Magical Melanin: 25 Black Women Who Are Killing It Right Now

Black women are truly under-appreciated. But whether they’re grabbing Oscar nominations or becoming CEOs, they continue to slay every day and make no apologies for it.

In honor of Black History Month, Galore put together a list, in no particular order, of 25 young Black creatives who are making moves in 2017. They’re the women currently bringing their unique brand of Black Girl Magic to media, fashion and the arts. We asked them to weigh in on self-love, dealing with haters, and some of the issues that affect black women today.

Interviews by Tonya Burks, Gabrielle Noel, Kayla Jackson, Taylor Winter Wilson, Keely Quinlan, and Esther Faciane

1. Shan “Boody” Boodram

Shan Boody is a sexologist and author whose opinion is so trusted, she’s been a guest on “The View.” Shan Boody’s openness about sex and relationships is something to admire. As an educator, she creates content through her YouTube channel to promote sexual empowerment. She’s a woman who’s definitely not afraid to go there.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic to me means respect, reverence and admiration. Because I exist on the end of the spectrum of visually what it means to be a black woman I thank God that I am blessed enough to be included! I am a fan of black women, I am a listener to black women, I am a student of black women — that magic is intangible and insatiable.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Laying in bed until I can’t anymore! I have never been a morning person and the greatest gift I have given myself is working my ass off and making the right decisions so I don’t have to be. In the morning myself and my partner lay, cuddle, look at our phones, make coffee/ tea, talk THEN get up. It sets the pace for my day and life frankly.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

I would tell them to read Charlotte’s Web. You have to be your own biggest fan, your own PR agent, your own campaign manager. If you don’t believe it no one else will. Nothing has affirmed this lesson more for me than knowing and working with Winnie Harlow so closely since the beginning of her career. She didn’t always have the fans, the affirmation and the career but she always had this attitude: I am unbelievably stunning! Look at me!

What issue is most important to you?

The stand with Planned Parenthood and women’s rights to make decisions on our bodies. I can’t believe I still have to type this!

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

Most of the time the vocal hate I get for my race comes from within the black community. I’ve struggled with this my whole life but as I get older I try to exercise more understanding and more self-insight as to why that is. All of my life no one has loved me more than black women and at times no one has hated me more, but all the love is worth the negativity. And the negativity is really a unique opportunity to finally get it right by listening and learning.

2. Diamond White

Diamond White, 18, has been all over TV and movies, from “The X Factor” to “The Big Bang Theory.” She’s just starting to making a name for herself, so make sure you keep an eye on her.

What does black girl magic mean to you?
It means everything. We glow. Growing up, I didn’t realize how beautiful my skin was but little me would be so proud of me now for realizing that my skin is the crown that makes me a goddess.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
Honestly, if my hair is slayed and laid I feel like I can do anything.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?
Honestly, everything that Trump is doing right now. It’s concerning to me because I am a minority and a piece of my heart feels for everyone in his direct line of fire.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?
Nina Simone because she inspired and moved people with her voice and sang about real problems happening in the world around her.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
I see my friends. We usually end up plotting and planning for more world domination.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
It would be, “I’ve felt exactly the same way you do. But guess what? You won’t feel that way forever. Don’t compare yourself to anyone anymore because one single person can’t define what beauty is. Beauty is not what you’re told it is, its what you make and believe it to be.”

3. Brittany Sky

Native New York DJ Brittany went from breaking new music with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden to opening for hot artists such as Future and creating mixes for brand heavy hitters such as Beats by Dre, Adidas, and Jordan.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic to me is an organized cluster of women who both celebrate, and embrace one another for their beauty, victories, and vitality. “Black Girl Magic” is based on loving yourself, and showing the future generation of black girls that we matter, and through hard work we/she can have it all!

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

You’re beautiful! People see beauty the way they want, but first and foremost, I think you need to find it in yourself. Find something in you that you love most about yourself and start to embrace it! The moment you find your confidence is the moment people will start to see the same beautiful things you see. There was a point in time when I didn’t feel beautiful, because I didn’t look like all the other kids in my school. As I got older I noticed that they championed our culture based off of the music they listened to, the way they dressed, and even some of their behavioral traits. Girl, there are so many people that look like you out here, wear your melanin as a form of merit.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

No, not at all! I think it’s more of a sexist thing. Men have been have been in power for so long. However, I’m proud to say women have more of a voice now than ever. I think theres a good amount of powerful black women in leadership positions, but we could always use more.  The pressure’s on ladies! I most certainly think we could use more women role models within our race.

I’m trying to put the pressure on myself to be a good role model!

