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13 Of America’s Most Flourishing Black Women Honored In TIME ‘Firsts’ Project

Icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes are among the incredible Black women featured in the project.

Oprah Winfrey honored in TIME's 'Firsts' series.
Oprah Winfrey attends the world premiere of "BOO! A Madea Halloween" held at ArcLight Cinerama Dome on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP)

On Thursday, TIME released a multimedia documentary titled Firsts which pays homage to 46 trailblazing women through a series of video interviews and photos.

“Our goal with Firsts is for every woman and girl to find someone whose presence in the highest reaches of success says to her that it is safe to climb, come on up, the view is spectacular,” read the project’s homepage.

Among the women honored in the interactive series of videos are 13 black women (coincidentally, the number 13 also happens to represent the percentage of Black women in the United States population). The women’s accomplishments are grouped into categories titled: The Setbacks, The Motivations, The Families, The Histories and The Ceilings.

Black icons Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglass, Rita Dove, Issa Rae, Ursula Burns, Rita Dove, Mo’ne Davis, Aretha Franklin, Mae Jemison, Ilhan Omar and Loretta Lynch were all featured in the project.

“This is not a power list, this is not most famous women or most wealthy women,” TIME editor in chief Nancy Gibbs said. “This really is women who have stories to tell about breaking barriers that we think are instructive and inspiring across so many different fields. I think when you read their stories and hear them talk about what motivated them, what contributed to their success, what setbacks they faced, everyone will find someone they can identify with.”

In addition to the Friday issue dedicated to the ‘Firsts’ series, the collection of portraits and interviews with the women will also be available as a book which will be released September 19.


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