Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 - 10 January 1971) was a French fashion designer and business woman. She was the founder and namesake of the Chanel brand. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited in the post-World War I era with liberating women from the constraints of the "corseted silhouette" and popularizing a sporty, casual chic as the feminine standard of style. She is widely regarded as the greatest fashion designer who ever lived, thus making the name of Chanel iconic.
There was nothing spectacular about Chanel's childhood. Her mother died and she was placed in an orphanage by her own father where nuns raised her and taught the young, ambitious girl how to sew. She was given her nickname during a brief career as a singer. Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins where she was called “Coco.”
Around the age of 20, Chanel became involved with Etienne Balsan, who offered to help her pursue a millinery business in Paris. She soon left him for one of his even wealthier friends, Arthur “Boy” Capel. They both played a role in Chanel’s first fashion venture.
Over the years Chanel proved herself to be a strong and determined business woman. The popular Chanel suit and Little Black Dress labeled her has a fashion icon. She went on to create a very successful cosmetic and perfume line which included the ever so adored Chanel No 5.
Coco Chanel died on January 10, 1971 at her apartment in the Hotel Ritz. She was a woman who made a living making bold decisions and designs that are just as popular today. Her name and legacy will live on forever.
By K. Graves
It has been 25 years since the Scandal-like drama entered our lives and introduced us to the educated woman, Anita Hill. For three days the United States Senate Judiciary Committee interviewed then-Supreme Court Justice candidate, Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill, former aide to Clarence Thomas, stunned the country with allegations of sexual harassment that she claimed to have happened while she worked for him.
Anita Faye Hill was born in Lone Tree, Oklahoma, the youngest of the 13 children. Her parents, Albert and Erma Hill, were farmers from Arkansas. Her great-grandparents and her maternal grandfather, Henry Eliot, were born into slavery. Her humble beginning was no match for what would follow her 35 years later.
After graduating as valedictorian from Morris High School, she enrolled at Oklahoma State University, receiving a bachelor's degree with honors in psychology in 1977. She continued her education at Yale Law School, obtaining her Juris Doctor degree with honors in 1980.
After her admittance to the Washington D.C. bar, Hill immediately found work as an associate with the private law firm Ward, Harkrader & Ross, where she focused primarily on banking litigation. In 1981 she made a career move introducing her to the man that would change it all. She accepted the position as legal advisor to Clarence Thomas who was then the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. When he became Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1982, Anita Hill went along to serve as his assistant, leaving the job in 1983 for a teaching position at the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa after she was hospitalized for stress-related issues. It was during her time in the position with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Hill alleges the sexual harassment took place.
Three years later, Hill became a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law, where she taught contract and commercial law. In 1989, she became the school’s first tenured black professor and also held an important post in the office of the provost.
In 1991, after President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court, Hill submitted a confidential memo to let the committee know Thomas had harassed her while she was his assistant. A few female members of Congress pressured the Judiciary Committee to call Hill to testify. When she did, Hill explained with dignity and composure that in 1981, Thomas had talked to her graphically about sex. She said he gave graphic details about the pornography he watched; he discussed his sexual prowess and pressured her to date him. Who can forget the offensive reference to "the pubic hair on the can of Coke."
Thomas was confirmed, but it left Ms. Hill's credibility to be questioned. Many wondered why she waited so long to come forward, leading others to assume that she was 'a woman scorned' seeking revenge. There were also questions as to why she followed Clarence Thomas to the EEOC after their time together at the Department of Education. Hill explained that she had come forward because she felt an obligation to share information on the character and actions of a person who was being considered for the Supreme Court.
Whether we believe Anita Hill or not, there is one thing that did change and that is America's views on sexual harassment in the workplace. After the hearing and Clarence Thomas' confirmation, President George H. W. Bush dropped his opposition to a bill giving harassment victims the right to seek federal damage awards, back pay and reinstatement, and the law was passed by Congress. Private companies also started training programs to deter sexual harassment.
