers to fight the flow and determine for themselves who they want to be.

  1. Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations.

  2. Learn more about yourself through intensive and insightful journaling.

  3. Resist the mold that outside opinions have put into place, and become comfortable and confident in embracing your authentic self.


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