Happy International Women's Day ladies! Ruth Mumbi once stated "When you empower a woman, you empower the whole world". Over the last year, we have found this statement to be true as we drew inspiration from women smashing barries and shining a light on others with their platforms. The Women of the Year in 2020 as follows:
1. Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle is an American activist, actress and all round superwoman who highlights and fights inequality and injustice by highlighting and supporting notable causes. She is married to Prince Harry and together, they started the organisation, Sussex Royal to complement existing charitable foundations and advance the solutions the world needs most.
She harnesses her position and exposure for good and her key actions include guest editing a Forces for Change Article with Vogue which highlights 15 women making positive impact to various sectors and promoting Smart Works, an initiative which provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.
In a United Nations Women's Conference, she stated "Women make up more than half the worlds population and potential so it is neither just nor practical for our voices to go unheard at the highest levels of decision making...women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there, and in some cases, where this is not available, well then, you know what, they need to create their own table." We couldn't agree more.
Meghan and Prince Harry are to be financially independent in 2020 which means this superwoman may be coming to our screens in the near future doing her original love, acting. Projects in the pipeline include a voiceover in a documentary for Walt Disney and attendance at the MET Gala 2020. Her back to work projects will be balanced with her ongoing charitable work at Sussex Royal. We are excited for this new chapter and have a feeling the best is yet to come.
2. Beyonce Knowles Carter
Beyonce is an Ameican singer, actress and philanthropist who is one of the most influential artists of our time. From issuing scholarships to creating documentaries focussed on issues facing minorities, this Queen Bey does not shy away from making people face the realities of injustice through her artistry.
She is a passionate about ensuring women understand that there are no limits to what they can achieve and says "We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible."
3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist who is dedicated to writing impactful stories from the unique perspective of Africans. She says “The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried they will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being too sensitive.”
By virtue of becoming renowned worldwide for honest and bold stance on important issues and her unique stories, she is a woman who inspires us.
4. Kim Kardashian West
Kim Kardashian West is an Armenian American business woman, television star and rights activist passionate about criminal justice reform.
She has used her platform to highlight the injustices faced by wrongly imprisoned people. and advocated on behalf of many including women to the government raising the alarm to hundreds of millions of fans and followers on social media.
She is presently taking the California Bar and due to take her exams in 2022 to enable her to continue the work she has began on criminal justice reform as an attorney. We wish her the best of luck on her wonder woman goals.
5. Marsai Martin
Marsai Martin is an American actress producer who at the age of 13 became the youngest person in Hollywood to ever produce a movie.
By working hard, she is an inspiration to many young people which is her goal. She says “We just want to inspire young kids like us that they can do anything. ” She is doing a great job illustrating the principle.
Marsai is due to produce another movie with Universal Pictures in 2020 and that other projects in the pipeline including another movie, Queen. In addition, she is due to continue in her role in Blackish tackling issues important to black women such as embracing our hair types. We look forward to enjoying all her shades of black girl magic.
Lizzo is an American singer, songwriter and body positivity advocate who challenges stereotypes on what is acceptable for plus size women in society to wear.
In addition to being an award winning singer, Lizzo's confidence inspires women around the world to have the freedom to dress to please themselves rather than society. She is courageous in speaking out, most recently to Tik Tok challenging their decision to take down her picture in a bathing suit and highlighting the same rules did not apply to thinner women. We respect a woman who stands up for herself because she paves the way for the next woman. She says "Who I am, and the essence of me, and the things that I choose to do as a grown-ass woman, can inspire you to do the same. They don’t have to be like me – you need to be like you, and never ever let somebody stop you or shame you from being yourself"
Rihanna is an American singer, businesswoman and philanthropist who is the richest musician in the world as at March 2020. She is a trendsetter who breaks the mould on what is acceptable in the fashion, beauty and music industry
From creating the most diverse range of foundation colours through her brand Fenty Beauty to embracing a wide variety of sizes and shapes through her fashion empire, Rihanna constantly changes the status quo and challenges other brands to do the same. Her success highlights the need to create products for individuals previously marginalised by fashion and beauty brands. In addition, she advocates publicly for the rights of those who are fighting injustices in society and encourages the world to unite in doing so saying "If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together. We can’t do it divided. I can not emphasize that enough. We can’t let the desensitivity seep in. The ‘If it’s your problem, then it’s not mine.’ ‘It’s a woman’s problem.’ ‘It’s a black people problem.’ ‘It’s a poor people problem... How many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands? They want to break bread with you, right? They like you? Well then, this is their problem too. So when we’re marching and protesting and posting ... tell your friends to pull up."
8. Teni the Entertainer
Teni is an award winning Nigerian singer and entertainer who is an advocate for being comfortable in your skin.
Her music has arrived with a bang and her stance challenging stereotypes of what society expects her to look like is refreshing. She takes her responsibility as a role model seriously and strives to ensure she presents the most authentic version of herself.
9. Adut Akech
Adut Akech is an award winning South-Sudanese Australian model breaking down walls in the fashion industry by being a resounding success.
Adut confesses that it was extremely difficult entering the fashion world knowing she looked different to most models. Her beautiful ebony skin would stand out against the ivory skin that floods the runway even today. Despite this, she chose to pursue her dreams and contribute to breaking down barriers for little black girls who would like to be exactly like her. During her journey to success, she struggled with depression and shared this with her followers despite the taboo nature of such topics in fashion. Her honesty and courage are to be applauded and we cannot wait to see what comes next for this melanin queen.
10. Ava Duvernay
Ava Duvernay is an American writer, director and producer who has smashed records by winning an Emmy, Bafta and Peabody Awards.
Ava has constantly created standards for herself above and beyond the realm of what is expected. She says “I'm not going to continue knocking that old door that doesn't open for me. I'm going to create my own door and walk through that.” This attitude has led to her being a record breaker and what makes it more special is the fact her shows and movies tell stories which need to be told from the perspective of black people.