One Thing From 2020 That Should Keep Going? Black Women Winning

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We made it out of 2020.  

Take some time to sit with that. Celebrate. You survived!

Now that we’re past that whirlwind of a year, some people may want to forget it altogether. Others may look back on it and only see dismay and chaos. Being on “the other side” might make you want to leave everything that happened in 2020 behind. But you might not have noticed that some beautiful things happened during that year that helped you get through it. So beautiful in fact, that we should take time to acknowledge them and bring them into 2021 with us. 

Black women shined in 2020—even through loss, pain, and confusion. There was the COVID-19 pandemic, increased police violence, and a financial crisis. Yet still, many Black women created art that carried us through and breathed life into us even in the midst of so much death. This energy of success and creativity is something we should absolutely carry into 2021. 

Black women shined in 2020—even through loss, pain, and confusion. There was the COVID-19 pandemic, increased police violence, and a financial crisis. Yet still, many Black women created art that carried us through and breathed life into us even in the midst of so much death. This energy of success and creativity is something we should absolutely carry into 2021. 

Music

Black women ran music in 2021. This is not debatable. 

Between Chloe and Halle’s innovative quarantine performances and Beyonce’s gorgeous Black is King film, Black women fed us some of the most interesting music and visuals. Some other amazing albums by Black women that came out in 2020: 

  • Nightmare Vacation by Rico Nasty
  • Good News by Megan Thee Stallion
  • It Was Good Until It Wasn’t by Kehlani
  • Chilombo by Jhene Aiko
  • The Album by Teyana Taylor
  • Ho, why is you here? By Flo Milli
  • 2000AND4EVA by Bree Runway
  • Jaguar by Victoria Monet

There are more, but too many to list. The musical excellence exhibited by Black women in 2020 is something we can look forward to being surpassed in 2021. Hopefully, this is also the year that Rihanna finally drops R9. One can dream. 

Photography

Beyonce for Vogue

There aren’t enough awards or specific spaces to celebrate the accomplishments of photographers. Black women photographers achieved a lot in 2020 and their hard work shouldn’t go unnoticed. Kennedi Carter became the youngest photographer in British Vogue’s history at just 21 years old with her Beyonce photoshoot. Dana Scruggs shot Megan Thee Stallion for Time Magazine’s TIME100 list.

 Renell Medrano shot Timothee Chalamet in a beautiful visual story for GQ. Twenty-five-year-old Flo Ngala shot a powerful collection of photos at the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests, featured in Rolling Stone. Twenty-year-old Ashley Pena shot Jodie-Turner Smith for Vogue while managing virtual college classes. Adrienne Raquel photographed several huge names in the music industry with her signature glamorous eye, including Megan Thee StallionTravis Scott and Lil Nas X.  

TV/Film

Insecure Screen Cao

There were Black women behind some of your favorite TV and film moments of 2020. Issa Rae’s Insecure had a fourth season that took Twitter by storm. Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You series on HBO was celebrated as some of the best television in years. Garrett Bradley, the first Black woman to win Sundance’s Best Director award, released Time, a film about a woman campaigning for the release of her husband from prison. 

Channing Godfrey Peoples released her film Miss Juneteenth about a former beauty queen preparing her daughter for a pageant. Netflix celebrated our culture with the release of classic shows like Girlfriends, The Parkers, Moesha, and Half & Half—an effort overseen by a Black woman, Netflix executive Jasmyn Lawson. Overall, some of the most interesting things to happen in TV and film in 2020 happened with Black women. 

Literature

Book cover for Luster by Raven Leilani

We already revisited the countless amazing books by Black women released in 2020, but in case you missed some, check them out here. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, which is being developed into an HBO series, and Raven Leilani’s Luster, are among some of the favorites. We are keeping our eyes out for book releases by Black women authors this year! In the meantime, hit up that list to dive into some of the ones you didn’t get a chance to read. 

2020 was hard, but Black women went harder. Let’s remember that and celebrate it when we reflect on last year, and allow that energy of success to touch you as you move into 2021. Cheers to more art, more creativity, and more milestones.

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