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Revolutionaries: Appreciating and Amplifying the Work of Black Women and Folks

There is no secret that without the contribution of Black women, very few (if any) creative platforms would exist. As Black History Month draws to a close, it is essential to recognize that we are supposed to uplift and center Black people 365 days, every single year. Not only are Black women disregarded in all aspects of society, including the Black community. We hardly discuss the forms of systemic violence and the ways these oppression tools are used to tone police, murder and disenfranchise. You can not consume the platforms built by Black women, carelessly yet not center their humanity, first. Black women and Non-Binary folks are always expected to carry but such is not our job. One of the many critiques I have is centered on the lack of education or commitment rather, to the learning of Black women and folks from all spectrums in regard to their work centered on art, activism and social justice. In this article, I will recommend (at least) seven Black and Folks to center in your anti-racism education. Sidenote, if you are consuming work from these artists, ensure to reciprocate and allocate funds for all that they do. Black women and folks are not entertainment mules. 

woman with her eyes closed smiling at the camera
Photo by nappy from Pexels

Blair Imani (She/Her)

Blair Imani is a Black, Bisexual, Muslim woman known for her work as an educator, author, influencer and historian. As she constantly uses her platforms, on her Instagram, she began the series, “Smarter in Seconds,” where she discusses social justice issues and the importance of allyship. She stresses the importance of learning, while also being adamant about rebelling against traditional societal aspects and expectations. 

woman with a flower behind her ear standing in front of a pink wall
Photo by nappy from Pexels

Ericka Hart (She/They)

Ericka Hart is a Non-Binary racial, social and gender justice educator, model and writer. Hart is also a survivor of Breast Cancer and has persistently used their platform to break stigmas about sexuality, gender, race and all forms of intersectionality. Through their work, they center marginalized folks and communities, while being open about embracing who you are, the impact of white supremacy and transphobia. 

Chika (She/Her)

The powerhouse, Chika, is known for her expansive, incredible and thought-provoking rap lyrics as they also became a Grammy-nominated artist for Best New Artist. As a Black Queer woman, Chika has been vocal about embracing all parts of their identity. Their craft is immeasurable and the power they have is just the beginning of an insightful and culturally rich career. 

Tarana Burke (She/Her)

Burke is an activist and public speaker who founded the #MeToo movement. As her work centers on eradicating sexual and interpersonal violence, she is very vocal about the persistent attempted erasure against women of color and the challenges we face. Burke not only creates safe spaces for survivors, but her work is also severely underlooked as the current version of the #MeToo movement has been made to center white and privileged voices. Uplift and learn more about Tarana Burke as well as the original foundations of the #MeToo movement. 

woman holding a violin by a window
Photo by nappy from Pexels

Briahna Joy Gray (She/Her)

Briahna Joy Gray is a political commentator and the former Press Secretary for former presidential candidate Bernie’s Sanders presidential run. She is the host of the Bad Faith podcast and centers much of her work on leftist politics, strategies and discussions centered on accountability and Medicare For All. I recommend Gray because her work and force in leftist politics (and in general) us to be reckoned with. As she has her own voice, there are interesting political aspects to learn from her past and current political experiences. 

Angelica Ross (She/Her) 

Angelica Ross is a Black Trans* actor, activist and tech creator known for her role in the groundbreaking FX show, “Pose” where she portrayed the character of Candy Ferocity in the House of Abundance. Ross is also known for her work on another Ryan Murphy production, American Horror Story: 1984, where she played Nurse Rita. She is also an entrepreneur, motivational and public speaker, activist and advocate. As Ross’ multifaceted work is a delight to see on screen, she demonstrates a craft that is unmatched. 

Arlo Parks (She/Her)

I will admit that I only found out about Arlo Parks recently but she is astoundingly talented. Her voice is beautiful, original and unique as she explores love, identity and self in her work. You may recognize her songs, “Eugene,” “Caroline,” “Too Good,” and “Cola.” The Black British artist’s work is centered on Indie Pop, Poetry and Rhythm and Blues.

five women laughing together
Photo by nappy from Pexels

A Love Letter to Black Women and Folks

Let this serve as a reminder that you are uplift and support all Black folks, every day. Do not let this conversation and recommendations fall by the wayside. We all have valid perspectives and experiences as Blackness is not just from the heteronormative, able-bodied and cisgender aspects. Also, learn more about Black joy and more importantly, not impeding on those spaces. The more intersectional your actions and practices are, the more growth you will be willing to gain and expand upon. As always, I am forever grateful for the work of Black women and folks in community, who live in their truth and in excellence. Black Women and Folks, thank you for being who you are, thank you for creating me and thank you for your brilliance and incomparable power. We are immeasurable.

Nautia Smalls

George Mason University '23

Nautia Smalls is a writer, filmmaker, and an Integrative Studies major (with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights) at George Mason University. Her pronouns are (She/Her/Hers). Originally from the state of Georgia, Smalls is currently the Undersecretary of Identity Affairs in Student Government at George Mason.
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