Essence magazine is recognizing 100 woke women in a special anniversary issue solely focused on sisterhood and empowerment.
On Monday, the magazine revealed its full list, which includes women Essence believes exemplify the best of what it means to be woke. The feature is part of the magazine’s special collector’s May issue and highlights women from all walks of life in the cover story.
The cover itself features striking black-and-white photos of 12 prominent and phenomenal women like MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, activist Tamika Mallory and TV extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes:
“To me being woke means that you recognize the world is not a simple place, that everything is not all equal and that justice has not happened yet to everyone and that there is a lot of work to be done,” Rhimes said as she sat alongside activists Sybrina Fulton and April Reign ― both of whom are featured in the issue ― in a video posted by Essence.
Essence, a magazine focused on black women and their experiences, published its first edition in May 1970. In the decades since, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca says the publication has not wavered from its mission of amplifying incredible women who have done inspiring work.
“Advocacy is a part of Essence’s DNA ever since, for 47 years, ever since its inception,” De Luca told Reid on MSNBC Sunday. “So we understand the role that we play in the community and making sure that our voices, especially the voices of women of color, are not squashed down, that they’re given a platform.”
The special issue will be on newsstands everywhere this Friday.