Women who step up this year
Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman. While Winfrey has been cited as the richest African American of the 20th century, she does not come from a rich, or even middle class, family...
Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock
(née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of Irish, English, French, and German descent. Sandra grew up on the road with her parents and younger sister...
With roots that lead back to Louisiana southern aristocracy, lovely leading lady Lynn Whitfield was born in 1953, the eldest of four children and a third-generation BFA graduate from Howard University. Her dentist father was instrumental in developing Lynn's initial interest in acting as he was a prime figure in forming community theater in her native Baton Rouge...
Meagan Monique Good was born on 8 August 1981 in Panorama City, California, USA, to Tyra Wardlow-Doyle, who worked as her manager, and Leondis "Leon" Good, an LAPD officer. She began appearing on commercials at the age of four. Then she started guest-starring on series like The Parent 'Hood
, Touched by an Angel
Regina Hall was born December 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., to Ruby, a teacher, and Odie Hall, a contractor. She graduated from Fordham University in 1992, and went on to earn a master's degree in journalism from New York University before shifting to an acting career. In 1997 at age 26, she began appearing in commercials...
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Koren Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Robsol Grant Pinkett, Jr., a contractor, and Adrienne Banfield-Jones
, a nurse. They divorced after only a few months of marriage. Her father is of African-American descent and her mother is of Afro-Caribbean ancestry (from Barbados and Jamaica). Jada majored in dance and choreography at the Baltimore School for the Arts...
Paula Patton was born in Los Angeles, California, to Joyce (Vanraden) and Charles Patton. Her father is African-American and her mother, who is caucasian, has German, English, and Dutch ancestry. Her family lived across the street from the 20th Century Fox lot when she was growing up and she was a fan of films from her earliest years...
La La Anthony
La La Anthony is an actress and producer, known for her roles in Think Like a Man
and Think Like a Man Too
, in which she starred alongside Kevin Hart and Taraji P. Henson, Spike Lee's Chi-Raq
, and television shows Unforgettable on A&E with Poppy Montgomery and Starz' hit show Power, executive produced by 50 Cent and starring Omari Hardwick...
Born in 1972 in North Philadelphia, Jill Scott grew up in the ghetto with her mother, Joyce, and grandmother. A deeply loved and gifted child, she learned to talk at only eight months and was reading by age four. Always the center of attention, her principal in elementary school described her as a little butterfly...
Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in a parish in Barbados called St. Michael, to Monica (Braithwaite), an accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor. Her mother has Afro-Guyanese ancestry and her father has Afro-Barbadian, English, Scottish and Irish ancestry (known as "Redlegs" in the Caribbean)...