Luvvie Ajayi is her own best hype woman. It’s mid November and Ajayi is in a Manhattan boardroom wearing a sparkly red tee emblazoned with the title of her new book, I’m Judging You. She’s giving a talk at the Publicis NYC offices—one of the world’s largest advertising companies—to talk about her book and to network. Her charisma commands the room. Those who came to get signed copies of the best-selling book listen intently as Ajayi tells her story of going from witty blogger and social critic to best-selling author.
“In three and a half weeks, I wrote a 52 page proposal, with 17 page chapter summaries” Ajayi says as she explains her breakneck pace. “I just showed up one day to my agent and was like ‘Oh yeah, by the way, here’s my proposal.’ And he said, ‘I asked you a month ago and you didn’t have one—you already have one?’” Less than six months later she had a book deal. Five months after that she submitted a manuscript.
We feel it’s our duty to share at least 100 dope women who hail from the continent and the diaspora with you. Since we have the amazing privilege of calling brilliant African women our family, friends, mentors, idols and seestahs—it’s only right to present this amazing collective of Mavericks, Champions, Innovators, Pioneers and Innovators.
Compiling this list was no easy feat. We took into consideration recommendations from our ever-growing network and nominations from our audience to bring you a combination of bonafide leaders and up-and-comers who are game-changers in their respective fields.
Representation by country and social impact were also key factors, including how well these women use their resources to help other women. All of these individuals are beacons in their communities. All of these ladies are fearless, unapologetic and driven.
We gathered as African women who worked tirelessly on this list. After months of researching, learning, intense debating and listening, our hope is that you feel as empowered by and proud of the women profiled here as we do.
OkayAfrica’s 100 Women is for us, by us—and this is just the beginning. (OkayAfrica’s 100 Women).