From Annie Malone, without whom Madame C.J. Walker would likely not have begun in the hair care industry, to Selma Burke, who sculpted the portrait of FDR that is officially credited to John Sinnock on the US Dime, black women have always been not only changing - but in some cases creating the game.
This is true, not only in the case of looking back at history, but in looking at now, and what is to come of the future.
With that in mind, D’IYANU is introducing you to the five women listed below; change-makers you should know about. The impact they are making now as well as the impact that we’re excited to see them make in the near future, make them more than worthy of a follow (be it via social media, or in the ways you do that in real life, like reading their books, attending their panels, etc.) Intelligent, proactive, and inspiring, they are:
(Video via www.instagram.com/tadeyemibooks)
Tomi Adeyemi, a Nigerian American novelist who you may know for her novel, Children of Blood and Bone. A first pick for The Tonight Show’s book club, the young adult fantasy novel has appealed to the masses across age ranges, which is one of many reasons it is being called the new Harry Potter, or the black Harry Potter, depending on who you’re talking to.
A Harvard graduate and writer, as well as a San Francisco writing coach, Tomi grew up in the far suburbs just outside of the proper Chicago city limits. She went on to study West African culture and mythology in Salvador, Brazil, where she’d learn about things like the Orisha; a strong component to ...Blood and Bone, which is expected to be the seed of a trilogy series.
Prior to the book even being published, Adeyemi was rewarded with a movie deal, and as her novel takes place in a mythical African land, it has garnered comparisons to another popular work of fiction, Black Panther. Will we hear her name at award season next year? It’s more than likely.
(Image via ToniAdeyemi.com)
Adeyemi has already been named a Nebula awards finalist, alongside filmmaker Boots Reily (Sorry to Bother You) and musician Janelle Monae. All three have become, in whatever span of time, popular arbiters of complex art that could be most easily compartmentalized into the category of Afrofuturism; a subset but also distinctively unique branch of science fiction, a medium perfect for telling the stories of minorities and celebrated at Nebula.
Masculinity unattached from the toxic and a focus on the medium of fiction as a way to spread the message are intentional elements of the writer’s stories, she’s said of the novel, “If we’re being honest, the type of person who is going to sit down and read a thesis on race in America… is most likely not the type of person who is our problem.” Looking back on the outrage from some viewers over the presence of black actors in the film version of The Hunger Games, one of the events that motivated the writing of ...Blood and Bone, Adeyemi said to Ja’Han Jones of the Huffington Post, “I hadn’t even connected that to all of the problems we had… to see people who were so distracted by the presence of blackness that it ruined the movie for them - I was like, ok, I’m gonna get you.”
The next book in the series, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is set for release June 4th.