Currently, Hill is a University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's Studies at Brandeis University and a faculty member of Brandeis' Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Her autobiography, Speaking Truth to Power has been chronicled into a documentary; Anita: Speaking Truth to Power and was released in March. Also, Confirmation, a movie produced by HBO, is set to air to millions this month.
Anita Hill is proof that the journey we are given is not always easy, but it will lead you to your purpose and destiny. She is View Woman's Legendary Woman in History!
In March 1990, she had a very severe accident on her tour bus. Gloria made her comeback in March 1991 with a new world tour and album called Into The Light. She became an inspiration to all. In 1993 she won her first Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album. It was the first number-one album on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, established when it was released. It was also the first Diamond album in Spain. Many of her songs like Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, 1-2-3, Get On Your Feet, Here We Are, Coming Out of the Dark, Bad Boy, Oye!, Party Time and a remake of Vicki Sue Robinson's Turn the Beat Around became international hits, with chart-topping scores. Estefan is one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, with an estimated 100 million records sold worldwide, including 31.5 million in the United States alone.
She has won a total of seven Grammy Awards. Gloria also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Las Vegas Walk of Fame and The Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest award that can be given to a naturalized U.S. citizen. Estefan also won the Hispanic Heritage Award, an MTV Video Music Award, two ACE Awards and the National Music Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year Award. She was also honored with the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as being named BMI Songwriter of the Year. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has received multiple Billboard Awards for her many chart-topping hits.
She is also on the list of Vh1 top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and one of the Top 50 female Artists Who Will Never Be Forgotten, according to The Sun tabloid, UK. In 2015 she was added to the list of Now It Counts as one of The Most Powerful Americans and in Billboard's Top 30 Most Influential Latin Artists Of All Time.
By K Graves
Mary Teresa Barra is the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors and is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.
Being a teenager in today's society generally involves hanging out with friends, cell phones, extra-curricular activities, and plenty of fun. In a long list of 'things to do when I am a teenager', being a child activist would not commonly be listed as a priority. Malala Yousafzai is an extraordinary exception.
Named after the Pashtun heroine, Malala Yousafzai has undoubtedly lived up to her name in her short lifetime. Malala was born July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan - located in the country's Swat valley. Malala's passion for education is not far-fetched. Her father, Ziauddin, is the founder of a chain of schools known as the Khushal Public School and also an educational activist.
In 2008, the Taliban began attacking girls' schools in Swat. This initiated Malala's activism spirit. She gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan titled "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" She also began blogging for the BBC about her experiences living under the Taliban's threat and violence under a hidden name, Gul Makai, to protect her identity. All of this was happening when Malala was only the tender age of 11. Her strength had already begun to prove her to be an amazing force in her community and the world.
At the age of 14, Malala and her family were facing a death threat that was made by the Taliban. Although they were concerned for their safety, they felt that the group would not harm children. This thought was proven to be far from the truth. On her way home from school on October 9, 2012, a man boarded Malala's bus and demanded the other children to point her out. Out of fear and pure desperation, Malala's friends identified her by looking in her direction. She was shot immediately. The bullet hit her in the left side of her head and then traveled down her neck. There were two other girls on the bus that were also injured.
In critical condition, Malala was sent to a military hospital in Peshawar. A portion of her skull had to be removed to help in reducing the swelling in her brain. Soon she was sent to Birmingham, England for extensive care that included multiple surgeries - including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face. In all of this trauma and turmoil, this horrific act of cowardice left Malala with NO major brain damage. The very thing that the Taliban had set out to do was unsuccessful.
In 2013 she was able to continue her education in England. She was also able to complete an autobiography, released in October 2013, titled I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. In October 2014 Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize. At 17, she became the youngest recipient. The Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Malala with these inspiring words:
"She is the pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment."
Malala Yousafzai has continued to be a voice for the power of education. She is empowering girls through education to help them achieve their full potential. With her olive skin and beautiful piercing brown eyes, Malala has proven to the world that girls are more than capable of making a powerful impact.
