With millions of Black Women doing amazing things now and through out history there is no way to ever narrow down a proper top list. Instead I am going to share with you 3 women who inspired me personally and sprinkled that Black Girl Magic on my soul.
Ma Rainey was dubbed “The Mother of Blues”. She was one of the first Black women to have a recording contract and over her career she recorded 100 records. An inspiration to other artist at the time her spirit and style is still evident in today’s modern music. Even with her many amazing accomplishments I am most impressed with her boldness to be who she wanted to me. Rumors spread that she may be Bisexual or a Lesbian. In the early 1920’s as you can imagine that was extremely scandalous. But Ma Rainey did not hide in the shadows. She often performed in gender bending attire and wrote a song directly addressing the rumors with no shame. Her bravery and confidence struck me as truly inspirational and that is why she is on my list.
When I was a young girl HBO aired a biopic about Josephine Baker. I have no idea how many times I watched that movie but I can tell you I was in love. Even today as an adult I am in awe of her and feel as if we are somehow kindred spirits. She was a talented singer and performer with a bold personality to match. This woman danced nude across the world, became a French spy, fought for civil rights, and adopted 12 children of various races from around the world all while wearing diamonds. How can she not be your hero?
Most people know Eartha Kitt as Catwoman or as the iconic voice behind the song Santa Baby. She was an all around entertainer that performed around the world. She spoke 4 languages and sang in in 11. Orson Welles once said she was “the most exciting woman in the world”. Most striking about her is that she was never afraid to speak her mind. Famously she was invited to speak at a luncheon with Ladybird Johnson. A passionate advocate for underprivileged youth she spoke out in protest of the defaming of young people protesting the war and accused the administration of being out of touch. Which caused the First Lady tears and embarrassment. Confident in her statement, Eartha unapologetically responded “That’s her problem.” This lead her to be blacklisted by the CIA and caused her to flee the country to Europe. Her defiance in the face of adversity is something I strive to possess and the reason she is on this list.
This is just a tiny snippet of the amazing lives these women lead. I implore you to please make time to get to know them better and be inspired.