I have loved the media for as long as I can remember. I’ve read countless books, studied many TV shows and films and watched the news most days for years. A reoccurring presence is the strong women behind and in front of the screen; now more than ever, we need strong, powerful women who aren’t afraid to say what they think.
Two of these women I want to speak about today. Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey were on my list of women I was going to write about, but this week’s events have shown me why I should write about them first.
Both of these women have been very influential to me in the past few years. From learning about female activism, racial justice, and human rights in the media, these women have been so crucial to these areas’ progression and bringing them to public and government attention.
Oprah is one of if not the most inspirational women today. Across her lifetime and career, she has taken every opportunity to talk about injustice in the world with her powerful words. She has experienced a lot and shared her incredible story. Her message of hope inspires me even on the worst days. She has taught me so much about women’s position in the media, interracial politics and most of all, showing kindness. I listen to Oprah, and I actually LISTEN.
Oprah is victorious over everything. From poverty to racial violence and sexual assault, she is a true example of female empowerment and a pioneer of her industry, Oprah Winfrey is one of the pioneers of women’s empowerment.
“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Personally, she embodies the ambitious, driven woman that I want to be. Her career in the tv and entertainment industry has spanned over two decades, is something I dream about. Not only is she an actress (Selma is so good), but she is also a producer and has owned her own production studio. Her media empire is a remarkable achievement, not only as a woman but as a black woman. She has broken down the barriers of our male-dominated industry and paved the way for fellow women, such as me, to follow.
As for Meghan Markle, she truly inspired us all, from the fairy-tale love story to representation and standing up for what she believes in even if others criticize her. Whether she’s delivering empowering speeches or raising charity awareness, she shows compassion and conviction.
In addition to being an actor, philanthropist and activist, Markle also travels the world advocating for women. In one of her poverty essays, she wrote saying her parents came from little and donated to charity when they could, so she now feels her duty to give to those in her position.
“This is what I grew up seeing, so that is what I grew up being: a young adult with a social consciousness to do what I could, and to, at the very least, speak up when I knew something was wrong.”
Meghan has also done revolutionary work with the accessibility of period products in India. Travelling to learn about the women in these poverty-stricken areas and doing everything she could to help these communities is truly inspirational.
“I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister.”
– Meghan Markle
She has been published in TIME, spoken extensively about being a biracial woman and the challenges of being cast for roles because of her skin colour and her outspoken work.
Meghan Markle makes me proud to be a woman and an intersectional feminist. She stands up for our rights as women and says that when there’s no seat at the table, make a new one. Make a new table. She inspired me to start using the platform I have for the good and to spread awareness.
A related theme is that heaven forbid a black woman ever raise her voice. I hate the very idea black women have to watch their tone. Those are not afforded the luxury to be angry that I am. I long for the day when POC women can express a full range of emotions without judging others.
Let’s take it a step further, because we also know that not all women of colour are created equally. Meghan and Oprah are both black woman and, if history and the present have taught us anything, in the case of BLM and VP Kamala Harris. Such intense scrutiny is that people, I believe, always have a problem with black women, especially in power and especially in the media.
Featured image credit: newyorker.com