Black women

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Black women is both a multi-faceted cultural identity and a powerful social construct with different meanings in different places. For some, it is those women born on the African continent; for others it includes the descendants of slaves brought from Africa to the United States. For others, it includes aboriginal women in Australia or Pakistanis in the United Kingdom. In all places, black women have been seen over the past three hundred years in stereotypical ways, resulting in increased risk for them. But, they have also been important leaders early in human history.[citation needed]

Increased risk for health problems in the USA[edit]

In most places,[citation needed] American black women are statistically at increased risk of death, poor health, poverty and incarceration.

According to the CDC (CDC), black women die at four times the rate of white women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the year immediately following childbirth. While poor black women are at greater risk, American black women are at greater risk than white women regardless of class.[1] These factors are rooted in intersectional oppression.

Women within Black Popular Culture in the United States[edit]

Over the span of the short history of the United States of America, black women have made a lasting impact on the nation. The following women are some of the many prominent names one would find within discourse about black popular culture in the United States because of their accomplishments and voice in various fields across the nation:

  • Harriet Tubman: Born in the early 19th century in the former slave state of Maryland, Tubman is widely regarded for aiding many African-American slaves escape slavery via the Underground Railroad. [2] According to PBS, Tubman risked her own life "19 times by 1860" in order to save other slaves and return them to the North/free territory over the span of the American Civil War.[3] Prior to being married, Tubman's name was Araminta Ross and she was also a nurse, cook and spy for the Northern Army during the Civil War.
  • Ella Fitzgerald: According to her website, Fitzgerald, an American Jazz singer born in 1917 and passed away in the year 1996, was given the title of "The First Lady of Song."[4] Fitzgerald is also known as the Queen of Jazz and won 13 Grammys for her vocal performances over the course of her life. In the music community, Fitzgerald is known for her four octave vocal range and for being an a scat-singer. Additionally, Fitzgerald was capable of performing music in a multitude of genres, such as but not limited to swing and bop.[5] Like many black artists at the time, Fitzgerald performed at the Apollo Theater in New York City
  • Billie Holiday: Similar to Fitzgerald, Holiday, born as Eleanora Fagan, remains an important figure within the history of jazz music in America.[6] Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Holiday's vocal range was limited yet she is known for her thin, light voice that has a punch to it. Upon this, Holiday is featured on the track "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" which is a song that many Americans still know of today, despite the fact is was a number one hit when it was released.[5]
  • Gina Dent: Dent is known for editing the text Black Popular Culture, a work published in 1983 encompassing the writings of many such as Greg Tate and other iconic African American scholars. Additionally, Dent is a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz in their Humanities department and is an active author on topics such as "race, feminism, popular culture and visual art."[7]
  • Quinta B: An actress and comedian based out of Los Angeles but originally from Philadelphia, Quinta Brunson is known for sending out strong feminist messages, as seen through a musical track she is featured on called "Deez Hands" with the artist Swizzymack. [8] Not only does deliver feminist ideals, she portrays the black experience via her art as seen in her video "Trying to Talk Politics With the Modern Woman."[9] She is a prominent figure on the website BuzzFeed and her videos on YouTube thousands of views.

As leaders[edit]

President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia

Black women have produced some of the most important artistic and political leaders in history.

For instance, Queen Qalhata, and Candace of Meroe are important, early African queens.[10][11][12] In the United States, Toni Morrison is the first black woman Nobel laureate. Shirley Chisholm was an important Democratic candidate for U.S. President in the 1970's. In Africa, President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson leads her country of Liberia in peace.


  1. ^ "Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System | Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC". Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Harriet Tubman Facts and Quotes | Black History | PBS". Harriet Tubman Facts and Quotes | Black History | PBS. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  3. ^ "Harriet Tubman". Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  4. ^ "Ella Fitzgerald". Ella Fitzgerald. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  5. ^ a b DeVeaux, Scott (2009). Jazz. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393192742. 
  6. ^ "Billie Holiday". Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  7. ^ "Gina Dent | The New Press". The New Press. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  8. ^ "Quinta B.". Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  9. ^ Quinta B. (2014-06-30), Trying To Talk Politics With The Modern Woman, retrieved 2017-05-17 
  10. ^ Vercoutter, Jean (1976-01-01). The Image of the Black in Western art. Morrow. ISBN 9780688030865. 
  11. ^ Walker, Robin (2006-01-01). When We Ruled: The Ancient and Mediœval History of Black Civilisations. Every Generation Media. ISBN 9780955106804. 
  12. ^ Sertima, Ivan Van (1984-01-01). Black Women in Antiquity. Transaction Books. ISBN 9780878559824.