A closer look at the black women making headlines and breaking barriers this week.
The talent and net worth in this photo alone is proof of awesomeness. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment.

Black women are everything.

I say it without reservation or hesitation. I say it with personal experience and anecdotal knowledge. We. Are. Everything.

Need someone to replace your contaminated water pipes? We can do that. Need someone to tell off Paul Ryan? We can do that. Need someone to help you master a skateboard trick? We can do that too. Try to keep up.


Our talent, know-how, grace, and grit is unparalleled. There's only one problem: No one seems to care.

At least not visibly — not when it matters. In the spirit of intersectionality, black women cape for black men, we support women, other POC, people with disabilities, and our LGBTQ family. But who is championing, listening to, trusting, and promoting us? Fine, we can do that too.

Dropping knowledge about the awesomeness of black women. Photo by WOCinTech Chat/Flickr.

This is the beginning of a weekly column dedicated to signal-boosting the black women who make the world spin.

From tastemakers and politicians, to women making a name for themselves in their communities, these are people whose stories merit attention and enthusiasm.

Let's go ahead and give them their roses. Here are the women I'm here for this week — support them, believe them, and celebrate them.

"We've Got Your Back": Janet Jackson and Lola Olufemi

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

  • Across the pond, Cambridge student Lola Olufemi joined together with other students to write an open letter about improving the university's English department. It included suggestions for creating a more inclusive canon and improving representation among the authors and viewpoints. (You can read the entire thing here.)  Soon after, Olufemi's simple, clear proposal was mischaracterized and demonized on the front page of The Daily Telegraph, who suggested she was trying to drop white authors, including Shakespeare, altogether. The paper has since printed a tiny apology, but the damage is done. We know the truth, sis.

"We Believe You": Myeshia Johnson and Kitti Jones

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"Go off, sis": Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay recently accepted Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award. The award honors great talents and contributions in eight categories: technology, performing arts, visual arts, life sciences, physical sciences, history, social progress, and youth. DuVernay picked up the honor for visual arts for her work in TV and film. And if that's not enough, check out this clip from "Finding Your Roots" when she discovers her genetic makeup is majority African. Her smile is like standing in a sunbeam.

Final thoughts: Robin Thede

Robin Thede, host of "The Rundown with Robin Thede" will deliver this week's final thoughts:

I'll be here next week with more women to celebrate, support, and signal boost. If you know a black woman that I should feature, send me some links.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

As it turns out, underdog stories can have cats as the main character.

Purrington Cat Lounge, where "adoptable cats roam freely and await your visit" and patrons can pay a small entry fee for the chance to sip coffee alongside feline friends, boasted legendary adoption rates since its conception in January 2015.


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