Ava DuVernay at the New York Film Festival premiere of her Netflix documentary “13th.” (Marion Curtis/Netflix)
In her book I’m Every Woman: Remixed Tales of Marriage, Motherhood and Work, Lonnae O’Neal wrote, “It’s not that I think black women have all the answers — only that we have struggled with the questions longer.” These words are as prescient and applicable to our present situation under the Despot-in-Chief as they are to the work-family life (im)balance O’Neal was writing about over a decade ago.
Since our foremothers were forced onto these shores, we’ve struggled with questions about freedom and survival, justice and equity, truth and lies. Long before we took to the streets and corporate boardrooms and courtrooms and classrooms and concert stages, the struggle lived in our bodies and in our children’s bodies, on auction blocks and in cold shanties.
No, we don’t have all the answers. But we’ve been living and loving and creating and fighting and figuring out how to make a way out of no way longer than anybody.
So listen up.
Here are 20 Black women activists, artists, scholars and all-around bad-asses who are showing up and showing out, speaking truth to power.
sociologist, professor, author
In her own words: “I’m Not Your Racial Confessor”
scholar, writer, educator, artist
In her own words: “Our cynicism will not build a movement. Collaboration will.”
photo credit: Heather Mull
visual and performance artist
In her own words: On fearlessness and black art
author, social commentator
In her own words: “Some of Us are Brave: The Failure of White Feminism”
president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
organizer, educator, curator, writer
author, Black Girl Dangerous creator
In her own words: “Real solidarity doesn’t require an audience or a pat on the back.”
filmmaker, musician, speaker, activist
In her own words: “Being students of history will help us not be fools in the present.”
civil rights activist, educator, consultant, non-profit leader
In her own words: “What’s Next After All the Marches? Organize.”
blogger, civil rights advocate
writer, disability rights consultant and advocate
photo credit: Kid Fury
writer, pop culture commentator