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Black Feminists and Womanists to Look Out For in 2018

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With the #MeToo movement, Oprah’s now-famous speech at the Golden Globes, and a incoming tide of new female candidates in backlash to Trump’s comments and Roy Moore, 2018 is sure to be an interesting year for womxn’s rights. In no particular order, here’s the top six Black feminists/womanists to look out for during this Black History Month. 

Oprah

Outside of Oprah’s iconic speech of the Golden Globes, the daily talk show host is breaking barriers as one of America’s predominant black women. Oprah Winfrey is one of 12 of the world’s African-American billionaires. In fact, Oprah was the first African-American women to receive the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime award–for which she gave her speech–honoring her for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Brittney C. Cooper

Brittney C. Cooper has been described by the 2007 American Book Award winner Michael Eric Dyson as “the boldest young feminist writing today.” Cooper’s latest book Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower was named a Best/Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Glamour Magazine, Chicago Reader, and Bustle and discusses how Black women can use their “eloquent rage” to channel the trope of angry Black women into a positive force to passionately pursue their goals. Cooper’s subject area centers mostly around the Black female intellectuals she believes should be regarded as just as important as the “do-ers” we traditionally acknowledge.

Kayla Robinson

Kayla Robinson is only 20, but nearly everyone has seen at least one of her iconic shirts. Robinson, a bisexual Afro-Latina woman living in Florida, founded her fair-trade and gender-neutral store Green Box Shop in 2016, where she hand-dyes tie-dye shirts with various phrases printed across them. Her shop gained popularity in 2017 when Frank Ocean wore one of Robinson’s shirts emblazoned with the words “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” With multiple collections taking on race, gender, and environmental issues, her vast collections feature provocative phrases such as “sisters not cisters” and “pro-black is not anti-white.”

Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke is the little-known creator of the “Me Too” movement all the way back in 2006. The movement broke into the spotlight again recently after actress Alyssa Milano used it to express solidarity with the women sharing their abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. After being shared more than 12 million times in the first 24 hours, #MeToo became a cultural phenomenon and was named the Time Person of the Year for 2017. Outside of social media, Burke is the senior director of the organization Girls for Gender Equality and founded her own nonprofit named Just Be Inc. to aid survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

Elaine Welteroh

Last year, American journalist Elaine Welteroh became Teen Vogue’s youngest editor-in-chief ever at 29 and changed a magazine known for superficial quizzes and fashion tips into a legitimate publication tackling modern social justice topics such as rape culture and cultural appropriation. In early 2018, Welteroh announced she would be leaving Teen Vogue to pursue more opportunities in the realm of television and film. Although she hasn’t announced her next project, whatever she decides to do will surely be a success.

Reni Eddo-Lodge

Reni Eddo-lodge, a Nigerian-British author and journalist, first came into mainstream popularity in the United States with the publishing of her book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race in 2017. The book–which is based off a blog post of the same name she wrote in 2014–discusses Eddo-lodge’s frustrations attempting to discuss issues of racism with those who have never experienced it. The book was named to NPR’s Best Books of 2017 among many others. British Vogue chose Eddo-Lodge as one of seven of Britain’s most prominent women to be photographed commemorating a centenary of British women being able to vote.

 

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