Spotlighting Black female excellence

Recognizing female success is imperative to diversify pop culture

Image by: Amna Rafiq
Black influence is underrepresented in every form of media.

The success and excellence of the Black community are potent everywhere, whether it’s seen in fashion or mainstream media—television, films, or music. However, it’s not always spotlighted.

Media coverage of celebrities is normally dominated by white individuals. The Grammys are a perfect example. The Grammys has been critiqued for being racially biased, with a disproportionate number of wins going to white artists.

This disproportionate representation isn’t only seen in winnings but in total nominations. Only 24 per cent of the top nominees at the Grammys this year were Black, and that number greatly dropped in terms of winnings.

Black women are at even larger a disadvantage. The Grammys has a history of overlooking Black artists altogether, but women are already underrepresented, making it even harder for Black women. From 2013 to 2021, only 9.7 per cent of nominees for Album of the Year have been women

Many have argued Beyoncé is consistently snubbed at the Grammys. Even this year, Beyoncé was beaten out by Harry Styles—a point proven. Many have critiqued the Recording Academy as fueling the erasure of Black women in the music industry.

Beyoncé’s album was phenomenally written and produced. It had inspiration and influences from queer artists and stars. It provided diverse mediums as well as popular tracks—all of which the Grammys ignored.

It’s important to highlight Black female success.

Spotlighting Black female excellence showcases non-Eurocentric creativity, which doesn’t get enough of the spotlight. We need to acknowledge the inequity of representation in media and recognize the impact Black women have in shaping our experiences.

For example, Halle Bailey being cast as Ariel in The Little Mermaid will cultivate children’s views into something diverse, away from the traditional white princesses. This will give Black girls the opportunity to see themselves on the big screen as an image of beauty—something rare in the media given the dominance of white princesses.

In the recent Marvel film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the female leads offer messages of female empowerment and strength—especially Black empowerment. It’s important to see women in lead roles—in positions of power in their industry—to inspire other Black women wanting to do the same.

The Grammys and Hollywood are only two examples of the erasure and underrepresentation of Black female success in the world of pop culture.

Often, fashion and beauty take Black individuals’ creations and rebrands them for Eurocentric communities. These industries completely erase Black success to spotlight white influencers.

Iman has made an impact in the fashion industry, working on a new docuseries, Supreme Models, that discusses the absence of Black individuals in the fashion industry—an industry that’s inherently racist in casting models leaving Black creatives unacknowledged. 

Iman’s fight for equity is compelling and inspiring. She has challenged a powerful industry for change, making way for more equitable pathways for Black individuals in the fashion industry, whether that be models or designers. 

Spotlighting female Black excellence is essential in moving forward toward a more diverse pop culture landscape. We must show future artists they’re joining an art medium that’s representative of their culture and appreciative of their voice.



Beyonce, Black excellence, Female empowerment, women

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