Photographer: Visuals By Pierre

4. Tizita Balemlay

She’s a 22-year-old stylist who started her own clothing line, PluggedNYC, a year ago. Her designs have already been seen on celeb favs like Rihanna, Lil Yachty and Keke Palmer. This is just the beginning for her with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic to me is when an African American woman embraces her ethnicity and uses it to empower her daily decisions. Black girl magic is when a black woman takes on the world with no fear, giving it her all, overcoming any obstacles thrown at her.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

Women being taken seriously in the workforce. As a designer, this is a problem I’m facing frequently. I am not taken seriously, the same way a male would because of my sexuality. Being a woman designer/stylist, I find it hard to get the opposite sex to take me seriously and want to work with me strictly for styling business. I find that my sexuality is also something that draws clients to my work. But it disappoints me when others interpret that as an advantage. As a business woman I want to be respected and needed for my talents, not for my looks.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

No skin color is ugly, and one skin color is not more beautiful than the other! Embrace what you cannot change because that’s what makes you unique. To be honest…when I was younger I remember coming home and telling my mom, “Sometimes I wish I was white so they wouldn’t all think they were better than me.” I played a lot of sports growing up and a majority of my team would be Caucasian. I was always the only African American on the team and if I got lucky sometimes there would possibly be one other girl. I found that I was underestimated on my lacrosse team in particular because lacrosse was considered a “white sport” as my father would say. But I always loved playing it and being the only black girl on the team motivated me to be better.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models? 

Yes, I do feel like as black women we do have more pressure on us to be good role models. We have so many negative stereotypes that undermine our intelligence, independence, and power. I feel like there are more things black women have to prove to the world than others in terms of overcoming barriers.

5. Samia Hamps

Featured on Urban Outfitters’s Class of 2017 list, Samia is a model, student, and feminist. She’s unapologetic about her views on the world.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Being proud of yourself, your race, your hair, unapologetically 100%

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Dorothy Dandridge, she was such a stunning force, love her.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

Bubble tea, face masks, and Korean dramas for sure. Chilling in my room by myself or with my favorite people.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

Oh yeah, if they can’t or refuse to be educated, I just ignore them. There’s no point in feeding into hate and ignorance. It would be like arguing with a wall.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

Definitely, seeing leaders, activists, successful people who look like you gives you that extra push and hope to also achieve your dreams. So even if your intention wasn’t to be a role model or a leader, you end up being a face for a young girl or person who aspires to be in your position. Once you realize that, its hard to knowingly be reckless as you don’t want to ruin the positive messages that come along with your spot. You have to realize many people end up looking to you for guidance.

6. Aleali May

Fashion blogger, image consultant, and model Aleali is a fashion force to be reckoned with. She has worked with Adidas, Nike, and Audi USA. Intrigued? Check out her blog.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic to me means a female with a strong, high state of life. She is a forward thinker, she’s independent and she’s in tune with herself. A Goddess!

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Every morning I spend at least 15 minutes by myself, whether it’s using the time to pray and meditate or to sit in silence. In order to get sh*t done, I need to get in touch with myself first. I feel like it’s so necessary to people to spend time alone.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

The development of youth is so important as we lead the future generations to come. Being a young person in today’s society can be very confusing and we may face obstacles that seem hard to break through. I personally feel an overflow of emotions being a young woman with Filipino and African American ancestry. There are so many outlets in our culture that tug and pull us in different ways, I feel like it’s important to remind ourselves that our opinion matters. We must learn to think for ourselves and build strong relationships with others. By spreading awareness on the battles we fight for women, minorities, peace and love for humankind, patience and uplifting one another, we can make great causes!

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Throughout history, there are so many Women of Color I feel drawn to. Whether it’s my inner Goddess that is attached to Cleopatra, Aaliyah’s tomboy aesthetic that speaks on inner beauty, Missy Elliott for breaking the mold and showcasing individuality, my inner Michelle Obama that reminds me when my grandmother would say “you need to be a strong, independent black  woman,” or my grandmother herself. There is one quote I never forget by Kelis, “Shattered glass ceilings and plastic expectations, coloring inside the lines is so not cool. Leave that to the conformists.”

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

Young women have such an important role in society and self love is the best love. The more knowledgable we become the more we are able to share our experiences with other young women fighting the same battles. As a young girl I struggled with this and sometimes you literally have to shake things off. I’ve learned that the moment we go looking for something outside of ourselves is the moment we veer off the right road. But no one can love yourself the way you can. Log off social media step out into nature, write down things you love about yourself, read, treat yourself to a manicure, have a sleepover with your best girlfriends. Make a vow to yourself! My mentor says, “When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success.” On the other hand, if you think, “This is never going to work out, then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight.”

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

Growing up around strong women of color, has only led me to know that Women of Color are the strongest. Under more pressure? I don’t think so, and if we are then bring it on. ‘Cause pressure makes diamonds!

