Many have noted 2017 the year of Black women. I haven't been quick to claim it, because it feels like saying this year was only one of one. While Black women literally killed the game in every aspect imaginable this year, I believe that, that has only awakened the belly of a much bigger beast. Making 2018 a year that will be filled with activism, strategic strides and solutions. However, before we get there, it is so important to honor our Queens who are at the forefront of the shift and awakening.
It has become easy for us to adopt blueprints from people that we see putting in work. I believe that this is how we've run into so many overly saturated markets. Therefore, when I see someone think, not just out of the box, but nowhere near it I'm immediately tuned in. Netflix recently had a conversation with actors, asking them, when was the first time that they saw themselves on TV. Many talked about shows from the 80's and 90's.
However, for me, Insecure (written, directed by and starring Issa Rae) was the first time that I saw Black women who were dynamic in the way I am. The ones who can turn out a corporate presentation, then get in the car to her cone and 2 Chainz. I had never seen Black women given the space to be their wholeselves on television before. Issa understood the importance of showing that, and rose to the challenge by pairing that idea with an amazing show, that that sparked so many necessary conversations in the Black community.
Rather jokingly or not, she found a way to gather an entire community of people to tune in, and this extends beyond the show. It ties into the incredible marketing around the show as well. From the podcast recap feature fan favorites Crissle West and Hey Fran Hey, the blog recap by Luvvie, a playlist on Spotify, and numerous recaps featuring your favorite characters. But it doesn't stop there, Rae was recently greenlit by HBO for two more shows. A 90's drama based around a Black family living in LA, and Him or Her, which is a comedy starring a Black bisexual man, striking yet another necessary set of conversations.
Cousin Angela, is the most raw and unapologetic person in politics that I've ever seen. Pieces of me loves to see someone not playing by the rules. Just like when she took her moment to be petty after Omarosa was escorted out of the White House.
Angela Rye is a lawyer, the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political commentator for CNN, and an activist above all. Whether its battling for the truth to be heard on CNN, or arming us with gems and solutions on her podcast, Angela is never not in activist mode.
One of my favorite things that Angela advocates for, is the idea of working woke. With so many people jumping on the "woke," train and it turning into a means of popularity, Rye challenges us to work woke, by coupling our acquired knowledge with activism. With what is in office, we need transparent and unapologetic voices now more than ever.
Ctrl, brought me the healing that I didn't realize that I needed. It brought me closure without having to sit down and physically get it from those who wronged me. Ctrl made me see the humanness in myself, and thus forced me to forgive myself for what I then perceived as faults. Lastly, Ctrl was deeper than everyones misinterpretation of The Weekend.
SZA is a gift that was dropped down from the musical heavens to bless us. I first keyed into SZA when she released her debut album Z, which featured hits like Babylon with Kendrick Lamar, and Child's Play with Chance the Rapper. While I loved her sound, it wasn't until Ctrl that I understood her greatness. If you haven't had a chance to listen cover to cover, - which I encourage you to do - Ctrl was full story of transparency, self-doubt, self-actualization, heartache, growth and reclaiming control. She created an album where she poured out her entire soul to help us heal while healing herself.
It seems like it may almost be natural for generations to look down on the generation after us. I've heard many millennials bash Gen Z, because they grew up with internet and accessibility. With the notion that, their generation will go down hill. I've always considered the perspective that many of the Gen Zers are the product of millennials. Understanding intersectionality, social activism and most of all, living life on their own terms. If anything, I look to the next generation with so much hope, and Yara Shahidi is a huge part of that.
Yara Shahidi may be most notably known for her role as Zoey in ABC sitcom Black-ish, alongside Tracee Ellis Ross, and Anthony Anderson. As well as her upcoming leading role in Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish. However, most have tuned into Shahidi for her unapologetic activism for feminism and diversity.
She utilizes her art as activism, noting that, "whether it's starting conversations or bringing a story to life that hasn't been told before, I believe actors can create a narrative that helps many people not only relate to what we're talking about, but really understand the humanity behind the story that we're telling." She then went on to say that, "if you want to change people's minds about the political issues you care about, you need to have something human for them to understand," Shahidi