“Fine, I’ll do it,” said every Black woman who has ever felt the need to step up to the occasion for the lack of everyone else’s effort. 

As women, we work tirelessly to build up those around us — our men, our children, our families, our peers. But who works to build us up? Who keeps us grounded while we try to uplift everyone else?

Time and time again, Black women have proven to the world that we are the glue that holds it all together. That we are the providers of discipline and delight. That we are the voice of reason when the rest of the world commits treason and turns their backs on our Black and brown counterparts. 

Black women empower other women. Black women set trends that raise the bar of coolness. Black women are the think tanks behind some of the world’s most powerful revolutions and have no shame being at the forefront. 

The Black Power Movement would encourage us to take pride in our blackness from head to toe and mind, body and soul. Artists, novelists, poets and public speakers alike would eloquently piece together the visuals and lyrics of our struggle and our triumph. A revolution would transpire when our country seemed to have forgotten our significance, causing three Black feminists to create the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the midst of it all, we’ve been able to find serenity in the gift that keeps on giving: self-empowerment. We know our value. We know our worth. We know our purpose. Our predecessors paved the way for us to live unapologetically in our paths and create the narrative for our journeys that would help us recognize the greatness within ourselves. 

To jump start your own self-empowerment journey, here are 14 quotes from famous Black women; whether they may be revolutionaries, entertainment figures, or artists, they’ve all lead us into a movement that will inspire the masses as we profess our magic. Let their words inspire your personal journey for bringing out your inner leader.

1. Assata Shakur

“Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.” — Asata Shakur

2. Angela Davis

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — Angela Davis

3. bell hooks

“If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.” — bell hooks

4. Franchesca Ramsey

"No matter where life takes me there will always be someone who’s threatened by it.” — Franchesca Ramsey

5. Amandla Stenberg

“I think the internet forces you to be okay with your mistakes, and the things you’ve done in the past, especially when you’re in the media. Personally, that helps me to stop self-editing or being self-conscious, and instead realize that my previous mistakes have allowed me to grow.” — Amandla Stenberg

6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

7. Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ― Maya Angelou

8. Alice Walker

“Helped are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.” ― Alice Walker

9. Toni Morrison

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ― Toni Morrison

10. Michelle Obama

“If you do not take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up. If you don’t prioritize yourself, you constantly start falling lower and lower on your list.”― Michelle Obama

11. Beyoncé

“I’m learning how to drown out the constant noise that is such an inseparable part of my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world.” ― Beyoncé

12. Oprah Winfrey

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” ― Oprah Winfrey

13. Chaka Khan

“You've just got to follow your own path. You have to trust your heart and you have to listen to the warnings.” ― Chaka Khan

14. Shirley Chisholm

“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.” ― Shirley Chisholm