The singer and designer already has an amazing music and fashion career, but this year she changed the game with her Fenty Beauty release, which proved that making different shades of makeup for all kinds of women is not only possible, but extremely profitable.
2. Keisha Lance Bottoms
Keisha Lance Bottoms is just one of many Black women taking over the political sphere in Trump’s America, surely signaling massive change on the way. Bottoms won the spot of the mayor of Atlanta in a sweeping victory built on a grassroots movement.
3. Serena Williams
She’s already conquered the tennis sphere, securing her spot as the best player in the world, but Serena Williams also got married and started a family in 2017, proving women really can have it all.
4. Elaine Welteroth
While Teen Vogue announced sad news of the suspension of its print edition, it’s Editor in Chief shows no signs of slowing down after ushering in a new era for the magazine that encouraged young women to discuss politics, race and social justice in addition to fashion and beauty.
5. Bozoma Saint John
The former Apple Music marketing exec made history this year as the first Black Chief Brand Officer at Uber, paving the way for Black women in the tech space.
6. Tiffany Haddish
The “Girls Trip” actress was a true breakout star of 2017, capturing the hearts of viewers everywhere with her infectious personality and unapologetic brand of humor. She also made history as the first Black comedienne to host “Saturday Night Live.”
7. Cardi B
It was definitely the year of Cardi, with her single “Bodak Yellow” taking over the charts, even topping Taylor Swift as the number one song on the BIllboard Charts. Since then, Cardi has been everywhere and is showing no signs of slowing down.
8. Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita was not only the star of one of the year’s biggest films (“The Last Jedi”), but she was also among the women leading the charge of #MeToo, speaking out against Harvey Weinstein for her his extremely disturbing alleged sexual assault of her. Her courage to come forward was remarkable and inspired a wave of other women to do so as well.
9. Angela Rye
The political pundit has become one of the most welcome voices of opposition against racial and gender discrimination, dragging the Trump administration and others in Washington for all of their ridiculousness. The attorney is also the CEO of Impact Strategies, a firm which specializes in political advocacy.
10. Jesmyn Ward
Winner of the National Book Award for fiction for her incredible work “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” Ward has become one of the most influential black writers in the game. The English professor at Tulane University clearly has an incredible future ahead of her.
11. Lena Waithe
Writer, producer and actress Lena Waithe has been writing and acting for years on her series “Master Of None” with Aziz Ansari, but 2017 was definitely her biggest year to date, making history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writer in a Comedy series and using the platform to speak out for LGBTQ rights.
12. Dee Rees
The screenwriter already had smaller hits like “Bessie” under her belt, but her incredible drama “Mudbound,” complete with a star-studded cast wowed audiences and caught the attention of Netflix, who bought the film for $12.5M following waves of Oscar buzz.
13. Michelle Obama
Since leaving the White House and breaking our collective hearts in the absence of her presence as First Lady, Michelle Obama has been living her well-earned best life, while also making notable appearances like the ESPYs and Women’s Empowerment in Philadelphia.
Zendaya has not only become one of Hollywood’s most notably stylish celebrities, but she’s also become one of the most outspoken critics of social inequality and a business owner at that (with her clothing line Daya by Zendaya). She’s also been in some of the year’s biggest films.
15. Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union had a stellar year with the release of her book, her fashion line with New York & Company and not to mention her fashionable appearances with hubby Dwyane Wade. And while “Being Mary Jane” has been canceled, the actress shows zero signs of slowing down.