She Bad! Black Badass Women of Hollywood

Black women of Hollywood have been making their presence known in the most dominating way since the beginning. At one point in time, a black person wouldn’t be seen in a leading role but when Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win an Oscar for supporting actress, the bar was set as Whoopi Goldberg (‘Ghost’), Jennifer Hudson (‘Dreamgirls’), Monique (‘Precious’), Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’), and Lupita Nyongo (’12 Years A Slave’) were the ones to win the same award after McDaniel. Now, black women are starring in lead roles and sometimes there is more than just one, i.e. ‘Girls Trip’ and ‘Hidden Figures’.

Black actresses have become a voice for every person of color as they take on roles that demand the attention of those who overlook them. There are hundreds who deserve the acknowledgment and recognition but here’s a look at few of Hollywood’s badass women and some of their iconic roles.

Queen Latifah as ‘Cleo’ (‘Set It Off’)

There’s nobody like Cleo: bold, no fucks given, and bad as hell. She’s the definition of a ride-or-die friend. Her death still gets me every time but even dying; she went out like a G.

 

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Viola Davis as ‘Annaliese Keating’ (‘How to Get Away with Murder’)

Nobody can play this badass lawyer like Viola Davis. Her role is strong and hard hitting, when you think she’s down, she comes back stronger than ever. Even though lots of people have been killed and those close to her got in some serious trouble, she manages to save everyone, including herself, Keating for the win every time.

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Kerry Washington as ‘Olivia Pope’ (‘Scandal’)

The one who helps in political situations who manages to get in a few of her own, Olivia still isn’t someone you’d want to mess with. With the secrets she holds and knows, she’s a weapon of mass destruction.

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Pam Grier as ‘Foxy Brown’ (‘Foxy Brown’)

A shapely woman with big hair and an attitude just as big, Foxy wasn’t anything to play with. She kicked ass and did it gracefully as the same damn time.

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Janelle Monae as ‘Teresa’ (‘Moonlight’)

The wife of a drug dealer who both took in a neglected and confused kid, Janelle’s character was part of the reason Black didn’t stray the wrong direction. ‘Moonlight’ was a groundbreaking film that had everybody’s emotions on edge, even at The Academy when they won over ‘La La Land’ for Best Picture.

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Ariyan Annette Johnson as ‘Chantel’ (‘Just Another Girl on the I.R.T’)

This 90’s movie was my favorite; Ariyan played the rawest character in film, she was straight forward, honest, and just as lost as most teens would be. The film gave insight to stigma and misconceptions about HIV, when back then people weren’t completely sure how they could catch it. It’s the perfect coming-of-age film for every generation, in my opinion.

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Rutina Wesley as ‘Nova Bordelon’ (Queen Sugar’)

That woke as f--- sister of the Bordelon clan. Rutina embodies and brings Nova to life as the show tackles real life events such police brutality, race, white privileges, and civil rights. The emotions are high in this series, bring tissues.

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Issa Rae as ‘Issa’ (‘Insecure’)

The awkward black girl is still awkward in the series about finding out about love, self, friendships, and everything that surrounds it. Issa is pretty much portraying herself in the comedy series but no matter what some fans say, I’m #TeamIssa and #LawerenceHive got to chill out. If you don’t understand, you have to binge the first two seasons before the third season airs.

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Zendaya as “M.J.” (‘Spiderman: Homecoming’)

Zendaya is the voice of the young people even as a mostly silent character in the beginning of the new set of Spiderman films. Though, her role isn’t involved in much, once we learnt of her role as Michelle Jones, there’s no doubt her role is about to get mad interesting.

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Taraji P. Henson

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Regina Hall

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Jada Pinkett Smith

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The black women of Hollywood are gaining a louder voice which continues to be heard. No matter how small the role is, they still manage to get the attention. Hopefully, one year at the Oscars will be filled with predominantly colored actresses and the win for Lead Actor/Actress will recognize those who work hard in their careers.