7. Zoe Lawrence

Through her photography she’s showcases women of color amazingly in their most truest form. Being a regular contributor to Rookie Mag and coming off of her own art exhibition at last year’s Art Basel, we only see Zoe rising from here.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
A cup of green tea in the morning definitely puts me in the right mindset to get through my day. Without it, I’m a zombie.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?
I’ve definitely been thinking a lot more critically about immigration now that the refugee ban is in place. Most of my family are immigrants so it cuts a little deep. Right now Muslims are being scrutinized but anyone could be next. I’ve been watching a lot of films (I highly recommend Yasmin Falafel House and REFUGE)  that deal with immigration. I’m mostly just trying to gain some perspective on what a move to America means for some. For a lot of immigrants- my family included, America is a place of promise. It’s disheartening to have a man in power that doesn’t care about how powerful a move to the US can improve someones quality of life.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
Cartoons! I like anything that has an existentialist quality to it. Shows like “Steven Universe” and “Bojack Horseman” have gotten me out of so many ruts because of their relatability. “Bojack Horseman,” for example, tackles a lot of subject matter dealing with depression and recovery. I appreciate any show that can find a balance between humor and the things we don’t like to talk about (i.e mental illness).      

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. I still have moments of insecurities myself when it comes to my skin but something that really helps me is objectifying those insecurities and really understanding that any negative self-talk I’m experiencing because of my skin color is because of the conditioning around me. Try and remember that you were taught to feel ashamed of your skin whenever those feelings are coming up and be gentle with yourself until those (false) messages subside.

8. Elexus Jionde a.k.a Lexual

The founder of Intelexual Media educates us on black history every month, not just Black History Month. Stay tuned because she’s releasing two new projects in the next six months on black oppression and sexuality.

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Black Girl Magic is carefree black excellence. When you’re a magical black girl, you do what you love or what matters without needing the approval of others. You dont dim your light or diminish your talents for people who think you should exist quietly or demurely.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?
Black education… which will lead to black progression. I know that my purpose in life is to educate and inspire as many black people as possible to advance the black race socially, politically, and economically. I want to educate them about their history and patterns of American racism, inspire them to help advance each other instead of stunt on each other, and come up as a unit. For a long time we’ve pretended like America doesn’t have a race problem but the past few years have made it clear that it does. Black people (specifically those with the social, political, and economic advantages the rest of us don’t have) all need to be armed with the same helpful knowledge to get ahead, and that’s where I come in. Im here to make all the things I read about in jargon stuffed academic journals, longwinded editorials, and stuffy college textbooks accessible to the masses. I’m here to get them amped about learning and progressing.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?
Haha yes. I get called an angry black woman, I’ve been told I should be working in a field for someones ancestors, and been told I should be hung up from trees. However, I ignore statements like these because I know they come from idiots who refuse to see this country’s race problems and racists who refuse to change. Because i’ve built all of my opinions on fact, I don’t care about the opinions of idiots and racists. I do thank them for all the free promo however.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
Yes, I definitely feel that pressure. After the thread I did about black history and 9/11 went viral on twitter, I got about 27,000 new followers. People applauded me for the thread but some of the new followers were shocked that in addition to tweeting about history, social issues, and politics, I tweet about sex, post nearly nude pictures, and use vulgar language. Someone much later even tried to blackmail me into sending them money so that they wouldn’t reveal I was a cam girl for a short time in 2016. They guessed that I would pay up because “former sex worker” and “historian/activist” don’t exactly go hand in hand. But they didn’t know that I already told all of my twitter followers about my former job.

When I did, most of my followers didn’t care, but I did lose some who told me “I thought you had class” or “You’re just another black sexpot.” Another guy even asked me how I expected to educate black people and “be naked on the internet”. It’s ridiculous that my sexuality negates my intelligence for some… especially when all I want to do is advance and educate my people. Its funny how I never asked to be a role model, but I’m kind of grateful that its shaping up to be that way. Ill show all the young black women who feel forced to choose between being openly intelligent and openly sexually liberated that you can be both. Just because Im raunchy doesn’t cancel out my bachelors degree in history from The Ohio State University or the progress I’ve made in making more people aware of America’s true racial history. But then again, I’m not surprised that some people cant grasp that. My second book (dropping Summer 2017) is about the history of black people and sexuality; and will tackle sexist respectability politics along with topics like homophobia, ebony porn, and family against the backdrop of American racism.

9. Briana Wilson

She went from just having an Instagram boutique to creating a major online presence with her brand “Working Girl” in just two years. Her pieces have been seen on the likes of Bella Hadid, Karrueche, and Kim Kardashian. She has also been featured in TheFader.com and Vogue.com.

