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5 inspiring black businesswomen you need to know

In our last article, we talked about some African-American women who opened the door for black women in business. These are a few of the rising number of black women that have walked through it.

These young females aren’t taking no for an answer as they make revolutionary business moves.

The start of something new can always feel intimidating and uncertain, and even more so when your ideas are on the line. GE Slaps draws some serious inspiration from these vivacious go-getters who are following in the footsteps of today’s African-American business queens.

1. The social perception shifter: Yelitsa Jean-Charles

Yelitsa Jean-Charles

 

The young founder, CEO and student designer from Rhode Island School of Design identifies as a visual activist who is embodying diversity in a new, unique way.

Her venture, Healthy Roots, specializes in doll designs that empower young black girls to fight colorism and internalized racism. That’s a big task, but how does she do it? Well, her dolls come in different skin tones, facial features and hair textures that represent what real black women look like.

The dolls represent different stories and cultures from African- American, Haitian, Nigerian and Afro-Brazilian cultures. Healthy Roots is breaking down stereotypes and teaching our young girls to embrace their own beauty!

This inspiring entrepreneur has also been given her own TED Talk on #blackgirlmagic and hopes to inspire girls everywhere! “It is important Black children see a positive reflection of themselves,” said Yelitsa.

2. The rising media mogul: Angelica Nwandu

Angelica Nwandu

The hustle is real for 27-year- old founder of “The Shade Room” (TSR). “I don’t take a vacation. If I got a week off, The Shade Room would probably burn down,” says Angelica, whose publication covers trending stories, politics and celebrities from the point of view of people of color.

With more than 8 million followers on her online platforms – including Facebook, Instagram, a website, Snapchat and YouTube page – this media mogul has fought her way to the top. Angelica had a rough childhood at the hands of an abusive father and her experience through the foster care system.

Despite her circumstances, Angelica got a full-ride scholarship to Loyola Marymount University and graduated as an accountant. But her career took a full 180 when she was chosen to participate in the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab at the age of 23.

She began to network, met the right people and became inspired to begin a blog about the things she liked. By the end of the first week and a half, she had over 10,000 followers. “It’s a brand people want,” she says.

3. The barrier-breaking Hollywood writer: Issa Rae

Issa Rae

 

“It’s nothing but a vibe” with co-writer and star of the HBO series Insecure, Jo-Issa Rae Dop (Issa Rae). As a child, Issa lived in Maryland where she says she grew up with things that aren’t considered ‘black,’ like swim team, street hockey and Passover dinners with Jewish best friends. But when her family moved to LA, she attended a predominantly black middle school and found it difficult to fit into the ‘norm blackness’ she thought she was supposed to be.

In 2007, she graduated from Stanford University with a major in African and African-American Studies. As a college student, Issa made music videos and wrote and directed for fun. She also met Tracy Oliver, who helped produce Awkward Black Girl, which went viral and helped launch her to the success she’s built today.

Most recently, our girl became the face of CoverGirl! Oh, and she’s now worth an estimated $3 million. How about that, Lawrence?

4. The CEO with all the tea: Nailah Ellis-Brown

Nailah Ellis-Brown

 

Living in her mother’s basement and selling an old Jamaican family recipe, Nailah Ellis-Brown made it her mission to carry on the family legacy and bring this tea to a store near you.

The Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur used to sell the family’s special hibiscus tea from the trunk of her car. A generous silent partner invested $150,000 into her idea, and she now has her own 4,000-square foot bottling plant in Detroit. Ellis Island Tropical Tea is carried in 20 Whole Foods stores across five states as well as in Busch’s Fresh Food Market and others.

Her advice, “Don’t accept no as an answer from any person who does not have the authority to say yes. I was given that advice as an adolescent and I use it quite often. That advice has opened many closed doors for me.”

5. The problem-solving satin guru: Grace Eleyae

 

Grace Eleyae, founder and CEO of Grace Eleyae Inc., turned hair issues into an opportunity with her revolutionary Slap (satin-lined cap)®.

Her silky, satin-lined items were created after a trip to Kenya turned into torture for her hair due to long-term exposure to the Kenyan heat. After 12-hours of her head bumping on the headrest, her hair become so damaged it completely broke off in the middle of her head. Grace wished there was a stylish and comfortable product that could have stopped this from happening.

She saw her problem as a need for something new, which led her to her own company, personal brand and the next-generation of satin bonnets and products. From satin scrunchies to satin-lined baseball caps, Grace has become a savior for those looking to keep their locks in check while looking fly in the process.

“I wanted to create something that women could wear to bed that was comfortable enough to wear and that had an elastic band so it stays on the head,” said Grace. “It looks stylish enough to wear out whether you’re going on a date night or want to dress it up or down. It compliments any outfit well!”

These are the women who inspire us, who inspires you?

Comments

LadyDay777

LadyDay777 said:

Ladies, keep paving the way for other to know the ground work as before is laid, keep it moving.

Christa Ellen Washington

Christa Ellen Washington said:

Great article! Very inspiring!

Ki Mia

Ki Mia said:

I LOVE them. How inspiring. Prepare to see me on this list one day. #OneLove

Susan

Susan said:

What an interesting story!!! So proud of you all for taking chance and following your dreams. I have two daughters and I hoping and praying they will be recognized some day for their God given talents one is into dance and the other fashion. Keep making a positive name for yourselves.

P.S. I love my Graceeleyae products baseball & satin caps and pillow case. I gave some of my close friends the satin caps last year. We love them. Going to look for the tea today…

Thanks,
Susan

odessa Palms

odessa Palms said:

Absolutely, appreciate learning about a few of our Black women’s journey to success. Thanks, for sharing these amazing stories!

Vielka Moreno

Vielka Moreno said:

Thank you ! Inspiring and informative. Women of color breaking bearers while creating their own wealth and success while marketing goods to women / girls of color that elevate self worth and nurtures positivity ! How would I go about getting an artical published about friend and natural hair stylist.
I have a friend I want to nominate. She is a mom, wife and business woman. She owns her own studio. She does hair, sell beauty products, she is a make up artist. Please take a look , she may not be a making millions but she is worthy of recognition . I am sure many women can relate to her . www.carina-studio.com
When we recognize one of our sisters we all become inspired. It also raises awareness . What services, products are offered . Watching the success of others aspires dreams and inspires us to go after them. My new motto is don’t take no from anyone that does not have the authority to tell you yes.
Thank you so much for your artical. I have bought six of your sarin caps and I WILL be looking for those dolls.❤️❤️

Chidi Beauty

Chidi Beauty said:

I am so proud of all of these women for making their own place in the world, and making our world better in the process. Good list!

Chidi Beauty | Green Beauty for All Skin Tones
http://chidibeauty.com

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Johnson said:

Thanks for sharing and showcasing talent that many of us aren’t even aware of!

Pamela

Pamela said:

Very inspiring!

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