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20 inspiring black women who are making history in 2020

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20 inspiring black women who are making history in 2020

By Zoë Ettinger via

Each February, Black History Month recognizes, remembers, and respects black people and black history. 

Kaia Shivers, a liberal studies professor at New York University, helped Insider select a list of 20 female innovators and leaders who are making history and setting records.

From entertainers to philanthropists, here are black women who will change the world in 2020.

Chef Mariya Russell is the first black woman to earn a Michelin Star.

Mariya Russell
Chef Mariya Russell. 
Sammy Faze Photography

Russell is chef de cuisine at Kikkō, a Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant in Chicago. In September, she became the first black woman to be awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin Guide’s 93-year history.

Originally from Springfield, Ohio, Russell became interested in food from a young age and began by cooking soul food and Midwestern staples, like mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and casseroles.

She later moved to Chicago to attend The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She and her husband went on to work together, eventually both joining Kikkō.

In an interview with Michelin Guide, she said, “Thinking about [being] the only Black woman doing this is really, still very much so, blowing my mind. Representation is really important in all kinds of things, but in an industry like this, I think it’s really cool.” 

“Black-ish” star Marsai Martin is the youngest executive producer in history.

Marsai Martin.
Marsai Martin. 
Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Marsai Martin, 15, started her role as Diane Johnson on the hit ABC TV comedy in 2014, when she was just 10. Two years later, she …

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

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