Source: Biography.com, Malala.org
The Williams' sisters, Venus and Serena, have completely transformed the world's outlook on athletes and what they should look like. These sisters took the game of tennis by storm and never looked back.
Venus (born in 1980) and Serena (born 15 months later) grew up in Compton, California and West Palm Beach, Florida. Their father, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, moved the family to Compton for a purpose. Richard Williams wanted to expose his daughters to the ugly possibilities of life “if they did not work hard and get an education.” The sisters began learning their skill from their father, who only knew the game from tennis books and videos. Incredibly, it was enough to mold these girls into top athletes.
By the age of 10, Venus’ serve speed topped 100 miles per hour. She used this powerful weapon to create a record of 63-0 on the United States Tennis Association junior tour. In 1994 she turned pro and in her first match she defeated 50-seeded Shaun Stafford at the Bank of the West Classic in California.
In 1997, Venus became the first unseeded U.S. Open women’s finalist in the Open era. In 2000 she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, paving the way for her to land a $40 million contract with Reebok. Venus has won countless titles and medals- including 43 singles titles from the U.S. Open and Wimbledon; 19 doubles titles from the French Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon; and four gold medals from the U.S. Olympics.
Serena began playing tennis when she was just four years old. She turned pro in 1995 and in just two years she was ranked number 99 in the world rankings – up from number 304 just 12 months prior. In 1999, she beat out her sister in their race to the family’s first Grand Slam victory – the U.S. Open title. Over the next decade, Serena alone would win 23 Grand Slam titles-including 10 doubles championships with her sister.
In 2002, she won the French Open, the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon, defeating Venus in the finals of each tournament. She captured her first Australian Open in 2003, making her one of only five women players to have complete grand slam sets. The win also fulfilled her desire to finish off what she'd dubbed "The Serena Slam." In 2008, she won the U.S. Open and teamed with Venus to capture a second women's doubles Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games.
In 2011, Williams suffered a series of health scares after doctors found a blood clot in one of her lungs. Following several procedures, including one to remove a hematoma, and several months away from the game, Williams returned to the court to compete in the U.S. Open and placed second in the singles tournament.
Just like her older sister, Serena has a mass collection of titles and medals – 19 Grand Slams, 65 singles titles, six U.S. Open titles, five Wimbledon titles, six Australian Open titles, two French Open titles, 22 doubles titles, two mixed doubles, and five gold medals. What a collection!
The sisters have expanded their superior abilities off of the tennis court with their unique style and attitude. Venus pursued art classes and earned a certificate in interior design – which spawned her interior design company, V Starr Interiors. Her company works on residential projects throughout the country. She also started her own clothing line called ‘EleVen’ as well as a collection of women’s apparel for Wilson’s leather. Serena, on the other hand, expanded her brand into film, television, and fashion. She developed her own line of clothing called ‘Aneres’ and in 2002 People magazine selected her as one of its 25 Most Intriguing People. Essence magazine later called her one of the country’s 50 Most Inspiring African-Americans. She’s also made television appearances including voice work on The Simpsons.
These powerful women have truly made their mark in the history of tennis – collectively and individually. They are forces to be reckoned with on and off the court.
By C Morrison
Source: Biography.com, venuswilliams.com, serenawilliams.com
Waris Dirie was born in 1965 into a nomadic family in Galkayo, Somalia. She has been a voice fighting for the elimination of female mutilation for the past 15 years. Her own traumatic experience allowed her to tell a story familiar to many women in Africa and ultimately led her to activism.
Waris Dirie was brutally mutilated at a very young age in Somalia. By the time she was 13 her family had promised her hand in marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She fled her home to avoid the arranged marriage. Her escape led her through the desert to Mogadishu and eventually to London. The journey left her scarred, weak, and hungry.
Waris lived with family in London. She had no education, but she found work as a housemaid and also at a fast food restaurant. Later, she was able to find the time to take classes to learn to read and write English.
At 18 she was discovered while working at McDonalds by one of Britain's leading fashion photographers - Terrence Donovan. Her modeling career was ignited internationally. This ultimately led to her on-screen debut in a James Bond epic, The Living Daylights, starring Timothy Dalton.
