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.
This is the America I'm proud to be a part of. #NoBanNoWall #JFKTerminal4 #NoMuslimRegistry #NoMuslimBan https://t.co/uSYOSmaqLd— Blair Imani (@Blair Imani)1485653145.0
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 (@Symone D. Sanders)1485805198.0
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 (@Nell Painter)1485964619.0
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.
#Ohio, your state legislature wants to ban abortion at 6 weeks. Call #JohnKasich @ 614.466.3555 to veto the bill!… https://t.co/Mlh1xjEJvE— La'Tasha D. Mayes (@La'Tasha D. Mayes)1481151995.0
5. The Kitchenista — @MissAngelaDavis
Miss Angela Davis, aka The Kitchenista, is a private chef, food blogger, and creator of seriously mouthwatering recipes.
Smoked gouda & chive buttermilk biscuits happened for brunch... #kitchenistasundays https://t.co/AOz6JD4daJ— Angela Davis (@Angela Davis)1486316061.0
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— The Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom (@The Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom)1486231534.0
7. April Reign — @ReignOfApril
Reign is the managing editor of Broadway Black and the woman behind the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
I miss him too. #Bigly. But y'all gotta stop calling on Obama & start calling (literally) your Congresspeople who can actually DO something.— April (@April)1485833404.0
8. Elaine Welteroth — @ElaineWelteroth
She's the editor of Teen Vogue and the guiding voice behind their sweeping shift toward the inclusive and political.
Whoa. Just had a dream that I was helping Sasha Obama with a speech...for @TeenVogue ?! 🤔Let's hope it's a premonition.— Elaine Welteroth (@Elaine Welteroth)1486385040.0
9. Chirlane McCray — @NYCFirstLady
In addition to being the first lady of New York City, McCray is a writer, activist, and mental health advocate.
This week, I joined @NYPDONeill to announce a new hotline and more trained officers to combat sex trafficking in NY… https://t.co/JUaOXbS74k— Chirlane McCray (@Chirlane McCray)1486143633.0
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.
Wonderful to be a part of #unitedblackworldmonth @OhioState. Thank you for warm reception 😊🙏🏾❤️ https://t.co/Gyu3KO13G6— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass)1486091541.0
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 (@Angelica Ross)1483311673.0
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.
Black Women, Hair, and Exercise. Tips From the Pros https://t.co/lzJeItZTpq via @afrobella— afrobella (@afrobella)1485621573.0
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.
I don't see any Oscar nominations for rapist Nate Parker. Good. #pettyblackfeminist— Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪 (@Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪)1485265270.0
14. DNLee —@DNLee5
DNLee is a mammalogist, writer, and new professor. She blogs for Scientific American.
Hi, I'm DNLee I study behavior & natural history of small mammals across urban gradients. #actuallivingscientist… https://t.co/vGkN9yc8A1— DNLee (@DNLee)1486156453.0
15. Kashana Cauley — @kashanacauley
Cauley is a writer and humorist who was recently joined the writing staff of "The Daily Show."
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?— cyborg witch, MD (@cyborg witch, MD)1486169733.0
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 (@Ijeoma Oluo)1485892165.0
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 (@Vilissa Thompson)1485795570.0
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 (@Imani Gandy)1486045767.0
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.
"The way he plays the guitar, it’s like the guitar must have been his friend.” https://t.co/02S8YNEw1P— Danyel Smith (@Danyel Smith)1486035787.0
21. Nalo Hopkinson — @Nalo_Hopkinson
Hopkinson is a fantasy and science fiction writer whose work you definitely need to add to your reading list.
Never considered before how creepy it can be to quote something an author's characters said and attribute it to the author. #writerslife— Nalo Hopkinson (@Nalo Hopkinson)1485583104.0
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.
My response to questions I've received about @realDonaldTrump & impeachment. In my estimation, he's leading himself… https://t.co/0inwzuw5cq— Maxine Waters (@Maxine Waters)1486399805.0
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 emoji😭We have 🏋🏾♀️🤼♀️🤸🏾♀️⛹🏾♀️🤾🏾♀️🏌🏾♀️🏄🏾♀️🏊🏾♀️🤽🏾♀️🚣🏾♀️🏇🏾🚴🏾♀️🚵🏾♀️🤹🏾♀️ but no Q.B.— Marley Emerson Dias (@Marley Emerson Dias)1486229994.0
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.