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In the centuries since our long, tireless walk to freedom began, Black women have been the beating heart of the push for social change.

From organizing and protesting to advocating and uplifting, Black women’s work is never done. And yet, hand-in-hand with the tireless efforts of our mothers, sisters and daughters is the grim reality that too often, our stories go untold.

At HelloBeautiful, it is our mission to celebrate Black women from all walks of life, daily. We share, we confess, we indulge and we encourage each other. Since the inception of “Women To Know,” our annual list has served as a way to not only celebrate the incredible, remarkable achievements of Black women, but also offer a space where their stories could be told.

Each year, we are more impressed with the women we get to know through this list and it is our pleasure to celebrate them as the heroines they are.


Anti-Anti Beyonce Protest Rally At NFL Headquarters

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Considering the tumultuous news cycle of the past year — and the reaction and concern that you, our audience, gave us — we knew that this year’s group needed to be a reflection of the times we live in. And so, this year’s list of “gamechangers” was born.

The 2016 list is made up of Black women from all walks of life – politicians, prosecutors, activists, teachers, entrepreneurs and artists– who are using their platforms to effect change in their community.

Activism, like our community, is not a monolith. It looks different for each person and should be recognized as so. Whether it’s in a courtroom, an artist’s studio, in Washington, in a classroom, in the boardroom, on their Twitter page, on their campus or on their podcast, these women are challenging the status quo. They are running toward the hurdles we face, engaging in the difficult conversations and making changes we so desperately need to see.

It was an extremely difficult task to narrow the list down, as there are so many incredible Black women doing amazing things. I, like you, could easily list dozens more names off the top of my head.

What I am sure of, however, is that this list will leave you empowered. Not just by the impressive work these women are doing, but also by their words. It is their deeply personal stories of hope, persistence, tragedy, heartbreak and, perhaps most importantly, awakening, that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Every day when I come to work, I am reminded that each of us has a story to tell. Indeed, we are all women to know. So I encourage you to participate in sharing both their stories and your own. Using our “Engage” feature, you can upload a photo of yourself and use the hashtag #hbwomentoknow to share with the world your own testimony.

For it is in sharing our stories as sisters that we demonstrate that Black women carry a flame of greatness that can never be extinguished.


Charlene Carruthers — Director of The Black Youth Project

DeShaunya Ware — Mizzou Student Activst

NyKidra Robinson — Creator, Black Girls Vote

Marilyn Mosby — Baltimore City State’s Attorney

Kimberlé Williams-Crenshaw — Activist, Creator of African American Policy Forum

Sharon Cooper — Advocate, Sister Of Sandra Bland

Abigail Hollis — Mizzou Student Activist

April Reign — Creator, #OscarsSoWhite

Bree Newsome — Activist, Filmmaker

Angelica Sweeting — CEO, Naturally Perfect Dolls

Patrisse Cullors — Co-Creator, Black Lives Matter

Wanda Johnson — Civil Activist, Community Organizer, Mother Of Oscar Grant

Muriel Bowser — Mayor Of Washington, D.C.

Erica Garner — Activist, Daughter Of Eric Garner

Alicia Garza — Co-Creator, Black Lives Matter

Opal Tometi — Co-Creator, Black Lives Matter

Kimberly Bryant — Founder, Black Girls Code

Tracy Clayton — Co-Creator, Buzzfeed’s “Another Round” Podcast

Heben Nigatu — Co-Creator, Buzzfeed’s “Another Round” Podcast

Crissle West — Co-Creator, “The Read” Podcast

Sybrina Fulton — Activist, Mother Of Trayvon Martin

Brittany Packnett — Activist, Educator, Co-Founder Of Campaign Zero

Symone D. Sanders — Press Secretary For Bernie Sanders

Kamala Harris, Attorney General, California

Laurie Cumbo — Councilwoman, 35th District, NYC

Valeisha Butterfield Jones — Head Of Black Engagement, Google

HelloBeautiful Salutes Black Female Gamechangers With Our Our Annual ‘Women To Know’ List  was originally published on