Yesterday Time Magazine released its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World which included names like Pharrel Williams, Barack Obama, and top black women who also made the list- Kerry Washington, Ory Okollo, Beyonce, Okonjo Iweala, and more.
Find out more about Time’s Most Influential black women below:
1. Beyonce– Singer, dancer, philanthropist and Feminist
Beyonce is not topping the list for nothing. In December she surprised the world when she unveiled a new self titled album with a huge sales of 828,773 copies worldwide in three-days becoming the fastest-selling album in iTunes history. Parkwood Entertainment.
One of the tracks on the album features words by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much.’ ” Beyoncé has insisted that girls “run the world” and declared, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” Beyonce’s themes were identified as post-feminist and much darker than previous recordings in the past.
In the past year, Beyoncé has become the richest black female entertainer of all time. The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour ran for a year while being a full-time mother to baby Blue-Ivy.
2. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala– Economist and Finance Minister
Tagged as the ‘Guardian of Nigeria’s funds’, the economist and Finance Minister Okonjo Iweala’s name will forever be in the good books of the nation. In 2005 she led the Nigerian team that struck a deal with the Paris Club, a group of bilateral creditors, to pay a portion of Nigeria’s external debt of $12 billion in return for an $18 billion debt write-off. Prior to the partial debt payment and write-off, Nigeria spent roughly US $1 billion every year on debt servicing, without making a dent in the principal owed. Generally known for her zero tolerance to corruption, Iweala has certainly made Nigeria a nation to take seriously.
3. Kerry Washington– Actress, artist and feminist
If the iconic actress is not starring as Olivia Pope in the Shonda Rimes series- Scandal, where she plays a crisis management expert to the president, she is supporting a global movement that brings awareness to violence against women and girls. Her brilliant role in the television drama has revealed the dexterity of the Golden Globes award winner as she returns on this year’s list of Time’s 100.
4. Serena Williams– Tennis legend, entrepreneur and philanthropist
American professional tennis player who is currently ranked number 1 in women’s singles tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 on six separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and regained this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013, becoming the oldest world no. 1 player in WTA’s history.
5. Ory Okollo– Activist, lawyer and blogger
Ory Okolloh is a Kenyan activist, lawyer, and blogger. She currently holds the position of Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. She was formerly the Policy Manager for Africa with Google. In 2006 she co-founded the parliamentary watchdog site Mzalendo (Swahili: “Patriot”). The site sought to increase government accountability by systematically recording bills, speeches, MPs, standing orders,etc. got a Harvard Law degree and a job offer from a D.C. law firm.
But instead of building a comfortable life, she went back to Africa to build a more accountable, transparent world for millions.
6. Ertharin Cousin– Head of U.N. World Food Programme
Cousin is the twelfth Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. She served under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2012, as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, serving in Rome, Italy, and chief of the United States Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome. Cousin has successfully managed to eradicate hunger in some regions. Today she is responsible for bringing food to more than 100 million people around the world every year as head of the U.N.’s World Food Programme.
7. Thuli Madonsela– Activist and Lawyer
Thulisile Madonsela, is a human rights lawyer, equality expert, and Public Protector of South Africa. She was one of 11 technical experts who helped in the drafting of the final constitution of South Africa in 1994 to 1995. In the words of Sanusi Lamido (former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria), “Thuli Madonsela is an inspirational example of what African public officers need to be.”
8. Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe– Activist
In Gulu, Uganda, Sister Rosemary owns an orphanage home and shelter for women and girls who have been victimized by violence, rape and sexual abuse. She runs the Saint Monica Girls’ Tailoring Centre where she gives home to the homeless and hope to the hopeless.