Born on April 16th 1971, Selena Quintanilla Perez (best known as Selena) was an American singer and songwriter. She was the "top Latin artist of the 90's", "Best selling Latin artist of the decade" and was labeled " The Queen of Tejano"!
Selena started showing an interest in singing at the age of three years old. When she turned six, she could sing in English and Spanish even though she could not speak Spanish at all.
In 1984 Selena's father moved his family to Corpus Christi. She recorded her first album called Selena Y Los Dinos - also the name of the musical group her father created. In 1986, Selena y Los Dinos released the album Alpha followed by Muñequito Ee Trapo. Also in 1986, Selena was discovered by two huge names in the Tejano Music Industry: Rick Trevi founder of the Tejano Music Awards and Johnny Canales the host of one of the top Spanish television shows. Selena y Los Dinos released three more albums in 1987 and 1988 (And The Winner Is . . . ; Dulce Amor; and Preciosa.
In 1986 at the Tejano Music Awards, Selena went on to win the Best Female vocalist award; an award she won several times.
In 1989, EMI President Jose Behar attended the Tejano Music Awards. He saw Selena perform and win. He later signed her to EMI Latin. She then released an album titled "Selena". The album featured such songs as Besitos, Contigo Quiero Estar and Sukiyaki (a cover of Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 hit). The same year she also became a spokesperson for Coca Cola.
In 1991, her duet with Salvadoran singer Alvaro Torres "Buenos Amigos" (Good Friends) became her first number one song. The next year, she released Entre a Mi Mundo (Enter My World) which went gold. Entre a Mi Mundo contained what was to become one of her biggest songs Como La Flor (Like The Flower).
Selena married Chris Perez, the lead guitarist of Los Dinos, on April 2nd, 1992.
In 1993, she won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American performance for her album Selena Live. Also in 1993, she began designing and manufacturing a clothing line. She opened two Selena Etc. boutiques; one in Corpus Christi and one in San Antonio.
Her album Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love) was nominated for another Grammy. She made appearances in the Latin soap opera Dos Mujeres, Un Camino. Her duet with the Barrio Boyzz "Donde Quiera Que Estés" (Wherever You Are) hit number one on Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks.
In 1995 Selena was gunned down by a her fan club president and manager of her boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar. She was embezzling money from the fan club and her Etc. account. Selena was 23 years old when she died just 17 days away from her 24th birthday. That summer the album "Dreaming of you" was released, a combination of English and Spanish songs.
Selena's death not only devastated the Latin community, but it left a whole nation in mourning.
Coretta Scott King was born April 27, 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama. She initially attended elementary in a one room schoolhouse, but was later bused to Lincoln High School where she graduated as valedictorian in 1945. She excelled in music and played the trumpet, piano, and sang in the choir many times appearing as the soloist. She went on to study music at Antioch College in Ohio and earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in music and education.
Her stand on racial issues were strong even while she attended college. Coretta was denied the opportunity to practice teaching at Yellow Springs schools while attending Antioch College. She took her complaint all the way to the president of the college, but was denied. It was advised that she go apply to black schools in local towns. She declined and decided on working in the Antioch laboratory.
Coretta received a grant and scholarship to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and worked as a housekeeper to pay for her expenses.
That year she met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Boston University and the two begin dating, but it wouldn't be long before they would speak of marriage. She was married June 18, 1953 and received her second degree in violin and voice shortly after.
Coretta Scott King became an American civil rights activist and the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. She worked side by side with her husband and played a very strong role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Coretta was a very prestigious wife. She took care of their four children as well as offer support to Dr. King in his quest to promote equal rights for everyone. Following her husband's death she founded the Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mrs. King carried on her husband's legacy as well as his leadership role and spoke for him at the March on Washington. Coretta passed away in August of 2005 holding the title of one of the most respected and infuential women of all time.
Reference: New Georgia Encyclopedia
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