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Black people have been through so much, and women have been through so much. So, I definitely believe to be alive as a black woman is to be resilient, matter of fact I think we’re all miracles.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
I wake up suuuuper early (5-7 a.m.) even if I don’t start my day until 12 or 1 because I like to have the extra time to do whatever I want.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?
I love Nina Simone. Not only for her talent but for how outspoken she was at a time when that was a rarity for black women. I’m very inspired by black women that were still able to create lives for themselves in the 50s/60s.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
Binge watching a TV show until I pass out.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
Look around baby, we’re beautiful. I make the conscious effort to use women of color for my campaigns to reinforce this.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?
Not necessarily “haters” but I can definitely tell that I’m seen as a target to some people. They think because I’m a young black woman that I’m in turn uneducated or unqualified.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
I don’t know what good or bad really is anymore. I don’t feel pressured but I do want to showcase MY way to “make it” which is more about believing in yourself vs acting a certain way. I do feel responsible for this which is why I just launched my new women empowerment brand “Working Girl” @girlsworking where I’m creating content & clothes to inspire the working girl.

10. Alivia Latimer

Based in LA, Alivia is a free spirited actress and photographer. Through her lens, she captures 100% authentic moments of life. Her work has been recognized by MTV and the Huffington Post.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

A part of my daily routine that is absolutely necessary to get work done is my to-do list. I only allow myself to put five tasks on my to-do list each day. This minimalistic approach helps me focus on what’s important and time sensitive as opposed to being overwhelmed by having too much to do.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

An issue I care about right now is diversity on social media, especially within the space of photographers on Instagram. I actually wrote a blog post about it here.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

After a successful day of taking over the world, I enjoy listening to classical music whilst sipping a hot cup of mint tea, usually accompanied by a phone call with a friend to chat about life!

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

If you struggle with self love because of your skin color, stop. Start embracing who you are and striving everyday to become a better version of yourself. No one can tell you what you can and cannot achieve, especially because of the color of your skin.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

I feel that all individuals in any sort of spotlight have pressure to be good role models, regardless of their skin color. However, being a women does require an extra layer of confidence and will power to be a living example that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to; regardless of race, gender, age, background, and so on.

11. Ashley Blaine Featherson

Get ready to see this young star rise in the upcoming Netflix’s original “Dear White People” this spring. We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of her on the small and bug screen.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

 Black Girl Magic means embracing my skin, hair, features, body, talents, imperfections & intellect while embracing my ethnicity, femininity and heritage unapologetically.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

 My TO-DO List. I have been writing a to-do list since I learned how to read and write!

 Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models? 

Yes, I do think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models. It is a role that I proudly accept. Film and television are the most effective and widespread forms of mass communication. As an actress that means that with a single role, comment or visual I am able to inspire millions. I want young women of every race, creed & socioeconomic background to be able to look at me and say, “If Ashley did it, I can do!”

12. Taylour Paige

The dancer and actress used to star on VH1’s Hit The Floor, but she takes to Instagram and Twitter daily to sprinkle positivity and self love on our feeds.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Daily routine absolutely HAS to start off with naming off what I’m grateful for. It gets me excited for my day and helps me keep things in perspective especially when I’m still sleepy. It could be anything from, “my bed, the sun, the trees, my dog, my man, my opportunities, my agents,” whatever. I do this all the time and it’s really beautiful how endless the list really is. Gratitude is key. Then a glass of water. Then coffee. And lately I blast Bill Withers LOVELY DAY while I shower. 

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

There are obviously so many issues going on right now. What’s most consistent with me, is caring about people loving themselves which gives us all space to leave each other. I think that we live in a world rooted in fear and we’re all hysterical and moving too fast. I think that in this very obvious dark time i.e. the Muslim ban (which quite honestly gets me choked up everytime I talk about it), human rights (which means WOMEN, people of color, LGBT community), everyone being targeted, criticized, scrutinized, or told they don’t matter is what kills me the most. But it’s all birthing this wave of union I’ve never seen before. It’s like this dark cloud has become this catalyst of change for those who really care but have maybe never said much about it till now.

In other words without sounding too existential, instead of allowing it to consume us in fear, it’s a huge opportunity to love even deeper, harder and louder. It’s an opportunity for this huge shift in consciousness and I think that begins with how we talk to ourselves and each other. I’ve learned what it quite literally means to be the change you wish to see. It’s interesting how such destruction can birth such renewal. I’ve also learned that no amount of anger, can change an angry person only light can do that. No amount of poor can make another poor person more prosperous. We have to start with ourselves, we have to start with being the light and love ANYWAY. 

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

It’s absolutely 1826373633 percent impossible to pick one woman of color that I admire most. I’ve always always admired Maya Angelou. I watch her videos on YouTube all the time. I feel like she is a literal angel who just came to teach us some shit and return to heaven. I love women who inspire us, who remind us to love ourselves. To love the skin we’re in. All of that being said, I have always looked up to my grandma Mary. She’s a tough Creole lady, who sometimes stumbles over her English and sill makes more sense than I’ll ever be able to. She’s beautiful, confident, hilarious, and in my darkest moments has reminded me to let shit go. She enjoys her life. She keeps God first. She’s confident and forgiving of her mistakes. She lives. I want to be just like that. 

