Women’s History Month is not over! It is time to highlight amazing women who are changing the media industry in front and behind the scenes. Women in the media set the standard, rally for social injustice, and create media platforms that help change the narrative Sometimes as a black woman in this industry, it can be hard when you are fighting for a seat at the table. Well, here is a list of ladies who built their own table from scratch. Their vision brings culture and color to a black-and-white world. Here are 9 black women dominating the industry.
1. Lynae Vanee
Lynae Vanee is a force to be reckoned with. She is an NAACP nominee based in Atlanta, GA. She is a writer, performer, poet, actress, and social media influencer who highlight the topics of femininity, inclusivity, and racial equality. Following her time at Spelman University as an undergrad, she transitioned to Boston University where she received her Masters in African American Studies.
You may know her on Instagram for her catchphrase, “Keeping is Black but Keeping it Brief” where she captivates social media with her brief commentary on politics, injustice, and societal topics while educating the masses on the historical context of the black diaspora. Her current projects include “Parking Lot Pimpin’” on social media platforms and “The Let Out” streaming on Patreon. “The Let Out” features celebrity guests such as Kendrick Sampson, Amber Riley, Daveed Diggs, and Issa Rae. The show creates a safe haven for guests to talk about community issues.
2. Jemele Hill
Jemele Hill is an Emmy Award-winning journalist from Detroit, MI. Hill graduated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree and a Spanish minor. Following her love for sports, Hill became a national columnist for ESPN in 2006; continuing her career as Co-Host on Sports Center in 2017. As of 2020, Hill has partnered with Van Lathan launching a podcast entitled “The Wire: Way Down in the Hole.” Hill was appointed to the National Association of Black Journalists and was Awarded Journalist of the Year in 2018.
Hill also won an Emmy Award for her one-hour town hall with former President Barak Obama entitled “The President and The People: A National Conversation.” Most of Hill’s viewpoints discuss sports, culture, and politics. Jemele Hill is a woman of many hats gracing the screens of some of our favorite shows such as A Black Lady Sketch Show, Power Book II: Ghost, Luke Cage, The Best Man: Final Chapters, and more. Jemele Hill released a memoir entitled “Uphill” released on October 2022; and is the co-founder of Lodge Freeway Media.
3. Pinky Cole
Pinky Cole, whose real name is Aisha Cole, was born and raised in Baltimore. However, she received her Bachelor’s degree from Clark Atlanta University and is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Cole began her career as a producer and later became an American restaurateur. She is the founder of Slutty Vegan, a company that changed the game for vegan food and added a real twist. As of today, the restaurant has expanded from Georgia to Alabama and New York. Pinky Cole takes the term go-getter to another level.
In 2022, Cole released a cookbook, “Eat Plants, B*tch” reinventing the traditional vegan meal. A philanthropist, she established The Pinky Cole Foundation which offers scholarships for students enrolled at Clark Atlanta University. During the pandemic, Cole donated to local businesses that struggled with rent affecting their livelihoods. Cole advocates for “health and generational wealth” in her community.
4. Natalie Manuel Lee
Natalie Manuel Lee is a journalist, producer, and stylist born in Sacramento, CA where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She is the daughter of Renette and Manuel Lee, a former MLB player, coach, and manager. As the former “Fear of God” brand manager, Natalie transformed from fashion to a faith-based brand.
Natalie is the executive producer and host of an interview series entitled “Beyond The Surface” on ButtahSkin.com. In this podcast series, many celebrities, influencers, and other creatives discuss their likes and dislikes. They also discuss their journeys as artists and creatives, and the connections they make between their careers and personal lives. Natalie also has a six-part docuseries entitled “Now, With Natalie” that focuses on “discovery” and identity while dominating the industry.
5. Amanda Seales
Amanda Seales is a Comedian, Actress, Host, and Content Creator, who received her master’s degree in African American Studies with a focus on Hip Hop from Columbia University. You may know her from the popular show Insecure as Tiffany Dubois, but her first appearance aired in 1993. Seales played Katy in the movie Cop and a Half. In 1994, she appeared as Deonne Willburn on the television series My Brother and Me, which ran until 1995. Additionally, Seales made appearances on Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam, and daytime talk show The Real, and eventually created her own game show entitled “Smart, Funny, and Black” in 2019.
