10 Black Women You Should Be Following After Black History Month

Black History Month brings so much greatness to the forefront of our timelines, and we think that should be a year-long thing! So here’s a list of ten incredible women to make sure you’re following, engaging with, learning from and celebrating all year long!

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Brittany Packnett Cunningham photographed by her husband Reginald Cunningham for VOGUE

As this year’s Black History Month winds down, we wanted to leave you with a few incredible mentions so your Instagram timeline stays full of greatness, excellence, beauty and education! That’s why we put together a (super non-exhaustive!) list of ten incredible Black women who you should be following. The fact is that Black history is NOW – it’s being made every single day! So check out these badass women, engage with their content and continue to support their work – in March and beyond!

PS: Make sure you haven’t missed our “list”-icles of the Black literary giants you need on your bookshelf, the Black historical icons that inspire us every day, and the queens of Afrodance on Instagram that give life to our timeline whenever we’re scrolling!

@mspackyetti

Podcaster / Activist: Brittany Packnett Cunningham might already be a familiar face, if you’re someone who tunes into networks like MSNBC where she’s a regular contributor, or if you’re someone who’s interested in the spaces where culture and justice meet. Beyond her Instagram and her Twitter, each boasting hundreds of thousands of followers, Packnett Cunningham is absolutely dominating the podcast space with her show Undistracted. Fun fact: a recent episode featured Raquel Willis – small world!

@theslumflower

Author / Activist: Chidera Eggerue, aka @theslumflower, is a UK-based body positivity and self-love activist, best-selling author, and founder of the global #SaggyBoobsMatter movement. There’s literally nothing this woman can’t do, and her no bullshit attitude is bound to rub off on you if you spend any time on her Instagram or her YouTube – so do yourself the favor! And, on a personal note, her video on “Why you absolutely NEED to put yourself first and how to get started” was a game-changer for a few of us here in the Girls Are Awesome office, so don’t miss that!

@raquel_willis

Author / LGBTQ+ Activist: Raquel Willis is an incredible trans woman who is on the front line of education, activism and inspiration. She’s a prolific writer and speaker, and her Instagram is full of incredible interviews with important voices – definitely set your notifications so you never miss it when she goes live! She’s also an outspoken advocate for the revolutionary power of self-care: “Every time we take care of ourselves, we are taking care of the ancestors who never had access to that.”

@ava

Director / Filmmaker: The brilliant, phenomenal Ava DuVernay is a must-have on any list! Most of us know her because of the documentary and series work she’s put into the world (titles like 13th, When They See Us, Selma, and Queen Sugar), but she’s also just started a podcast series called the LEAP Files (an acronym for “Law Enforcement Accountability Project”).

From Deadline.com: “The podcast is an investigative series that chronicles officers who commit murder, revealing the alarming truth about the blue wall of silence that protects police after they pull the trigger. The series explores a new case each week, zeroing in on the lack of repercussions and accountability despite fatal wrongdoing.” Ava DuVernay is truly on the frontlines of telling Black, stories centering Black experiences and holding a much-needed mirror up to society for a more just and equitable future.

@amandascgorman

Poet: …You didn’t think we were going to skip Amanda Gorman, did you? The first ever Inaugural youth poet laureate simultaneously broke the internet and stole all of our hearts on January 20th of this year, and we’ve loved seeing more of her since! She graced the cover of TIME magazine, sold out all of her published works, saw her Instagram grow to a whopping 3.5 million followers, and performed at a little event called the Superbowl, if you’ve heard of it…?

We couldn’t be more thrilled for the literary icon, or more grateful for the insight and beauty that she shares with all of us through her art. If you’re like us and can’t get enough of the superstar, check out this mood board of moments and poems we put together of everything Amanda Gorman – you’ll be happy you did! We’ve never been as sure of something as we are that future generations will be reading and reciting her words, so make sure you’re following her. This is history in action, people!

@iamrachelricketts

Author / Activist: Writer, racial justice disruptor, spiritual activist, healer, visionary and queer woman, Rachel Ricketts is an absolute powerhouse. Her Instagram is a place for folks to learn and take action (those two should always go together, fyi!), She offers a series Spiritual Activism courses through her website that’s a not-to-miss for “all hue-mxns, especially white folx wanting to learn how they can better support Black and Indigenous women+, BI&PoC seeking tools to unpack internalized oppression and/or all those seeking spiritual tools + practices to assist in committing to anti-racism.” Dig into her content and prioritize her book and courses – it’s so important!

@naomiosaka

Athlete: Once just another Serena Williams fangirl, Osaka found herself face-to-face with her idol (and ours!) at the U.S. Open last year. Osaka won the controversial match, and took home a Grand Slam title at just 20 years old. Osaka is Haitian and Japanese, and her win in September made her the first Japanese player, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title. Earlier this year, Osaka won the Australian Open, so there’s no telling what she’ll do next. “Every time I have a dream, somehow I accomplish it,” she told ESPN. “Still, I feel like it’s a very strange moment, like it’s not necessarily real.”

She’s one of our role models for about twenty reasons right off the tops of our heads, but one of them is is certainly how she’s continually used her platform to raise awareness about racial injustice. Here’s a little montage of some of her face masks that The Guardian put together:

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@laylafsaad

Author / Podcaster: One of the pods that’s consistently in the queue is author and educator Layla F. Saad’s “Good Ancestor Podcast”. It’s not like the New York Times best-selling author of Me and White Supremacy needed to give us more, but she did! And “Good Ancestor Podcast” is rightly considered a gift for those of us determined to become “good ancestors” ourselves. Each episode is filled with the deeper nuances, the vocabulary and the framing for us to better hold space and progress as we do the daily work of antiracism – both within ourselves and in our communities.

Layla started recording the podcast in January 2019 and is 40+ episodes in, which means there’s plenty to choose from (and binge!). Engage with the “Good Ancestor Podcast” and Layla’s universe through her Instagramwebsitecourses, and YouTube channel. You can also support her work here, or by grabbing your copy of the life-changing best-seller “Me and White Supremacy“.

@rachel.cargle

Author / Educator: Rachel Cargle is a Black American author, speaker and activist known for her involvement in anti-racism work and for her charity organization, The Loveland Foundation – committed to “showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways,” as stated on the charity’s website. The public academic has been heavily involved in 2020’s re-surged Black Lives Matter movement, making waves when her piece for Harper’s Bazaar, “Why You Need to Stop Saying ‘All Lives Matter,’” went viral among both supporters and detractors of the movement. 

Cargle has continued to build her brand and increase her social media following by calling out injustices related to feminism, race and equality, among other social issues. Her Instagram showcases a mix of longer form, personal Facebook posts-turned-screenshots, graphics with inspiring quotes by other female creators, podcasts, and audio/visual content aimed at igniting introspective discussion, as well as other thought-provoking forms of education, like her #SaturdaySchool. 

@blairimani

Author / Historian: Blair Imani is a Black, Muslim, bisexual educator and author who released her second book, Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream, this past year. At 27, the activist has been visibly active in the Black Lives Matter movement since the killing of Alton Sterling in 2016, and has protested against many executive orders signed under the Trump administration. 

Imani’s first published work, entitled, Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, was published in 2018, with Momo Le as its illustrator, as a spotlight of 70 “overlooked but important people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, and more who are changing the world this very moment.” Her activism has also taken center stage in her social media presence, full of vibrant quotes and messages not only of her own making, but of other historians and activists fighting for social justice in today’s day and age. 

Imani uses her Instagram as a platform for teaching, and her bite-sized “Smarter in Seconds” series is perfect for quick, to-the-point bits of truth about topics like gender, history, terminology and activism.

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