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Black Woman Excellence – Recognize, Acknowledge, Appreciate

By S. A. Miller, Soul Perspectives

We are living in a unique time in the United States. Over the last ten years or so, we have been witnessing what I call Black Woman Excellence (BWE). While we extol the emergence of Black Girl Magic, Black women are affecting U. S. society in so many ways, that it has gone beyond magic and has become a profile in excellence.

Black women are excelling in many areas including Science and Technology, the Judiciary, Government and Politics, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Governance, Education, Entertainment, Medicine, Sports, and many, many more. Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to how Black women play the role of difference maker.

One example of BWE in the area of technology and entrepreneurship is Patrice Banks, the founder of Girls Auto Clinic (GAC) in Philadelphia. Banks took her knowledge of automotive technology and started GAC, a full-service repair shop designed to empower women in the care and repair of their cars.

When we consider BWE in science and medicine, we have to look no further than Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. She is credited with leading the team of scientist at the NIH that developed the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020. No doubt her work saved thousands of lives.

Over the last several years there has been no greater manifestation of BWE than in politics. More Black women are active in politics than ever before, which has put more Black women in positions of governance power at all levels of government. We start with Vice-President Kamala Harris. Karen Bass is the mayor of Los Angeles, Muriel Bowser is the mayor of Washington, D. C., and Tishaura Jones is the mayor of St. Louis. We should also remember the impact Black women had on recent elections in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Life would look a lot different in those places had it not been for BWE.

BWE has always been in the forefront of educating our children. Black women teachers have always been adept at educating, while simultaneously, nurturing students from pre-school through college. In recent years we have seen a greater impact on higher education as more Black women serve as the heads of their universities. Dr. Claudine Gay was recently named president of Harvard University, becoming the first Black Woman president for the university. We also have more Black women presidents at HBCUs than at any other time in history including Dr. Brenda Allen, Lincoln University PA, Dr. Felicia Nave, Alcorn State University, Dr. Javuane Adams-Gatson, Norfolk State University, and Dr. Helene Gayle, Spelman College. These Black women educators, and countless others are making sure this generation gets a comprehensive and inclusive education.

The history of BWE in professional sports has been well documented over the years. Most of the discussion has revolved around outstanding athletic performance, but today, Black women are exhibiting excellence in other lanes in professional sports. For instance, Nicole Lynn became the first Black woman sports agent to represent a player in the Super Bowl. Maia Chaka became the first Black woman to officiate a National Football League regular season game. And there are Simone Jelks and Danielle Scot who are referees in the National Basketball Association.

The history of Black Woman Excellence in the entertainment industry is both rich and long. We are used to the excellence that actors like Angela Bassett and Viola Davis bring in front of the camera, but today we have more Black women behind the camera. Consider Ava DuVernay, the creator and producer of the television show “Queen Sugar” who used her power to hire women to direct all 88 episodes of the show.

Finally, let’s look at Black Woman Excellence in the judiciary, and to do that we start with Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman confirmed to the U.S Supreme Court. The vitriol Justice Brown Jackson was subjected to during her confirmation is well documented, yet this woman of excellence stood firm and endured.

By no means is this an exhaustive discussion of Black Woman Excellence. On the contrary, this essay only scratches the surface. Black women have always been the guiding light, and their historical significance to the development of this country has always been understood, but this is a different day. Black women have been Divinely destined to lead this country and we need to recognize and acknowledge that fact. More importantly, we need to appreciate all that Black women do for us. Yes, we know Black women have always led our homes, our churches, and our neighborhoods, but that leadership has progressed well beyond those places. Black women are exhibiting excellence in all areas of our society, and we are all the better for it. As long as Black Woman Excellence continues to guide us, we’re going to be just fine.

Soul Perspectives is written by S. A. Miller, a movie producer, director, author, and educator who has been writing commentary on Social, Economic, Educational, and Political topics for over forty years.

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