Amanda is not afraid to speak her mind especially when it comes to injustice and unfair acts against people of color. Her Instagram is loaded with an abundance of informational videos, political points of view, and overall factual yet controversial information on the disparities between black Americans. Seales is a powerhouse where activism meets comedy. “I Be Knowing”, Amanda’s 2019 comedy special, can be viewed here.
6. Kenya Hunt
Kenya Hunt is a writer, author, editor, and creative consultant. Hunt is currently the Fashion Director of Grazia UK and advocates for diversity in fashion. Hunt received a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia and a MA in Literature and the Arts from Oxford University. Kenya spent time as a research assistant in several media outlets and magazines such as Jane, Vibe Magazine, and Village Voice. Some of her writing has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, The Washington Post, Vogue, Refinery 29, and more. Hunt was acknowledged and awarded the Global Leader of Change Award by the British Fashion Council in 2021. Additionally, she is the founder and creator of R.O.O.M., an organization that advocates and mentors others in the fashion industry.
7. KeKe Palmer
Lauren Keyana Palmer a.k.a. KeKe Palmer as we know her swept the industry by storm at a young age. Keke was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois to parents Sharon and Larry Palmer. We may know her from Akeelah and the Bee, but her career began in 2006 in the film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Her filmography includes Madea’s Family Reunion, and Jump In; while starring in the Nickelodeon series True Jackson VP. From there KeKe starred in Longshots, CrazySexy Cool: A TLC Story, Scream Queens, Hustlers, Alice, NOPE, and the list continues on.
While acting, KeKe snagged a record deal with Atlantic Records at a very young age and has released a total of 6 albums in her lifetime, the latest album entitled “Virgo Tendencies” in 2020. KeKe has received prestigious awards such as the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Supporting Actress. She also received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. In 2014, KeKe became the youngest woman and the first African American woman to play Cinderella on Broadway. By 2019, KeKe joined Michael Strahan and Haines on the GMA daytime show which ran for one year. In November 2022, Palmer launched her own network channel entitled “KeyTV”. The channel introduces a diverse group of creators to serve as the “keys to the culture.”
8. Simone Oliver
Brooklyn native, Simone Oliver has contributed greatly to the cultivation of beauty and style for various reputable publications such as Refinery29 and the New York Times. As the digital fashion editor and growth strategy editor for lifestyle and features, Simone contributed 13 years of expertise. Further, Simone spent four and a half years teaching at Newhouse NYC at Syracuse University. Simone taught social platforms, processes, and perspectives prior to joining the NYU SPS Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts’ Board of Advisors. She transformed Allure Magazine’s digital presence during her tenure as a Digital Creator. This resulted in the magazine’s growth and expansion.
In her most recent role, she served as Refinery29’s Global Editor in Chief expanding across several countries. Her position influenced their rapid growth and media presence which expanded their portfolio. She also teamed with Facebook and Instagram’s global leadership teams to help expand their digital publication and magazine. Currently, Simone is the SVP of digital content at BET, overseeing the Branding, Social, Video, Editorial, and Creative teams.
9. Imani Ellis
CEO and Founder of the Creative Collective and Culture Con, Imani Ellis is a woman on a mission to impact the world. Imani received her degree from Vanderbilt as a communication major with a minor in German and Film Studies. According to Vanderbilt.edu, Ellis believes she was always called to live in New York and began to build her career as a professional. What started as a gathering with a few people evolved into a networking conference grossing over “2,500” attendees. This would later become one of the largest networking conferences for people of color called CultureCon. The conference promoted “Career and Community” generating attendance from celebrities and icons such as Spike Lee, Naomi Campbell, Winston Duke, Meagan Goode, and more. By 2022, Imani served as the Vice President of Communications at NBC Universal after working her way up the ladder from a “Page”. Her credits include Nickelodeon, ESPN, Creative Arts Talent Agency, and more.
It would be right to not include some Phnemonial women who’ve graced the cover of Inclub Magazine. For more information please visit the extended articles below to learn more.