This year has given us a lot by way of, well, a lot. A historic election and controversial situations abound. But that’s the great thing about life. There is always something from which we can glean some inspiration. There are a plethora of people who have done amazing things by just being who they are, and those people have motivated us to be a better version of ourselves.
So, because the year is pretty much over and you probably need some good vibes going into 2017, here are ten of the top most inspirational celebrities of 2016.
There is no doubt that I was feeling the Bern this year. Bernie Sanders truly inspired a nation with his willingness to put himself out there for the things he believe he could change. His unapologetic stance on what is right and his fight to the finish for the presidency are great inspiration for those who want something that they just can’t not pursue. And just because he didn’t get his way doesn’t mean it’s over. He’s still rallying people to be better for the good of our nation.
The singer will always be on my list of most inspirational people period. She is dynamic in everything that she does and this year, with the release of her Formation album, she took that inspiration to another level. Calling on black women, in particular, to get in position and take control of their lives like never before, she made a statement about her blackness that speaks volumes.
Taraji P. Henson
I love Taraji because she is an encourager of women. Yes, she is on a hit show, and yes she is a bad ass, but she is not about competition. That is inspiring because women usually do compete with each other and go to crazy lengths to get the upper hand. Taraji proves that when you are at the top of your game, you connect with other like-minded women to affect change, not to outdo the other person.
The independent filmmaker turned HBO boss chick is one of the most inspirational women in the game right now. Her hit show Insecure is all her and is the result of a vision she had years ago that she stuck to. Now, she is calling the shots and stands as a symbol of pride amongst young black millennial women.
The first lady is another person who will always make my list of anything good. She is a perfect representation of womanhood for every woman, young and old, black or white, rich or poor, to follow. Her speech in Manchester, New Hampshire in October had even the even the most conservative of folks praising her. She is a great uniter of people and a beautiful woman.
This guy has a gift, and that gift has taken him to the top. He is a great talent that has carved out a place for his art and work in an industry that doesn’t embrace diversity. With his show Master of None winning accolades this year during awards season, he has proven that comedy transcends race and ethnicity.
The actress is a boss. Yes, she played one on the big screen, but she is one in real life. Melissa McCarthy is the perfect example of what it means to stand tall despite society telling you to sit down. A hero to curvy women everywhere, she is the prototype.
Rap is so much more than a genre of music and people like Kendrick Lamar have shown just how powerful it can be. He has transformed the game and created a lane for himself that other artists wish they had. His powerful performances this year are beckons of hope for black people who need to know that “We gon be alright.”
She went up against a male dominant system. And while she may have lost to someone grossly unqualified, Hillary Clinton remained classy and strong in her run for the presidency. Her tenacity and drive during her campaign and her grace after the election is inspiring for everyone who is chasing their dream.
What can I say about Ava DuVernay? She is a beast! Her powerful way of telling a story has garnered her countless recognition and for good reason. Her documentary 13th is a poignant look at America’s prison system. Plus, her other projects and awards are black girl magic in full effect.
Life is a rollercoaster that many people don’t ever learn how to ride. When it gets a little too hard to bear, look to those who serve as an inspiration to continue whatever it is you are doing to make your world a better place.
Strive for greatness.