1. Maxine WatersSource:Getty
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D – CA) has weathered a career in politics that has spanned over 30 years. In this time, she has earned a reputation as a strong and fearless advocate for disadvantaged populations of women, children and people of color. She’s recently taken President Trump to task, vowing to keep challenging any discriminatory or corrupt policy he implements.
2. Soledad O’BrienSource:Getty
Soledad O’brien is one of the leading media correspondents of our generation. She’s perhaps best known for her extensive coverage of some of the most important world events of our time during her tenure at CNN. O’Brien is the current the host and producer of the political show, “Matter of Fact” on Hearst Television, where she offers a fresh perspective on the current political climate.
3. Michelle Gadsden-WilliamsSource:.
Michelle Gadsden-Williams is the co-founder and CEO of Ceiling Breakers, LLC– a diversity consultancy business, which focuses on “media driven women’s empowerment initiatives and diverse entertainment investments.” The former Managing Director Of Global Diversity at Credit Suisse, Williams has a long and storied career at major corporations like Novartis, Merck & more, often with a focus on corporate diversity.
4. Jamira BurleySource:Getty
Jamira Burley is no stranger to overcoming odds. As a the senior campaigner for Amnesty International, one of the issues Burley speaks out strongly against is gun violence, which she considers a human rights crisis.
5. Lisa Nicole CarsonSource:Getty
Actress Lisa Nicole Carson has appeared in “ER,” “Ally McBeal,” “Jason’s Lyric” & more. After a hiatus from Hollywood, Carson revealed a bipolar disorder diagnosis and has since been vocal about the struggle with the disorder and its effects on her life. The talented beauty has since re-emerged in the BET series “The New Edition Story.”
6. Nadia LopezSource:Getty
Principal, author and community advocate Nadia Lopez became something of an overnight viral sensation after her story came out on Humans Of New York from the praise of one of her students. Since then, Lopez has become something of a beacon for how administrators should approach running their schools.
7. Draya MicheleSource:Getty
Draya went from reality show star to fashion mogul by investing in herself and her goals. She capitalized on her social media popularity and TV platform to launch an empire. Mint Swim, Draya’s online swimsuit company, cleared more than a million dollars in sales in 2016 and shows no signs of slowing down.
8. Miko BranchSource:Getty
Miko Branch is co-founder of Miss Jessie’s Salon & hair care brand, a multi-million dollar company that she started with her sister, Titi Branch, in 2004. After a devastating tragedy where Titi took her own life, Miko took time to self-reflect and change course in her career, but remains involved in day-to-day operations. She also authored the 2015 memoir, “Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business From Scratch.”
9. Regina KingSource:Getty
The Emmy-winning actress took a gamble when she bluffed her way into her directorial debut on R&B singer, Jaheim’s “Finding my Way Back,” music video set. However, the risk paid off. She became the first of her castmates on “Southland” to step into a directorial role on the show. After a period of shadowing Shondaland show producers, King also took formal classes to hone her behind-the-camera skills.
10. Gabourey SidibeSource:Getty
The Oscar-nominated actress and author is known for her talents in front of the camera, but it’s her revolution of self love that continues to grab headlines. Bombarded with comments about her weight, the actress has consistently taken a definitive and bold stance declaring her self-confidence and talents would not be shaken by nay-sayers.
11. April RyanSource:Getty
A veteran White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan has covered three presidencies, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Most recently, she made headlines for her challenge of Donald Trump, who ridiculously asked her to introduce him to the Congressional Black Caucus. Ever the professional,Ryan took to Twitter and countered, “I am a journalist not a convener!”
12. Roxanne ShanteSource:Getty
‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ was an anthem in the 80s, when Shante burst onto the scene at just 14 years old, finding herself in the midst of a rap beef. Since then, her spirit has been tested and proven resilient –even after a cancer diagnosis several years ago. Lolita “Roxanne Shante” Gooden & has emerged from the flames and primed, once again, to have her revenge, this time on the silver screen.
13. Fantasia BarrinoSource:Getty
The world met Fantasia Barrino when she took home the top prize on “American Idol” in 2004. Motivated by a supportive fan base, Barrino persevered over personal tragedies and setbacks and went on to win Grammy and Billboard awards and amass record sales of over three million. In 2007, she also became the first “Idol” alum to appear in a Broadway show, consistently earning rave reviews for stirring performances.
14. Savannah MaziyaSource:.
Savannah Maziya is the chairman and CEO of the Bunengi Group, a project development company that specializes in infrastructure, mining and agriculture. Founded in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Bunengi Group has been fully owned and operated by women since its inception. Her career exemplifies what paths are possible when young women are encouraged to pursue studies in STEM.
Ciara has had 8 Billboard Hot 100 top 10 Singles, 3 VMAs, and a Grammy. But beyond her music career, Ciara became a representative for women vocal about their family values. She’s since transitioned from pop star into motherhood & with a beautiful blended family with husband Russell Wilson, all while pursuing and cultivating her musical craft.
16. Ricki FairleySource:Courtesy of Ricki Fairley
Ricki Fairley (center) is the president and thought-leader of DOVE Marketing, a mom & self-proclaimed triple negative breast cancer thriver. Until her diagnosis, Fairley’s marketing career spanned over 30 years, including brand-managing for Johnson & Johnson, Nabisco, Reckitt & Coleman and Coca-Cola. Fairley is a champion for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, working tirelessly to raise awareness.
17. Terrie WilliamsSource:Getty
Terri Williams is a licensed therapist, mental health advocate and publicist for a roster of A-list celebrity personalities in sports, entertainment, business and politics. Her work in public relations reaches far beyond her paying clients and deep into the communities in which she serves as an activist and philanthropist.