32 Incredible TED Talks by Black Women that Will Inspire You

by Shonette Reed

With the driving theme of “ideas worth spreading,” TED Talks have become a widely known online media platform. With the goal of having leaders from different backgrounds and fields share their stories, experiences, and thoughts on a wide range of topics, TED Talks are equal parts entertaining, educational, and inspiring.

From doctors, poets, scientists, actors, entrepreneurs, activists, novelists, and everything in-between, there have been a large number of influential Black women to present TED and TEDx Talks in recent years on diverse and rich ideas. Here are 32 TED talks by Black women to get you motivated, no matter what field you are in or where your interests may lie. Everyone and anyone can take something away from these women’s powerful and moving presentations.

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Writer

2. Majora Carter, Activist for Environmental Justice

3. Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, Filmmaker

4. Edwidge Danticat, Writer

5. Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe and Deqo Mohammed, Doctors and Humanitarians

6. Khadija Gbla, Cross-Cultural Consultant

7. Leymah Gbowee, Peace Activist and Nobel Laureate

8. Thelma Golden, