Black women have come a long way through the history of Hollywood. Hollywood has made considerable strides in terms of film diversity. There are films of inspirational role models that have a positive impact on the self-esteem of young black girls. Looking back at the history of heroines — there are so many great names who challenged the existing stereotypes and changed the world views for the better. Talented actors, producers, directors, cinematographers, musicians, and writers have paved the way for the future generation. Here are three such women whose story has been an inspiration for many ladies out there.
Born as Peggy Ann Freeman in 1945, and later naming herself Donyale Luna — was the first woman of color to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine. When there were almost no modeling opportunities for non-white faces anywhere in the broad Hollywood spectrum, Luna made history. With literally no clear plans or a steady income and with just a telephone number written by a stranger, she moved to Manhattan. This act rooted in pure self-belief and worth was just one of the many brave things she did. When she graced the pages of a publication in the South, advertisers withdrew sponsorship and subscribers canceled their subscriptions. So she made it to Europe and shared her radical personality with the creatives over there. Her photos show how vibrant her soul was. The world today celebrates a young American-African girl from Detroit who didn’t let others define her.
IN 1996, she made her debut as a Black lesbian filmmaker with THE WATERMELON WOMAN. Watermelon woman is a hugely popular and hilarious comedy about a budding Black documentarian (played by Dunye herself) who wants to make a film about a legendary Black lesbian star from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Cheryl Dunye was a star of the “queer new wave” of young film and video artists in the 1990s. Dunye’s distinct narrative voice distinguishes her work. Her films often highlight themes of race, sexuality, and gender. Her career was a major catalyst for the New Queer Cinema movement, and it continues to have an impact on filmmakers today.
Marian Anderson was a great contralto singer of the twentieth century. As one of Anderson’s teachers first heard her perform, he was brought to tears by the intensity of her talent. However, since she was one of those black women, her early opportunities as a concert singer in the United States were severely limited, and her early career triumphs were mainly in Europe. In 1955, she became the first black person to sing at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Her musical excellence eventually earned her acclaim in the United States as well. She faced discrimination throughout her career, but with her continued popularity, she was able to make a silent statement against it.
These women teach how talent, persistence, bravery, kindness, and self-love weigh far more than color, age, and sexuality. Though the cinema culture has to achieve much more in order to preserve and promote equality, the steps are forward and the change is here. Women either black or white or mixed always promote love and power. This recalling of history was just to let know the young girls suffering from low self-esteem that the world is waiting for their lively soul and unique ideas.