Women’s History Month is here, and it is time to celebrate those who have paved the way for us current generations of women. Here’s a list of 5 women whose names often go unsaid but whose impacts can be felt every day:
As a writer at the Los Angeles Times put it, “I’m Team Hattie, not Team’ GWTW.’” McDaniel was the first Black woman to win an Oscar for her role in the 1939 Civil War-set film “Gone With the Wind.” Rightfully so, people criticize the film for its use of Black stereotypes – the ‘Mammy’ stereotype originated from McDaniel’s role. Nevertheless, the Detroit native opened the door for her Black successors in Hollywood. Notable stars like Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah were nominated for the same award.
Suppose you consider sampling as the music industry’s version of the butterfly effect. In that case, Lyn Collins is the one butterfly who caused the tornado. Collins was a soul singer who transitioned into funk in the 1970s due to her frequent collaborations with James Brown. According to WhoSampled.com, Collins is also the most sampled female artist ever, with over 3,000 samples.
Some notable samples of Collin’s discography:
“It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
“Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” by Snoop Dogg
“Check It Out” by Nicki Minaj and will.i.am
Mankiller became the first woman to be Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. The leader of the largest tribe in the US, Mankiller practiced Gadugi – a Cherokee concept meaning collective community work toward a common goal. She served as chief for 10 years, increasing tribal enrollment and employment and decreasing infant mortality.
As a senior architecture student at Yale University, Lin created a Vietnam War Memorial design for a class project. The 21-year-old submitted her plans to the Memorial’s national competition. She won out of a pool of over 1,400 applicants. Lin’s work also includes the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL., and the Women’s Table at Yale University. President Barack Obama awarded Lin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Sometimes social movements grow so widespread that their originators go unrecognized. For Tarana Burke and the “me too.” movement, the same applies. Burke, a survivor, and longtime activist, began the campaign in 2006 as a local, grassroots initiative. In 2017, the initiative took a global turn, with women writing #MeToo on social media. The movement also led several celebrity survivors to speak up about their experiences in Hollywood.
Mia is a recent graduate of Penn State and an aspiring writer. When she is not writing for RoyalTee Magazine, she enjoys listening to music, learning graphic design, and reading.