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

I don’t know about haters and race. I’d like to think I’m so committed to loving me and so committed to being a signal of positive attraction that I hardly notice who hates me anymore. I dealt with some silly stuff in high school like we all do in some capacity but it hasn’t been detrimental to how I really look at myself. You know anyone targeting race, or targeting something they don’t like about you has everything to do with the person and not you. I did recently ask a makeup artist about the best foundation to use, and she accused me of lightening my skin which was pretty silly and false. It’s not so much race as it is, we sometimes give even those within our race a hard time about things we assume. It’s weird. We’ve got to stop the self hate and stop the shooting each other down. Stop the gossiping. Stop anything that isn’t resonating in light and truth and kindness. When you find yourself comparing, assuming, screen-shotting, talking badly about another being, I think it’s important to ask yourself what part of you isn’t healed and go deeper to that space. That’s HOW we become the change, that’s how our current president doesn’t divide us. Thats how we grow and evolve. That’s what the women I’ve always deeply admired have left for all of us to strive to. 

13. Renell Medrano 

New York based photographer Renell has shot for Elle Magazine, ASAP Ferg, Kylie Jenner, and Bella Hadid. You can catch more of her most recent work, “Untitled Youth,” on her website, where she captured young girls from her hometown in the Bronx.

What part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Music!

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

I try to get lost by watching movies and editing.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

You’re beautiful and someone out there is wishing to be you. Remember that.

14. Elle Jones

Owner of Senoj Studios Hair Company, Elle is young mogul on the rise. Through her company, she guarantees that you’ll throw out that perception of “only grandmas wear wigs” because with her seamless, hand stitched wigs, your grandma would wish she had a wig like this!

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Black Girl magic is the idea of us African American women tapping into our deepest potential & allowing the hate and opinions of the world around us to fuel our passions in a beautiful way. And we do it with such style, sass and poise!

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
Definitely my pep talk in the shower. I talk to myself every morning. Well, actually it alternates. Sometimes I speak to God and sometimes I talk to myself. It’s a very real discussion to myself about myself. Without it, a lot of things would not get done, trust me.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?
Oprah. She literally merged into every land and dominated it. All while being herself… that’s goals.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
Lol, world domination, I love that! I take my wig off, lay in bed and binge watch “Bob’s Burgers.” I’m starting to really like the network Viceland too.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
“You are more powerful than you’d ever imagine and I love you.”

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?
Sometimes. Not crazy often but on Instagram people will comment certain things. I’m still learning how to deal with them honestly so I can’t answer this question effectively.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
Yes! Absolutely and I hate that! We are not able to be as liberal and “raunchy” as our white counterparts no matter how much we want to believe that we can. Look at the Kardashians for example. I love them, all of them. But if a black woman was to make a sex tape and lead a controversal life such as Kim and her sisters, she would never be able to capitalize off of it the way they have. I’ll be here all day if I give example after example, but my answer is yes.

15. Tiffany Lighty

Daughter of the great, late Chris Lighty, Tiffany is making a name for herself as a filmmaker. It won’t be too long before you see this young star on the rise and making a name for herself.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

To me Black Girl Magic is like having super powers. Its celebrating the power and beauty of a Black Woman. It’s uplifting, it’s empowering, it’s rich, it’s beautiful. 

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Getting a good sweat in! I like to start my day with a workout. It leaves me feeling strong and ready to conquer the day. 

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

Basic Human Rights. It seems crazy to say that in 2017, but we have a President that doesn’t value humanity. We are in a state where we have to defend the rights of women, minorities, refugees, immigrants, an LGBT person, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities or anyone at risk of discrimination or violence. 

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Angela Davis.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

Put down my cell phone, turn on one of my favorite shows on Premium TV & drink a glass of red wine 🙂

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

I would say, “You are strong, beautiful and rich with history baby girl. Having light brown skin, brown skin or dark brown skin is beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Show compassion to yourself and provide yourself with the love, safety and acceptance that you need. Embrace your uniqueness, it’s what makes you — YOU!”

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

I wouldn’t say that I have been targeted, but I am not blind to the moments when I have been treated differently because of my skin color. I just hold my head high and keep on pushing. There are times when you hold your tongue and know that you’re just dealing with an ignorant person and other times when you have to speak up and check someone. Sometimes you have to educate individuals that are blatantly being disrespectful in hopes that you get through to them and that your words resonate, to avoid another person being hurt and discriminated against.   

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

Absolutely. I was raised that I pretty much have everything going against me. Meaning I am BLACK and I am a WOMAN, and that makes me have to work twice as hard as everyone else. It’s a little dramatic, but this is something my father instilled in me at a very young age and I’m so thankful that he did. It’s a part of the blueprint of who I am and how I function on a daily basis. Its makes me want to strive high in everything that I do. There can never be enough positive black role models and for me there is a pressure to prove stereotypes wrong amongst the noise of generalization, reality television and the media. It’s important to show young black boys and girls the importance of education and that they can be whoever they want to be. 

16. Phashunta Hubert

This correspondent, model, actress, and entrepreneur is not someone to be looked over. She has interviewed the likes of Keke Palmer, Teyana Taylor, Angie Martinez, and Al Sharpton. At just 23, she has been featured in Rolling Out, Essence, and the Huffington Post just to name a few.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

The history of women of color is beyond phenomenal. Words can’t begin to describe their journey, and bravery in paving the way for today. Although I admire and believe each WOC is a respected trailblazer in their own right. I admire Coretta Scott King for her dedication and compassion involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Coretta is a perfect example of a strong individual who unconditionally opened her heart and shared her husband Martin Luther King Jr. with the world for a dream of equality for all.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

I would tell them that God uniquely designed everyone just the way HE wanted, in a way that no one can ever duplicate. I would also tell them to take the time out to look in the mirror, and tell yourself you are beautiful, smart and the BOMB.com!

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why? 

I deeply care about women’s rights. Women are still stereotyped because of their gender which in my opinion is unfair. I feel strongly about this topic because this is something that I can relate to and I connect with women entrepreneurs who face this issue daily. We should be treated with the same respect. Women shouldn’t have a problem landing the same job as a man with equal background experience and education.

17. Kitty Cash

Brooklyn native, this fashion publicist turned DJ is not one to be boxed in. Her sets featured everything from disco to Hip Hop. Her “Love The Free” mix series has grabbed this attention of all across the industry with admiration. She’s collaborated with Sampha, Willow Smith, SZA, and many others.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

The normalization of abuse and brutalization of women within the entertainment industry. When men who are seen as industry leaders within the entertainment industry are being charged and accused of rape, physical and verbal abuse but then it goes over everyone’s head because they are “famous” or “cool” there is a problem. A deep rooted problem that makes me concerned with how society views a woman’s worth.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

I never chill…hahaha! I mean I probably watch Netflix or hang out with my friends then back at it!!

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

We live in a misogynistic, sexist and prejudice society where women always have to work harder then their male counterparts for equal pay, recognition, and everything in between. Of course there is additional pressure as a woman of color, and I feel that you constantly have to be aware of what and how you are being represented. I feel that as a woman of color, you enter this world knowing that you will be judged differently, knowing that their are certain obstacles you may have to face that other women may not be privy too, and knowing that you live in a society that was not built for you even if you were apart of its success. 

So yes there is an additional pressure to be represented not  just being a good role model but about having your achievements accounted for as a result of your own merit. I think it is about being confident in your ethnicity and your blackness and speaking on that in whatever space you thrive in.

18 & 19. Coco & Breezy

These creatives are DJs and co-founders of Coco and Breezy Eyewear (worn by Rihanna, nbd) and currently have an eyewear collaboration with Twizzlers and Jolly Rancher.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic means we are unstoppable and can do anything we put our mind to!!! 

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Meditation throughout the day.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

We are extremely passionate about giving talented artists a platform. We feel that there are so many young talents in the world that don’t have the platform or are unseen. We want to help and connect with those artist and connect them to opportunities. We feel that its so important to come together…especially women.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Oprah… she is the definition of Black girl magic.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

Meditation and creation! We love to read and constantly learn something new.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

We would let her know that she is powerful and to love who she is. Black girl magic is real. It starts with loving yourself before you can expect for someone else to love you. Staying true to your true self is key.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

We feel that everyday is a challenge in today’s world. We just have to educate the people that are small minded. A lot of times, it stems from their up brining, so they can not be blamed. We just have to inform them that society has changed and its a new world. We create our world!

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

I think as women in general, we are under more pressure to be good role models. 

Photographer: Breann White

20. Reyna Biddy

This spoken word artist was recently featured on Kehlani’s new album, “SweetSexySavage”. Her poetry book “I Love My Love“ comes out this Valentine’s Day.

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Black girl magic means to be fearless. It means to prevail despite all the odds. Black girl magic means to be godly. It means to prove ourselves powerful, regardless of the circumstance.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
Prayer — the conversation with god that reminds me that I’m capable.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
I rest my mind. i tune out everything that might continue to drain me.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
Your skin tone has made you a target. Respond with resilience. Hold your head higher and forgive yourself with grace.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
I don’t think anyone is under pressure to be a good role model. I think throughout the course of life and our own personal journeys, we have to decide to be that. And I think more often than not, we decide to be a role model for our own selves. Not for anyone else.

21. Ambré Perkins

Gaining notoriety through SoundCloud, this 20-year-old New Orleans singer/songwriter is making her mark in the music industry. She has since shared the stage with Dej Loaf and Tory Lanez. You can check out her latest “2090’s” on iTunes right now.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Honestly, I don’t have much of a daily routine, But no matter what I take on for the day, I go at it with a positive mindset. The worst days just take a little optimism.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Cleopatra was a g

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

I’m a big film buff. I think I’ve watched at least one new movie everyday for the past year

What does black girl magic mean to you?

