Quantcast

Roll Call! 12 Women Entrepreneurs To Keep On Your Radar In 2020

These women are changing the narrative.

Human Interest

While #BlackGirlMagic may be trending on social platforms, we as Black women know that our magic has been around for centuries. Being recognized as a powerful Black woman in today's society is growing to become the norm in comparison to how far we've come, but we have so far to go. Women of color, specifically Black women, are running nearly half of all registered women-owned businesses and unfortunately, according to Forbes, less than 4% of Black women entrepreneurs make it to the million-dollar mark. These women below are changing the narrative.

With Women's History Month coming to a close, we cannot let the month go by without recognizing Black women entrepreneurs who are out here doing their thing, especially while Miss Rona is in town. From public speakers to world-renowned yoga instructors, check out this list below of xoNecole-approved badass Black women to watch this year:

Maura Chanz

Have you caught Yara Shahidi's IG TV series, "Unguided"? If you have, then you've met Maura Chanz and have already witnessed her creative genius. This Los Angeles-based rising creative initially took a leap of faith after graduating from Spelman College and jumping into the industry as the apprentice of Black Lightning creator Mara Brock Akil. Maura is also the owner of TRIBE, which is a community garnered specifically for women of color seeking fellowship amongst our sisters.

Alechia Reese

International speaker, creative brand strategist, world traveler - what doesn't this woman do? Alechia Reese, author of Eating Elephants: Winning Life One Bite At A Time, is a survivor of domestic violence and makes it her mission to connect dope women around the world with her passion for communication, entrepreneurship and leadership. Catch her on the move and speaking at widely recognized conferences and brands from BlogHER to Microsoft and moderating the Imara Retreat, an annual women's retreat in Africa to build and connect Black women.

Trinity Mouzon Wofford

When you're the brains and beauty behind a beauty brand, when do you have the time to be a columnist for Inc. and keep the aesthetic flowing perfectly on your Instagram feed? We don't know how, but Trinity does it. As the owner of Golde, Wofford has been recognized in INC Magazine's "2019 Female Founder 100" list and Forbes' "30 Under 30". Need we say more?

Raynell Steward

You may recognize her as YouTube sensation Supa Cent, but she's making headlines in the beauty world for the creation of The Crayon Case. Awarded at the BET Social Awards for Social Hustle, CEO Raynell Steward has been flexing her entrepreneurship brain by using her social presence to entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Within one hour, Steward successfully sold $1.37M worth of beauty products in 2019. That's what we call a boss.

Sukie Jefferson

Sukie Jefferson is the lead operator and founder behind Sukie's Candle Co, exotically scented premium soy wax candles - made fresh to order and individually hand-poured. Jefferson's products have been recognized in GQ, Black Enterprise and Vogue UK, and should definitely be a Black woman brand to add to your household.

Dana Chanel

Remember those encouraging notifications you would get every morning from the Sprinkle of Jesus app? Yeah, that's Dana Chanel's doing, but she's been doing a whole lot more since then. After creating the number one Christian mobile app in the world, Dana has shifted her focus to developing generational wealth through family businesses with her latest venture, Jumping Jack Tax, a platform created by herself and husband Prince Donnell as a means to provide a virtual tax preparer. Aside from being relationship goals with her bae, Dana Chanel has truly embodied being a boss babe by creating a space for other women entrepreneurs and keeping true to your faith while building a business.

Lalah Delia

"If you walked away from a toxic, negative, abusive, one-sided, dead-end low vibrational relationship or friendship — you won." The words spoken by bestselling author of Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your PowerLalah Delia drops gems throughout her book about moving forward and being in-tune with yourself spiritually and mentally. Delia is also the founder of Vibrate Higher Daily, a vibrational based-living online community and mentoring program through women empowerment.

Jessica Jones & Wendy Lopez

These two women are bold, beautiful and Black registered dietician nutritionists, and Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez are on a mission to help women of color learn to eat intuitively through a "healthy plant-powered diet". By putting their health first by encouraging women to maintain healthy nutrition through their joint venture Food Heaven Made Easy, Jessica and Wendy have created an accessible community and multimedia platform for people who want to create culturally relevant plant-based meals, but aren't quite ready to take the full leap as of yet.

Autumn Myers

At just the age of 25, the former BuzzFeed social strategist is making a name for herself in the media industry with the launch of The Queen Sessions, a motivational content platform to uplift women of color with interviews, blog posts and more. Autumn Myers is also the digital media lead for Black-owned brand, America Hates US, where she served as the lead writer and touched upon topics of culture, entertainment and politics. Recently, The Queens Sessions released their own affirmation journal perfect during the quarantine to keep your dreams and visions manifested.

Leticia Hunt

Mommy-to-be Leticia Hunt is the creator of FOREH, an accessories brand that uplifts Black culture with HBCU-inspired pieces and tactical vests. Inspired by her own experience as a military veteran, the Tuskegee University graduate also serves as a podcast host for 2 Shots & Talk, a children's book author, a stylist and creative director. She emulates her own mission that with the right balance, you can truly do it all.

Shontay Lundy

Just in time for drop tops and summer sun, if Rona ever lets us out of our houses, Shontay Lundy has created the ultimate product for Black women. Black Girl Sunscreen is a product that every melanated queen should be carrying in her bag to protect our skin from harmful rays and avoiding that annoying while residue that other products that aren't made for us may leave. Finally, a skincare brand that caters exactly to our needs during the hot, unbearable summertime heat.

Codie Elaine Oliver

The importance of positive Black narratives in film and television cannot be stressed enough, and Texas-bred producer Codie Elaine Oliver has taken responsibility for showcasing Black love in an affirmative love on her show, Black Love which showed on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network, now available for streaming on Facebook Watch. Nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Director in a Television Movie, this film creative is one to watch as she navigates motherhood, Hollywood and developing content that creates the appropriate narrative for #BlackLoveMatters.

Featured image via Lalah Delia/Instagram

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

In early 2022, the world felt like it slowed down a bit as people digested the shocking news of beauty pageant queen Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide. When you scroll through her Instagram, the photos she had posted only weeks before her death were images of her smiling, looking happy, and being carefree. You can see photos of her working, being in front of the camera, and doing what I imagine was her norm. These pictures and videos, however, began to spark a conversation among Black women who knew too well that feeling like you're carrying the world on your shoulders and forcing yourself to smile through it all to hide the pain.

Keep reading...Show less

Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

Keep reading...Show less

SZA is no stranger to discussing her mental health struggles and her experiences with anxiety. In 2021, the “Good Days” singer tweeted about having “debilitating anxiety” that causes her to shield away from the public. Unfortunately, she still has those same struggles today and opened up about it during Community Voices 100th episode for Mental Health Awareness Month. While SZA enjoys making music, she’s not a fan of the spotlight, which may be surprising to many.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts