Celebrating Black History Month

30 Black Women Shaping Today’s Culture

This February, we're honoring women across various disciplines who are shaping the future today.

Every February, we come together to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who played an essential role in shaping the nation. Black History Month traces its roots to 1915, originating from a weeklong celebration conceptualized by Carter G. Woodson. The choice of February was deliberate, aligning with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the second week. In the late 1960s, the idea gained wider acceptance and evolved into Black History Month.

Black History Month is not separate from American history nor is it a walk down a hall of fame. Going beyond honoring the legacy and achievements of African Americans; it is also a dedicated time to acknowledge the rich tapestry of experiences among all African Americans. Black History Month is about the lived experiences of all African Americans, grand and humble, from the past to the present.

As champions of women, we consistently strive to uplift those we admire. This Black History Month, we celebrate this momentous time by emphasizing the present and honoring women across various disciplines who are shaping the future today.

To the women on this list and those yet to be listed, from all of us at BYCHARI, we applaud you.


The realm of visual arts encompasses an array of disciplines, from interior design to painting and beyond. In their artistic pursuits, these remarkable women breathe life into visual beauty by skillfully crafting spaces and objects. Their creations not only captivate our imaginations but also authentically reflect their personal style.

Brigette Romanek 

Brigette Romanek is one of LA’s most sought-after interior designers. From her coveted features in publications like Architectural Design to working with celebs like Beyonce, this self-taught designer works from the instincts of the heart to exceed design expectations.

Carmen Nash 

Carmen Nash is a talented creative, interior stylist, curator, and Founder of her vintage dealing business, Loft and Thought. She recently collaborated with Troy Lighting to bring to life Folk and Flora, a stunning collection of lamps. 

Danielle McKinney 

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Danielle McKinney is a dreamy painter and visual artist who captures female figures and characters at peace. McKinney’s work has been exhibited in countless museums across the country.

Kaci Merriwether-Hawkins 

A visual storyteller and Founder of Black Girls in Art Spaces, Kaci Merriweather-Hawkins is creating a community for Black women to find shelter in art and one another. Merriweather-Hawkins is THE art girl and is championing Black artistry and stories. 

Kellie Brown

Born in New York and now a California resident, Kellie Brown is a celebrated influencer and Founder of Deeply Madly Modern. Engaging her audience through her blog and social media, Brown embarks on an endlessly exciting journey into interior design, showcasing projects like her recent design-forward abode in Palm Springs. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of cool, Brown injects a sense of joy and fun back into the world of interiors.


The communications industry is dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and analysis of the written and spoken word. These women not only encourage expansive thinking but also emphasize the importance of archiving and providing access to African American stories for generations to come. 

Araba Maze

Araba Maze is a Baltimore, MD native known for hosting pop-up storytimes to increase access to books in underserved areas. The “radical street librarian” has donated thousands of free books via community bookshelves and book-vending machines.

Glory Edim

Established as a book club by Glory Edim in 2015, Well-Read Black Girl has evolved into a multifaceted platform, including a literary festival, podcast, published books, and an online global community boasting over half a million followers. Edim, an award-winning advocate and community builder, leverages literature and storytelling to champion mental health and gender equity, actively reshaping the narrative for Black girls and women in society. 

Keondra Bills Freemyn

Wearer of many hats, keondra bills freemyn is a DMV-based archivist, writer, and poet from Los Angeles. freemyn is the author of Things You Left Behind and for lovers. She is the Founder of the digital archive initiative, The Black Women Writers Project Through her work, she highlights the contributions of Black women and gender-expansive writers to the literary community. As an archivist, she is dedicated to preserving Black culture and the democratization of knowledge.

LaTonya Yvette

LaTonya Yvette, a Brooklyn, NY-based writer, creative director, and Founder of the lifestyle site “LY,” is forging communities and sharing the inner workings of her mind and soul through numerous published books. Her commitment to the community is also evident in The Mae House, a secluded getaway home that offers sliding scale rates to BIPOC guests. Creating works and spaces for all audiences, Yvette’s creations narrate the story of Black culture, womanhood, and love, inviting us all to find rest.

Lindsay Peoples

From intern to editor-in-chief of The Cut, Lindsay Peoples is blazing a trail for Black women in fashion. A recipient of the American Society of Magazine Editors Next award, Peoples is reshaping our perception of fashion by seamlessly blending glamour with grounded discussions on social issues, sexual health, and politicsK


For enthusiasts of hair, makeup, and every facet of a beauty routine, the beauty industry is the ultimate playground. These women are not only mavens of self-care but also the innovators behind many of the products we cherish.

Danessa Myricks

There is more than what meets the eye with beauty pioneer and founder Danessa Myricks. As a self-taught makeup artist, innovation and resourcefulness were a must and became the building blocks of her brand Danessa Myricks Beauty. This line is more than makeup; it's a celebration of freedom for beauty enthusiasts, offering products designed to elevate the joy of makeup. Myricks is also known for her warmth and readiness to speak affirmations to every woman she meets. 

Karen Young

From her custom-milled razors to mindfully crafted body products, Karen Young, the Founder of OUI (the People), not only provides excellent products but also challenges the way a brand discusses beauty. Goodbye to the days of using antiquated terms like 'anti-aging' and 'flawless,' thanks to The reConstruction of Beauty, the brand’s mission to mind its language.

Nancy Twine

From VP at Goldman Sachs to founding the hair care brand that pioneered the “skinification” of hair, Nancy Twine has forged her path to success. Launching her brand Briogeo at 29, Twine became the youngest Black woman to launch a product line at Sephora. Today, the brand continues to win the hearts of hair care lovers around the world. 

Nyakio Grieco

Nyakio Grieco is a beauty entrepreneur with Kenyan roots on a mission to create a more inclusive beauty industry. Grieco has launched several beauty brands, such as thirteen lune, an e-commerce destination to discover BIPOC brands, and Relevant: Your Skin Seen, a science-forward skincare brand on a mission to create products that work for all skin tones and types.


Shontay Lundy

Shontay Lundy, the founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, is on a mission to educate and empower African Americans about skin protection. As a New York-raised businesswoman, Lundy established this brand out of her love for the outdoors, coupled with her dissatisfaction with the sunscreen industry. Black Girl Sunscreen stands out as the first of its kind—a fully absorbable product that enhances melanin production and provides effective UV protection.


The entertainment industry thrives through the collective efforts of key players, including producers, directors, and screenwriters. Each role is integral to crafting media that shapes our culture, addresses societal concerns, and influences public opinion. Meet some of the women who play a crucial role in creating iconic movies and shows.

Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones, an Emmy Award-winning composer and the first Black female nominee in the Primetime Emmy score category, creates original music featured in shows such as American Horror Story and Bad Trouble, among others. Emerging as a talent in the new wave of television and film composers, Jones also lends her powerful voice to the LA-based band, The Anti-Job, showcasing her skills as a guitarist and singer.

Nia DaCosta

Nia DaCosta is an award-winning writer and producer known for the blockbuster movies  Candyman (2021) and The Marvels (2023). Born in Brooklyn, New York, DaCosta was the first Black female director to debut atop the U.S. box office.

Nia Imani

Nia Imani is a Grammy Award-winning editor who has collaborated with renowned figures such as Jay-Z, Miu Miu, H.E.R., and more. She is best known for her significant contributions to Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce and Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce, and she has recently contributed to the second season of the immensely popular Hulu series, The Bear.

Takara Joseph

Takara Joseph is an Emmy-nominated producer and director and produced the 13-time Daytime Emmy nominated series Giants, currently streaming on BET+, and The Black Beauty Effect on Netflix. Joseph is also the Founder of Sillouhette Productions, a company committed to sharing the stories that explore the human experience.

Vanessa Baden Kelly

Actress, writer, and Emmy Award winner, Vanessa Baden Kelly has graced scenes in notable shows and movies such as Giants (2017), Fail (2011), and Kenan and Kel (1996). Kelly’s impressive writing chops have landed her features on some of America’s favorite shows Sex Lives of College Girls and Apple TV’s The Morning Show.


A great meal is a unifying force. Shared meals are a fundamental aspect of social interactions and provide opportunities for people to come together. From food historians to wine and spirit vanguards, these women electrify the food industry.

Camari Mick

Camari Mick is the Executive Pastry Chef of Musket Room, a Michelin-starred neighborhood restaurant offering a reliably indulgent culinary experience. Mick proudly incorporates her Jamaican heritage into her creations and in 2023 she became a James Beard Award semi-finalist. 

Denise Woodard

Founder and CEO of Partake, Denise Woodard created the food line in 2016 when her daughters were diagnosed with several food allergies. As a Black and Asian American woman, Woodard focuses much of her work on growing awareness and opportunities for Black, female, and underrepresented entrepreneurship in the food and beverage industry. 

Debra Freeman

Debra Freeman is an award-winning writer focused on race, culture, and food. Additionally, she is the host and creator of Setting the Table, a critically acclaimed podcast that explores Black foodways and culinary history.

Robin & Andrea McBride

Raised in the wine regions of Monterey, California, and Marlborough, New Zealand, Robin and Andrea founded the McBride Sisters Wine Company in 2005. Today, their company stands as the largest Black-owned wine company in America. In commitment to gender and race equity, the sisters initiated The McBride Sisters SHE CAN Fund, dedicated to advancing women in the wine industry.

Fawn Weaver

Serial entrepreneur Fawn Weaver is the Founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, the fastest-growing whiskey brand in American history. Featured in the New York Times and numerous other publications, Weaver holds the distinction of being the first Black American non-celebrity woman to build a $1B+ company.


The fashion industry gracefully intertwines threads of creativity, innovation, and self-expression. It's a captivating dance where fabric transforms into poetry, and each garment narrates a story, inviting others to become the storytellers of their unique style. In this enchanting world, these women are dream weavers, architects of allure, and orchestrators of bespoke elegance.

Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece

CFDA Award-winning American and Jamaican design duo Ashley Cimone and Moya Annece are Co-Founders of ASHYA, a luxury bag brand inspired by Black, brown, and indigenous communities. Together, the two unify style and utility with an “ode to exploration.”

Brandi Cheyenne Harper

Interdisciplinary artist and author Brandi Cheyenne Harper is a knitting guide weaving warmth into all her cozy yet elevated creations. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Harper’s mission is to connect people to the meditative benefits of knitting. Her work promotes creativity, rest, and the simple joys of everyday life.

Brittany Perry

Self-taught designer Brittany Perry is the Founder of PerryCo Shoes, a brand whose mission is to create genderless sneakers and accessories. Perry has gone on to be featured in GQ, Essence, and Cosmopolitan. In addition to creating wardrobe must-haves for all identities, she designs and consults for other high-profile brands. 

Sandrine Charles

Motivated by brands rooted in streetwear and culture, Sandrine Charles birthed Sandrine Charles Consulting, a boutique public relations agency. Charles is also the Co-Founder of The Black in Fashion Council, an organization building a new foundation for inclusivity. The council works towards creating opportunities, fostering representation, and promoting equity for Black individuals in various roles throughout the fashion ecosystem.

Zerina Akers

Zerina Akers is a seasoned fashion stylist well-acquainted with the industry. She has curated wardrobes for celebrities, including Beyonce, Ava DuVernay, and Yara Shahidi. Akers believes that fashion is not only about luxury but also about embracing a confident approach to self-expression.