We’re superheroes. The black woman is god but it didn’t take me to say it. Everyone knows. Black girl magic is a phrase I’ve just become familiar with but every time I see it I’m just proud to be a black woman. It’s the kind of uplifting so many little girls need in their life. Black girl magic is when we shine like we posed to, dig? Humble stunt.

22. Milan Rouge

She is all about empowering and encouraging others to follow their dreams no matter what. Through social media and hard dedication, she has built a brand apparel called Milano Di Rouge, LLC. She’s building to make her brand not only locally, but globally known.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

To me Black Girl Magic means power! It means strength, it means unbreakable! It means embracing your identity.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Prayer, a to-do list and a will to win. I start everyday with a prayer and a to-do list and I attack the day head on. Overcoming obstacles, challenges and anything else that day has to offer.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

I care deeply about Self-Acceptance. Being confident and embracing who you are. I believe once you accept your flaws and own them, then no one can use them against you. I think society has a way of making us all feel less than perfect or not good enough and I just embrace the fact that we’re all perfectly imperfect.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

I recently found out about Mary Jackson, she’s one of the woman honored in the moive Hidden Figures. She’s was an African American Mathematician and an Aerospace Engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. What I admire most about Mary was her confidence, persistence, and her “take no nonsense” attitude. She was so committed to becoming the first african american female engineer. That dedication inspired me so much.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

Honestly I’d order takeout. Cheesesteak and french fries, chill on the couch, and watch “The Intern” with Anne Hathaway while browsing the web on my phone for inspiration or motivation for my next event, collection, or post lol.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

Wow, so I recently just had a conversation with a young lady about embracing her skin color and owning it.. She’s a beautiful dark skin girl, and one day I overheard a guy say “she’s pretty for a dark skin girl” I asked him “Why do she have to be pretty for a dark skin girl, why can’t she just be pretty, what does her skintone have to do with it?” It really makes me upset because I’ve overheard this often since I was younger and I get sad everytime I hear it because those type of comments can destroy your self-esteem and black is beautiful in all shades.

I asked her how that comment made her feel and she told me that she was use to hearing it so it didn’t bother her as much as it use to. I told her that her skin is beautiful and that she should embrace it and how empowering it would be to other dark skin girls and girls of all shades if she’d talk openly about how it felt growing up with darker skin, how she dealt with it and how she overcame it.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

Actually yes, but I’d say I had more black women hate me than any other race. I think other races already understand our power, while we’re still discovering it.

I believe the hate from my own race is simply because some of us black people have a mindset of “it’s only room for one of us” it can only be one black owned clothing brand, it can only be one “Black owned” hair company, it can only be one black owned soul food restaurant, it can only be one “black owned” entertainment blog, etc. And if anyone else try to do it they’re copying or we immediately assumed they’re our competition. And when you create a fake competition just because another black business is in the same field as you, you unknowingly force people to choose if they want to support you or them & that should not be the case, they should be able to support us all. Especially when we’ve been unconsciously supporting Korean owned hair stores on every street corner, and dining out at every restaurant not knowing whether the owner is Caucasian, Asian, Italian or African American.
I deal with it by informing them that it’s enough money and space for all of us to win. Not only do I say it, I publically support other black own brands as I’ve been doing for any other brands, just so people can see that it’s ok to support one another.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?

Yes I feel that we’re under more pressure to be good role models. It’s like we’re under a microscope. It’s as if because we’re successful or “we made it” (as in accepted by the rest of society and other cultures) that we’re suppose to be perfect or otherwise we’ll be dethroned. That’s why I make it my mission to let the world know how imperfect I am and how I don’t want to be viewed as a role model, I want to be viewed a real model because roles change and real people aren’t perfect, real people are flawed.

23. Chloe

Creative and founder of Mama’s Boutique, she has made it her mission to inspire and empower women through fashion. Her clothing is made to evoke body confidence for the woman who is ready to conquer the world in style.

What does black girl magic mean to you?
Black girl magic to me means highlighting all the amazing things we are and simply appreciating it from our beauty to our achievements to our intellect to our style, etc. It’s all about empowering and it’s such a positive movement. This doesn’t take away from anyone else. I seen someone say why is it magic? Because what else are you suppose to call it when unfortunately we live in a world where our existence is devalued but we still manage to rise? Couldn’t have been put more real.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?
Sleeping. I love to sleep, if I don’t sleep I’m a mess but then I never sleep until early hours of the morning so that doesn’t help however, my best ideas always come to me in the night.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?
Making all women feel comfortable in their skin. With social media and the pressure that comes with it, it’s so easy to get caught up in what and who you aren’t instead of embracing who and what you are. Self love is key!

