Kerry Washington; Beyoncé Knowles; Michelle Obama
Craig Barritt/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

This was a good year for black women. From Emmy nominations to elections, music to movies, black women dominated 2013. The Root has gathered a list of the black girls who won in 2013.

Sasha Obama


Sasha caused a unicorn sweater shortage this year. After she was spotted wearing this ASOS sweatshirt, it promptly sold out. Yes, we get our fashion cues from a 12-year-old. Don’t worry about it.

Brittney Griner and Raven-Symoné


Basketball star Brittney Griner inked a deal with Nike, and actress Raven-Symoné continued her career. They also both announced that they’re gay. What’s on their iPods? Rihanna’s “Unapologetic.”

Black Female Comedians


Saturday Night Live has done a terrible job of casting black women. After receiving some backlash, SNL hosted a secret audition for black female comedians. Luckily, though, black girls aren’t waiting around for SNL to recognize their talents. Women like The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams are paving their own way. For the last time, black women are funny.

Janet Mock and Laverne Cox


Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox and activist Janet Mock have been at the forefront of transgender issues this year. Cox is currently producing a documentary about the plight of CeCe McDonald, and Mock has released a book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

Simone Biles


Gymnast Biles didn’t let the haters steal her shine this year. The young athlete is currently both the 2013 U.S. national and world all-around champion.

Kerry Washington


Washington was the first black woman in 18 years to be nominated in the Emmys’ Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. Olivia Pope to Kerry Washington: “It’s handled.”

Aja Brown


At 31, Brown became the youngest person to be elected mayor of Compton, Calif. She beat the incumbent with an impressive 63.5 percent of the vote.



Remember when people criticized Rihanna for her crossover success? She came out with the doobie wrap, edges laid, and shut that down. The American Music Awards weren’t ready.

Black Actresses


Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris, Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Kerry Washington: This has been the year of the black actress. As far as we’re concerned, every year should be the year of the black actress.

Melissa Harris-Perry and bell hooks


On Nov. 8, bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a joint talk. We are still surprised that the universe didn’t implode from the meeting of these two great feminist minds.

Mikki Kendall


Writer Kendall won Twitter with two important hashtags. #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen started in response to the insensitivity of some noted white feminists toward victims of writer Hugo Schwyzer's attacks on feminists of color, which ignited a firestorm and prompted a list on our own site. #FastTailedGirls sparked a necessary discussion on sexual assault, black women and the culture that allows assault to persist. These Twitter trending topics tallied roughly 63,000 and 40,000 unique tweets respectively and are still running.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Writer Adichie has been a winner since she released her best-selling book Half of a Yellow Sun. But it’s been her TEDx talk, which was featured on Beyoncé’s new album, that has powered her recent push to fame.

Chirlane McCray


Writer and poet McCray was the bedrock of her husband Bill de Blasio’s successful campaign to become mayor of New York. The de Blasio family is headed to the mayor’s mansion, and they have her to thank.

Michelle Obama


Obama is the first lady of the United States. She is always winning.



In case you didn’t know, Queen Bey reigns supreme. The end.

Diamond Sharp is an editorial fellow at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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