One of the most memorable & iconic women of Hollywood’s Golden Age. This actress has won numerous awards and recognition for her inspiring work as an actress. She was the 5th person ever to become an EGOT. This term is used to describe those who have received an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Hepburn is one of 14 people to accomplish this.
Hepburn faced many hardships throughout her lifetime, particularly growing up. In 1940 her country was invaded by the Nazis which resulted in Hepburn & her family being forced into hiding.
After her successful acting career, Hepburn became an ambassador for UNICEF and has completed significant, astonishing work with them. She devoted the final years of her life to UNICEF. Soon after becoming an ambassador, Hepburn went on a mission to Ethiopia. After visiting UNICEF emergency operations, she talked about the projects to the media in the United States, Canada and Europe over several weeks, giving as many as 15 interviews a day. Hepburn made a series of UNICEF field trips, visiting a polio vaccine project in Turkey, training programmes for women in Venezuela, projects for children living and working on the street in Ecuador, projects to provide drinking water in Guatemala and Honduras and radio literacy projects in El Salvador. She saw schools in Bangladesh, projects for impoverished children in Thailand, nutrition projects in Vietnam and camps for displaced children in Sudan. She testified before the US Congress, took part in the World Summit for Children, launched UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children reports, hosted Danny Kaye International Children’s Award ceremonies, designed fundraising cards, participated in benefit concert tours and gave many speeches and interviews promoting UNICEF’s work.*
Hepburn received the United States’ highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in December 1992.*
* (from UNICEF)
This feisty Latina has definitely made an impact on this world and stands as a testament to the strength of women. Choreographer of In Living Colour’s Fly Girls and an Oscar nominated actress, Perez started as a dancer on Soul Train and has performed numerous times on Broadway. She was the first Latina to be part of The View co-hosting team alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Raven-Symone & Nicolle Wallace. In 2015, Perez received the World AIDS Day Humanitarian Award.
Perez has been an AIDS activist since the 90’s, giving lectures to inner-New York City high schools. She has also taken part in events such as a 5-hour fundraiser AIDS Dance-A-Thon. She received a co-host spot on ABC’s “In a New Light: Sex Unplugged” which POZ Magazine called the “most effective sex-ed […] ever aired by commercial grids.” President Barack Obama appointed Perez to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). On February 1 2010, Perez was officially sworn into office.
Read her autobiography “Handbook For An Unpredictable Life” here.
Creator of Dunham Technique, Katherine Dunham changed dance in America in the the 1930’s by bringing to it the roots of black dance. She was a pioneer in the use of folk and ethnic choreography and one of the founders of the anthropological dance movement. She expressed the beauty of African American heritage & culture. Dunham brought these Caribbean and African influences to the dance world which was European-dominated at the time. Her creations of repertoire called “Matriarch of Black Dance” combined interpretations of Caribbean dances, traditional ballet, African rituals and African American rhythms to create her signature Dunham Technique. Her dance troupe performed many of her original works around the world which include: Batucada, L’ag’ya, Shango, Veracruzana , Nanigo, Choros, Rite de Passage, Los Indios, and more. Dunham choreographed Aida in 1963 at the Met, and became the first African American to choreograph for the Metropolitan Opera.
Dunham often tried to tackle the issues poverty and racism. She aimed to channel the energy of violent street gangs through the performing arts. Dunham’s centers are the only multi-disciplinary arts organization devoted to the study, appreciation, and celebration of diverse cultures. Katherine Dunham was an advocate for racial equality and often refused to perform at segregated venues in the U.S. She also and used her performances to draw attention to the issue of discrimination. She global attention by staging a hunger strike of 47 days in 1993 at the age of 82, in protest of the U.S. government’s repatriation policy for Haitian immigrants.
Katherine won many awards for her work. These include: the Presidential Medal of Arts, The Kennedy Center Honors with Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Elia Kazan and Virgil Thompson, the plaque d’Honneur Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce Award, French Legion of Honor, Southern Cross of Brazil, Grand Cross of Haiti, NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, The Albert Schweitzer Music Award at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Academy Laureate, and the Urban Leagues’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Miss Dunham’s recognitions also include a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, inclusion in the book I Have a Dream, and the Women’s International Center’s Living Legacy Award. She received an Honorary Degree in Fine Arts from Harvard and in 2000 Katherine Dunham was named America’s irreplaceable Dance Treasure.
Mostly known as Brooke Davis from the US TV show One Tree Hill, Sophia Bush is an actress, director, spokesperson & activist. Bush uses her Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to raise awareness of present, relevant social issues. She often speaks out against gun violence, environmental damage and in favour of women’s rights. Gun owner Sophia was recently quoted in response to the Parkland Florida shooting: “My right to a hobby is NOT more valuable than a child’s right to get an education without being slaughtered.” – Yahoo Entertainment
Bush is a part of fundraisers such as Fuck Cancer, Run For the Gulf, and Global Green Gulf Relief. Sophia won us over for a spot in this shortlisted blog with her statement “I will not vote for a candidate who thinks you can ‘pray away the gay,’ I will not vote for a candidate who thinks that he has more rights to my uterus than I do, I will not vote for a candidate who thinks that it’s okay to dump toxic waste in the ocean. I’m afraid for our country that people like this could even be thought of as the president. I live in a country where I believe all men are created equal, not just wealthy white guys. I believe all men, all women, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic background, do deserve the same rights.”
Bush set up a fundraiser for the people of the Gulf of Mexico affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. To support the fundraiser, she ran a half marathon that following November, despite having asthma and a year-old knee injury. Bush has additionally teamed up with Do Something to raise more environmental awareness among teens.
Anne Erin “Annie” Clark, also known as St. Vincent, is an American musician from the US. Receiver of numerous awards & nominations for her unique sound, she is also the creator of this super stylish breast-friendly guitar!
She mentioned in an interview with The Guardian last December “I’m interested in how we define power: who has it; what it looks like; what it looks like for me. I think I’ve come to the idea that I get to define what power looks like for me, and on me. It’s very liberating. I’m not the political side of power – I’m not a community organiser, that’s not my particular skillset. But what I do have is the power to tell stories. And stories get to shape and influence how people walk through the world; they can help people feel less alone, and more understood.
In response to an interview question asking whether she identified as gay or straight, Clark responded, “I don’t think about those words. I believe in gender fluidity and sexual fluidity. I don’t really identify as anything. [. . .] I think you can fall in love with anybody. I don’t have anything to hide but I’d rather the emphasis be on music”. She later further explained, “I’m not one for gender or sexual absolutism in the main; I fully support and engage in the spectrum.”
The power house artist & legend that is Grace Jones could not be missed from this list! This Jamaican beauty is not short on talents. She is a singer, songwriter, model, producer & actress. Jones’ androgynous appearance & bold features are iconic features of her image. Her visual impact is considered to go hand-in-hand with her work.
It is said that Jones’ unique appearance, clothing, manner, and height influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s. Today, she is known for her unique look at least as much as she is for her music and has been an inspiration for numerous artists of our time. Her music was initially disco-based before branching out into a more new wave style and was an inspiration for many alternative music artists that came afterwards.