Which WOC from history do you most admire?
I’ve always loved Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife. She fought for what she believed in: women’s rights, civil rights and LGBT rights all while studying and achieving multiple degrees. That’s bossy.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?
Well recently me and my lad got a dog, we named him Pablo… He’s the best and definitely helps me chill out after designing or being on the computer all day haha.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?
I am half Indian, half Jamaican and when I was in secondary school around 12 years old I was bullied because of my skin color and called most names you could think of and let me tell you something, learn to LOVE the skin you’re in because you’re going to be in it for the rest of your lives and your skin is absolutely beautiful whatever the shade! I wish I could have drummed this into my younger self at the time.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?
In recent years I haven’t personally experienced hate because of my race but when i was younger it was horrible because it was like well, you’re not Indian because you’re half Jamaican, and you’re not Jamaican because you’re half Indian, so you don’t fit in. But the older I got the more I realized what “they” were saying was just noise, my skin is a beautiful combination and I’m proud of that. Once I stopped feeding into it they had nothing to feed on.

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
Yes, I believe that women of color are under pressure to be good role models partly because theres not a lot of mainstream role models out there so therefore the ones who are role models are highlighted a lot more.

24. FridaCashFlow

Founder of Art Hoe Collective, an online platform that gives artists of color a space to express themselves and showcase their work, Gabrielle Richardson — also known as FridaCashFlow — openly expresses her ideas on cultural appropriation and other noteworthy societal issues.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic is seeing a black girl glow and shine and wanting others to see it as well. It’s seeing black girls persevere and succeed in the face of opposition, black girl magic is self love, black girl magic is simply that, magic.

Which part of your daily routine is absolutely necessary for getting sh*t done?

Feeling clean, I need to wash my face and take a shower to start myself physically and mentally on a clean slate.

What’s one issue you care deeply about right now and why?

There’s no one issue I solely care about right now. They all intertwine and relate to one another. One that is really weighing on me now is the anti-immigration ban that has been put into place. As someone who wants equality for people and comes from a family of immigrants, it hits very close to home. The islamophobia and xenophobia that also propelled this ban forward disgusts me, muslim people need to be treated with the same respect that we give to everyone else.

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

One woman I really look up to is Angela Davis. I love all of her books and all hers writings are so smart, radical, and insightful. I saw her speak at the Women’s March on Washington last month, and was so inspired. I love strong black women who encourages us to mobilize and aren’t just about protecting ONE type of woman. We need to protect all women from all backgrounds, and Angela Davis speaks about these issues openly and honestly.

How do you chill out after a crazy day of world domination?

Lol I don’t want to dominate the world. I’m not on the search to dominate anything, I’m on the search for equality. I just want to rest and be with the people who I love and love me back, enjoy art with people around me.

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

You’re beautiful. Don’t listen to what anyone else has to say about your skin. People want you to think you’re not beautiful because it elevates them. Don’t let others bring you down, there is only one you and your one body. Love it and the world will open up.

Do you get haters who target you specifically for your race? How do you deal with them?

I do! I mostly ignore them, there is always gonna be someone hating on you for your race. As a black person in the public eye it will only increase. At the end of the day, who cares? Being black is part of my identity and that means I will always have to endure someone discriminating against me because of my race. Brush the haters off, it means you’re succeeding,

Because representation is so important, do you think women of color are under more pressure to be good role models?
Oh definitely! When you are black in the public eye you become a spokesperson for your race in a way. There are so few of us being represented, every move we make becomes not on behalf of just ourselves, but on behalf of the community as a whole.

25. Sira 

Proud Guinean model Sira, is a fashionista on her way to the top. She’s founder of the blog Ink My Africa, where she proudly promotes her heritage.

What does black girl magic mean to you?

Black girl magic is pretty complex. I feel black girls have so many beautiful talents and our diversity is infinite from our skin, hair, body types and exotic features. Even down to our soulful voices, our presence alone is black girl magic in itself to me. 

What is one issue that you deeply care about? 

One major issue I believe that goes unnoticed is the fact that there needs to be a wider range of body types in the modeling industry. Rather then the super slim 0-2 models and the curvy plus size 10-16 models. Being that I’m a size 4 model, and I would love to see more average size body types walk the runway and do more editorials in major publications like Vogue, W Magazine, Elle Magazine and more. 

If you could say one thing to any young girl struggling with self love because of their skin color, what would it be?

Baby girl, when it comes to self confidence, having the power to be fully aware does not happen overnight, It’s a process. You need to be able to talk to yourself more, be able to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful and strong enough to conquer the world no matter what your skin color is. We all have power and I believe once we eliminate the thoughts of comparison or weighing our skin color to one another, we are able reach our greatest point of happiness. 

Which WOC from history do you most admire?

Lena Horne! She was an African American jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress and most importantly, a civil rights activist. I admire the fact that she had so much going on for herself and she still managed to handle the duties of a civil rights activist with a great sense of fashion too. 

Photographer: Mambu Bayoh

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