1. Shirley ChisholmSource:Getty
Unbought and unbossed, Ms. Chisholm shocked the nation when she managed to not only become the first African-American woman voted into Congress, she also became the first African-American woman to run for President.
2. Condoleezza RiceSource:Getty
Decades later, Condi took a different governmental office when she became the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State during the Bush administration.
3. Althea GibsonSource:Getty
Gibson was a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court. She was the first Black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis and also became the first black woman to compete on the women’s professional golf tour.
4. Williams SistersSource:Getty
Althea’s legacy lives through the Williams sisters, who have individually broken records, winning all major titles in the sport. As a doubles team, the pair is pretty much unbeatable.
5. Grace JonesSource:Getty
Grace did it all. From modeling, to singing, all the way to acting, this chocolate-skinned beauty was a powerhouse, defying the standards of beauty with her tall frame, short hair, and strong facial features.
6. Alek Wek and Lupita Nyong’oSource:Getty
Decades later, we were introduced to the beautiful Alek Wek, who was the exact opposite of her modeling counterparts. She became the beacon of hope for the beloved Lupita Nyong’o.
7. Beverly JohnsonSource:Getty
Also in the modeling world, Beverly Johnson made fashion history when she became the first African American woman to grace the cover of Vogue.
8. Naomi Campbell and Tyra BanksSource:Getty
Following in her footsteps were Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks who, regardless of their beef, also turned Paris on its head with their fierce grace on the runway.
What hasn’t Oprah done? From hosting her talk show, to starting her own production company and network station, as well as a monthly magazine, this is a mogul worthy of the title. She has transcended almost all aspects of media and maintained her humility and good heart.
10. Wendy WilliamsSource:Getty
Though Wendy Williams’ talk show is a topical polar opposite, it is by no doubt the modern-day version of Oprah’s show.
11. Tina TurnerSource:Getty
Tina Turner gripped the attention of her massive audiences with powerhouse performances that featured sturdy vocals and dance moves to match.
Before stopping the world with digital drops, Beyonce admittedly looked to Ms. Turner while she was perfecting Sasha Fierce.
13. Teresa GravesSource:Getty
Teresa Graves made history as the first African-American woman to serve as a lead in her own hour-long television series when she starred in “Get Christie Love!” in 1974.
14. Kerry WashingtonSource:Getty
48 years later, Kerry Washington became the first African-American woman to lead in a primetime series since “Christie Love” went off air. Kerry’s role in “Scandal” spawned many others such as Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane on BET and Taraji P. Henson as Cookie on FOX.
15. Lisa LeslieSource:Getty
Lisa Leslie wowed audiences on the court when she broke the notion that basketball was an all-boys club. With multiple MVP awards to her name, this 6’5” beauty showed that all one needs is talent.
16. Skylar DigginsSource:Getty
Today we have the lovely Skylar Diggins, whose skills allotted her a spot at Notre Dame University, and off-court beauty that spawned a slight obsession from Drake.
17. Lil KimSource:Getty
Lil Kim premiered as Bad Boy Records’ not-so sweet-princess. With raunchy lyrics that could make any O.G blush, Kim’s edgy style definitely matched her persona.
18. Nicki MinajSource:Getty
For ’90s babies, the Queen Bee is Nicki Minaj. Though she has her own style, Nicki is equally raunchy and equally edgy on and off the stage.
19. Erykah BaduSource:Getty
With the ‘fro on fleek and attitude on lock, Erykah Badu’s very presence demands respect, with a sweet voice that exudes soul to cap it all off.
Solange Knowles is almost like the second coming of Ms. Badu. She pretty much ushered in the natural hair movement, and is one of a few stars still making groovy soul music.