Trust and listen to black women. This bears repeating: Trust and listen to black women.
We have not steered you wrong yet.
We built this country with grit and grace. We are smart. We are accomplished. We are talented beyond measure. We’re leading start-ups and business empires. We’re changing narratives. We’re making art. We’re making a difference. And yet, we are left behind, ignored, and underrepresented time and time again.
But that pattern ends today. It’s time to start listening.
Here’s the three-step process for listening to black women:
- Listen to what black women have to say.
- Share what they say with your networks while giving them full credit.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 forever and ever.
It sounds easy. Most of you are doing it already. But in a society that’s quick to ignore or minimize the contributions of black women, it’s vital that we continue to listen and make room for their voices to be heard.
Short on black voices in your life? Start with Twitter.
Here are 23 writers, educators, artists, lawyers, politicians, actors, advocates, dreamers, do-ers, and visionaries to follow, read, listen to, and signal-boost.
1. Blair Imani @BlairImani
The voice of this black American Muslim activist is even more necessary in the wake of bigoted and shortsighted policies from the White House.
2. Symone D. Sanders @SymoneDSanders
She’s a political commentator on CNN and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders (no relation).
Does Sean Spicer remember he was the Comms Dir for the GOP when they blatantly opposed everything Pres. Obama wanted to do? No? Oh…ok.
Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) January 30, 2017
3. Nell Painter @PainterNell
Painter is a scholar, author, historian, and artist. (Yes, Nell Painter’s a painter.)
In these times, in this month, Americans should heed the civil rights movement of the 1950s-1960s to combat white supremacist terrorism.
Nell Painter (@PainterNell) February 1, 2017
4. La’Tasha D. Mayes @duxfemfac
She’s a kickass reproductive justice activist and one to follow if you care about your body and what you’re allowed to do with it.
5. The Kitchenista @MissAngelaDavis
Miss Angela Davis, aka The Kitchenista, is a private chef, food blogger, and creator of seriously mouthwatering recipes.
6. Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. @tressiemcphd
Tressie Mc is a professor, sociologist, and expert on the high cost of for-profit colleges.
I like all the dudes assuming i don’t know who elon musk is. LOL i may get his name confused with drugstore cologne but like i’m also a PhD
Tressie Mc (@tressiemcphd) February 4, 2017
7. April Reign @ReignOfApril
Reign is the managing editor of Broadway Black and the woman behind the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
8. Elaine Welteroth @ElaineWelteroth
She’s the editor of Teen Vogue and the guiding voice behind their sweeping shift toward the inclusive and political.
9. Chirlane McCray @NYCFirstLady
In addition to being the first lady of New York City, McCray is a writer, activist, and mental health advocate.
10. Bree Newsome @BreeNewsome
She’s a writer, filmmaker, and activist best known for taking the Confederate flag down from in front of the South Carolina state capitol.
11. Angelica Ross @angelicaross
Ross is a transgender actress and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, a training, economic development, and employment program for transgender and gender nonconforming people.
I DARE someone give me a camera crew to travel America talking to Black Churches & the LGBTQ “Children of God” they tossed on the streets.
Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) January 1, 2017
12. Patrice Grell Yursik @afrobella
Yursik writes on black beauty and hair along with fashion and culture for her popular website, Afrobella. She’s also contributed to Ebony, Essence, and Newsweek.
13. Wagatwe Wanjuki @wagatwe
A former Upworthy writer, Wanjuki now writes for Daily Kos and is a fierce activist, dedicated to eliminating rape and gender-based violence.
14. DNLee @DNLee5
DNLee is a mammalogist, writer, and new professor. She blogs for Scientific American.
15. Kashana Cauley @kashanacauley
Cauley is a writer and humorist who was recently joined the writing staff of “The Daily Show.”
*sneaks into the White House*
*blasts “Who Will Save Your Soul” on repeat*
Kashana (@kashanacauley) January 28, 2017
16. Dorothy Charles @dn_charles
Charles is the multiracial medical student behind #WhiteCoats4BlackLives.
How am I, a black woman, supposed to trust a doctor who is ambivalent about whether or not police are justified in shooting folks like me?
Dorothy N. Charles (@dn_charles) February 4, 2017
17. Ijeoma Oluo @IjemoaOluo
She’s an amazing writer, critic, and editor-at-large for The Establishment.
I love muting trolls. I love knowing they are so angered by what I’m saying they have to seek me out 2 try 2 silence me & they are silenced
Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) January 31, 2017
18. Vilissa Thompson @VilissaThompson
She’s the founder of Ramp Your Voice, a self-advocacy and empowerment movement for people with disabilities. She also created the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite.
To ask me to separate my Black womanness from who I am for the cause (disability rights) is disrespectful- you are silencing my voice & life
Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson) January 30, 2017
19. Imani Gandy @AngryBlackLady
I think as progressive journalists we should commit to using the term “religious imposition.”
It’s not about freedom.
Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) February 2, 2017
20. Danyel Smith @danamo
Smith is the former editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine and the senior culture editor for ESPN’s The Undefeated, a new digital initiative.
21. Nalo Hopkinson @Nalo_Hopkinson
Hopkinson is a fantasy and science fiction writer whose work you definitely need to add to your reading list.
22. Rep. Maxine Waters @MaxineWaters
For over two decades, she’s represented California’s 43rd District in the House of Representatives. Now, she’s leading the resistance in Congress.
23. Marley Dias @iammarleydias
You may recall Dias’ effort to collect 1,000 books about black girls. Now this 12-year-old has a book deal of her own!
Still sad that there is no woman quarterback emojiWe have but no Q.B.
Marley Emerson Dias (@iammarleydias) February 4, 2017
The best part? This is only the beginning.
It was nearly impossible to curate this list down to 23. I left off some pretty big names in favor of some lesser-known women doing big things in their fields. That’s why I pulled all of these accounts and even more you should follow into a Twitter list. When it comes to black women, there is no shortage of awesome.
We are out here.
In every walk of life. In every career. Every state and every country. We are out here. Listen to our lived experiences. Fund our research. Buy tickets to our performances. Hear our lectures. Subscribe to our channels and podcasts. Cook our recipes. But first and foremost listen. Just listen.