10 Bold & Talented Black Women Who Have Made History!

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1. Viola Davis

Viola Davis is an African-American actress  and producer. She made history in 2015, when she became the first Black woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She is the only black woman to be nominated for three Academy Awards (Emmy, Oscar and Tony Awards) and is the only black actress or actor to win the Triple Crown of Acting. She was also listed as 100 most influential people in the world in Time magazine. Viola Davis is now 51 yrs old and married with 3 children.

2.  Serena Williams

Serena Williams is a professional African-American tennis player. She continues to make history on her career journey. She was ranked world’s no. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) on July 8th 2002 for the first time and then 6 times later (so 7 times in total). Serena Williams has held a number of records including:

  • Record of 39 major titles (23 singles,14 doubles and 2 mixed doubles)
  • The most recent tennis player to have held all 4 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and her sister Venus Williams also
  • She has 23 Grand Slam singles titles that gives her a record of most Major wins by a tennis player
  • She is also the only tennis player in the world to ever win singles titles at most 6 times in 3 out of 4 of the Grand Slam tournaments
  • The only tennis player to win 2 of the 4 Majors 7 times every time
  • She up to date the only tennis player to win 10 Grand Slam singles titles in 2 different decades, she has a complete record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles
  • She has also won a total of 316 Grand Slam matches
  • She was overall 4 gold medals

Serena Williams is now 35 yrs old and earning $28.9m and she was recently named Sportsperson of the year by Sports Illustrated magazine.

3.  Laverne Cox

Credit: Apega/WENN.com

Laverne Cox is an African- American actress, reality television star, television producer and a LGBT advocate. She made history when she became the first transgender to be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category and was the first since 1990, to be nominated for an Emmy Award since the famous the composer/musician Angela Morley. She also became the first openly transgender to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Laverne Cox is now 32 yrs old and is currently working on her new TV series Doubt, where she is the first openly transgender to have a leading role on a TV series.

4.  Omotola Jalade Ekeinde

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is a talented and accomplished Nigerian actress, singer, philanthropist and former model. She is one of the best and most sought-after Nollywood actresses and has starred in over 100 movies.  She made history when she became the first Nollywood actress to be in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is now 39 yrs old and married with 4 children.

5.  Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah an African-American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model and talk show host. She has been known as an inspiring role model to younger generations since her first music album All Hail The Queen and her first film Jungle Fever.  Queen Latifah first made history when she was the first female hip-hop recording artist to be nominated for an Oscar.  She also recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2011.  Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, an Academy Award nomination and sales of over two million records. Queen Latifah is now 46 yrs old and currently working with Lee Daniels on the television series Star where she plays Carlotta Brown, a mother and the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon.

6.  Simone Biles

Simone Biles is an African-American artistic gymnast. She made history recently by winning a total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals, surpassing famous American gymnast Shannon Miller’s 1996 record of having won the most Olympic and World Championship medals. Simone Biles is now 19 and continuing her Olympic journey.

7.  Mercy Johnson

Mercy Johnson is a renowned and talented Nigerian actress who has starred in over 100 m0vies, making her one of the most sought after Nollywood actresses. She made history 2 years in a row by being listed as Google’s most searched Nollywood celebrity/actress. She is now 32 years old and married with 3 children.

8.  3 inspirational black women from NASA

Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures ? Well, You Should! Hidden Figures is an inspirational film about 3 women who surpassed all the barriers that stopped them from achieving their full potential and dreams.

Dorothy Vaughan

Dorothy Vaughan was an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA. She made history after she fought to get a supervisor role of the West Area Computers at NASA, which made her the first African-American woman to supervise other staff at the center. Dorothy Vaughan has sadly passed away at the golden age of 98 and left behind 4 children, one of who works with NASA.

9.  Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson was an African-American mathematician and an aerospace engineer who worked for NASA. She continued to educate herself when she took extra engineering courses to become NASA first black engineer. Mary Jackson later became a manager of both FWP in NASA’s Office of Equal Opportunity Programs and of the AAP. Mary Jackson is now deceased at the age of 83 leaving behind 2 children.
10.  Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson is an African-American physicist and mathematician who also worked at NASA. Katherine Johnson was always known for her bright mind, so it was no surprise when she made history multiple times. The first time was when she graduated from high school at a tender age of 14 and at 18 year old had already earned her bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and french. She later moved on to work at NASA where she calculated the trajectories, launch windows and emergency back up return paths for the John Glenn and Alan Shepard flights. She received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama and was in the BBC series 100 Women Next Year. She also just made an appearance at the 2017 Oscars where she was honoured with a standing ovation. Katherine Johnson is now 98 yrs old with 3 daughters.


Marie-Paul Duwai-Sowa is the author of MP's Zone, a column to inspire tweens and teens. She loves to write, read, draw and spend time with her family.

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