This year has been another interesting one for black women. While the media continued its assault against us, printing articles about our health, marital status, and education, sisters around the globe continued to achieve remarkable accomplishments.
And while we’ve been here reporting on it every step of the way, we thought that it would be a good idea to review some of our awesome accomplishments this year.
So before we pop a bottle and ring in 2013, here are just a few of the fabulous things black women have accomplished this year.
Between Gabby Douglas’ historic Olympic gymnastics gold medal and Serena Williams continued domination of the women’s tennis circuit, black women have been having one hell of a year on the court, pitch, balance beam, and track. Other highlights include Genoveva Anoman, of Equatorial Guinea, winning Women’s Footballer of the Year; Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison winning the 4 x 100 gold medal for the U.S. women’s track team; and Tia Norfleet becoming the first black female NASCAR driver. Congrats ladies!
Sistas in the arts have been doing their thing this year. In February Octavia Spencer took home a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in The Help; Iyanla Vanzant made a triumphant return to TV and her own show on OWN, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes hooked audiences on Scandal; Issa Rae inked a deal with Rhimes to bring her web series, I Hate L.A. Dudes to ABC; and filmmaker Ava DuVernay become the first black director to score a directorial award at the esteemed Sundance Film Festival. Other notiable moments: British soul singers Lianne la Havas and Emeli Sandé burst on the scene; Babette de Rozières was named one of France’s most popular chefs; 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis shined in Beast of the Southern Wild; Lifetime debuted an all-black remake of Steel Magnolias; Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple turned 30; and Oprah’s network OWN finally found its way.
Black women made major power moves in 2012, ascending to many of the highest posts in their countries. In Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller became the island nation’s first female Prime Minister, and in Malawi Joyce Banda became the country’s first female president as well. Here in the states, Jackie Lacey became the first black and female district attorney in Los Angeles, and down in Louisiana, Bernette Johnson became the state’s first black chief justice. Other notable achievements: Bishop Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya became the first female bishop of the Anglican Church in Africa; Vice-Admiral Michelle Howard became the first black woman to earn three-star-rank; Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda was named the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court; Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan became foreign minister and deputy prime minister in Somalia; and South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma became the African Union’s first female leader.
From Mellody Hobson being named Chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation to Daria Burke launching Black MBA Women, a networking organization that connects black women with biz degrees from the top universities, black women have been getting busy in the boardroom. This year female-owned black beauty brands have flourished, Beyoncé scored a $50 million deal with Pepsi, and celebs like Azealia Banks and Janelle Monae inked deals with major brands like Mac and Cover Girl. Other power moves: Forbes profiled 20 of Africa’s youngest power players; in the UK Rosemarie Hudson’s publishing company helped several black writers get noticed by wider audiences, Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria became the richest black woman in the world; and female business owners were at the forefront of Africa’s renaissance.
This year, black women have made strides in every facet of society, including education. From 19-year-old Raven Magwood’s early graduation from Clemson University to the Bay Area technology non-profit, Black Girls Code encouraging youngsters to pursue STEM careers, black women have been flexing their beauty and brains. Other bright spots: Asia and Ashley Matthews, identical twin sisters who both scored scholarships to an Ivy League medical school; 17-year-old Rochelle Ballantyne (of Brooklyn) and 14-year-old Phiona Mutesi (of Uganda) are ruling the chess world; and 14-year-old Maud Chifamba, an orphaned teen, overcame the odds to attend the University of Zimbabwe, years before her peers. Kudos ladies!