In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to highlight and showcase two Black journalists who inspire me as a person who strives to be a writer:
1. Lindsay Peoples Wagner
Lindsay Peoples Wagner is the current Editor-in-Chief of The Cut magazine. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue and was the youngest person to hold that position as well as the third Black Woman to hold that position.
In a Teen Vogue video discussing her career path up to the point of Editor-in-Chief
In a 2019 Teen Vogue video, she stated that her main goal in her career was to empower young voices through the lens of style and make fashion a more inclusive industry. One of her first jobs was as a closet intern at Teen Vogue, where she oversaw the upkeep of their fashion closet and ran errands for senior staff members. She explains that this job was an attempt to understand the culture of the fashion world and to demonstrate to people that she wanted to work in this industry.
Peoples-Wagner and fashion publicist Sandrine Charles founded the Black in Fashion Council in 2020. According to a 2020 CFDA article about their organization, “they co-founded the Black in Fashion Council ” to represent and secure the advancement of Black individuals in the fashion and beauty industry,” the duo stated. “As a collective, we envision a world in which Black people in fashion and beauty spaces can be open and honest, guaranteed equal rights, and be celebrated for our voices.”
When I first decided to pursue a career as a writer, I was researching all of the different paths one could take as a writer online and came across the Teen Vogue video she did for the site. I was so inspired by her humble beginnings and determination to make it in the industry as a Black Woman that I joined the Her Campus chapter here at San Jose State University! Without seeing her video a year ago, I’m not sure how my college career and/or life would have turned out if I hadn’t pursued my passion for writing.
2. Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells was an American investigative journalist who is widely regarded as a prominent figure of the time through her discussions of race and politics, particularly in the South.
In the early years of her career, she wrote under the pen name “Lola,” but she later made her name known and went on to become the owner of two newspapers: The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and Free Speech. In 1892, after a friend and two of his business associates were murdered, Ida B. Wells became involved in anti-lynching activism.
Wells wrote articles condemning lynchings and risked her life traveling through the south searching for information on other lynchings.
She was also a founder of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the National Association of Colored Women, as well as an active member of women’s suffrage.
When I was in high school, I asked my teacher if I could write about her, and she agreed. I was astounded by the work and credentials Wells accumulated throughout her career, as well as how she was an active driving force in the fight for equality for the Black community. Her work continues to have an impact on society today, and she will never be forgotten.
Who are your favorite journalists? Is there anyone’s work that inspires you? Let us know @HerCampusSJSU!