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4 Queens Building Their Empires

by Saeeda Ruffin

March is Women’s History Month, so we’re going to get our flexing in and show all the way out. To mark the significance of this month, let’s celebrate some phenomenal women in our own culture. Yes, the time is now to recognize a few sisters who have positively impacted our world. These sisters are leaders, entertainers, and business professionals making a difference through their success, and proving that the only limits are the ones in your mind. It’s an amazing time to be a Black woman! This year, for the first time ever, there were 2 Black Women included among the Fortune 500 list of CEOs. Any time that you see Black women breaking through glass ceilings and trailblazing, you know they have stepped beyond everybody’s expectations. The example of tenacity and strength that they exhibit, all while expressing their pride in representing the culture, is what makes them even more precious and inspirational to the Black community. Today, let’s give props and much respect to these 4 Queens who are running things:

The Billionaire Mogul

Barbados produced a real one with Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Yes, Sister RiRi is 100% that BOSS and, as Black women, we couldn’t be more proud of what she has accomplished. From her start as an entertainer, Rihanna has shown the world that she has more to offer and, in turn, more enterprises to conquer. Her foray into beauty products has proven to be crazy lucrative. The Savage X Fenty lingerie and clothing lines have turned the world of intimate wear on its head as it is the very definition of an INCLUSIVE brand. The industry wasn’t ready! Oh, well. Rihanna is doing that thang and manifesting everything she dreamed of...including a new baby on the way!

The Winning Warrior

She took on the perceived image of what a tennis player should look like and WON! Serena Williams is one of the highest-paid female athletes, an incredibly decorated tennis superstar (she’s one of the winningest players of all time), and one of the world's most recognizable brand ambassadors. Serena does it all with strength and grace. Queen Serena can go from dancing in music videos to walking the runway to showing the world her athletic prowess and still flex with the best of them in the corporate boardroom. Serena has had a seat on several boards of companies in Silicon Valley including SurveyMonkey and Poshmark. She has used her platform to address even greater causes, including as an activist for the Black Lives Matter movement. Queen Serena will likely be a fixture in the history books for a long time!

The Corporate Connoisseur

You know you must be coming correct when you have been CEO of multiple financial institutions. Thasunda Brown Duckett has held more senior-level positions than we can list here. She is currently CEO of the TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund). Prior to this Fortune 500 position, she served as CEO of Chase Consumer Banking. When you hear people talking about making a place for yourself at “the table”, this Queen has done just that! She wields her influence in other sectors, including by sitting on the Board of Directors of Nike, Brex Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sesame Workshop, National Medal of Honor Museum, and as an Executive Leadership Council Member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Young, Black, and running things...Queen Thasunda is proof that Black women CAN will be exceptional on their own terms!

The Film Phenom

With more than 52 film credits, Angela Bassett has solidified her place in Hollywood history. She is the highest-paid Black actress of all time, and it doesn’t look like she plans to stop anytime soon. Her career spans four decades, and now, she has moved into a position to shake things up even more as she steps into directing and producing. A timeless beauty, Queen Angela has influenced generations of Black women and inspired millions to embrace their femininity and inner strength. Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. Clearly, she is not done making her mark. The Queen reigns.

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