4 Famous and Inspirational Women of Color that We Should Celebrate
by Emily Tran
Throughout my life, I have watched and heard of famous women of color thanks to television, the radio, social media, etc. Yet, I never fully took the time to really appreciate the difference they have made. I would just label them as a “celebrity,” instead of learning about the impact they had made on many. As I grew older and continued to hear more about them, I began to research and appreciate their influence on the world and their achievements.
Betty Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American and an award-winning journalist who has exemplified phenomenal success and whose work has allowed her to travel across the world. She was previously the news anchor for CNN as well as CBS Morning News and is now the current anchor for Early Today on NBC and First Look on MSNBC. She has covered major events such as the disappearances of the Malaysian planes, the election of Pope Francis, the terrorist attacks in France in 2010, the war in Syria, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and more. She has also gone undercover in Myanmar for exclusives reports that reveal the lack of assistance after Cyclone Nargis and traveled to Africa to cover the presidential elections of 2007 in Sierra Leone.
Her success in journalism has led her to win a regional Emmy Award for “Outstanding Noon Newscast” in 2003 and Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award in 2008. In 2007, the Smithsonian Institution recognized her as the first Vietnamese-American to news anchor on national television in America and she was accepted into the Asian Hall of Fame in 2015. She also co-founded Help the Hungry, a non-profit organization that contributed aid to families in poverty.
Throughout her life, First Lady Michelle Obama has been an influential figure for many and has used her platform to demonstrate how girls all over the world can reach their full potential when provided the necessary tools. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, Obama has continued to advocate for the importance of education. In 2010, she launched the Let’s Move! Initiative as a way to to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy living. She continued to campaign for the issues that she believed in and in 2011, she co-founded Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative to assist military families with Dr. Jill Biden.
One of the most impactful initiatives of hers is Let Girls Learn. With this organization, she hopes to educate the 62 million girls worldwide who are not in school through funding education projects such as safe transportation, scholarships, acceptable bathrooms, and more. Michelle Obama has continued to advocate for the issues close to her heart, from helping employed women balance their career with their family, girls’ education, supporting military families, and national service, making her one of the most inspiring woman in the world for many.
Born to Puerto Rican immigrants, Jennifer Lopez is the embodiment of the American dream after her emergence as a dancer, singer, and actress. Lopez, an American icon, has always embraced her Hispanic heritage and has brought her roots into the American mainstream culture. She has won a variety of awards such as the MTV Awards, American Music Awards, Billboard icon Award, ALMA Award, and was even named Glamour Women of the Year in 1999. She has acted in many films such as Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner as well as in many shows including NBC’s Shades of Blue and was a judge on American Idol for five of its last six seasons.
Although she has made a huge impact on the media industry, she has contributed and has raised awareness regarding issues surrounding women and children, especially girls. Lopez has co-founded The Lopez Family Foundation, which advocates and raises funds for programs that make healthcare and health education available to mothers and their children. In September 2015, she became the first UN Foundation Global Advocate for Girls and Women and has participated in many organizations including Amnesty International, which focuses on human rights around the world and ALAS Activist, which promotes early childhood development in Latin America.
Priyanka Chopra, who is known for playing FBI recruit Alex Parrish on ABC’s Quantico, has used her voice to stand up for girls without education or who are not treated equally. Chopra, one of India’s most acclaimed actresses, is an Indian National Film Award-winner, a Bollywood icon, and a musical artist. She is also an inspiration for many people, especially for young girls, thanks to her service as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Girl Up Champion.
As a Girl Up Champion, Chopra raises awareness regarding issues that affect girls education as well as gaining funds for UN programs that give girls around the world the chance to be educated, be protected from violence, see a doctor, and more. She has not only founded her own charity, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation, which advocates for the education of girls in India, but also participates in organizations that help protect children’s rights. As a child who traveled from place to place, she became aware of the significance of giving back at an early age and has continued to do so throughout her life.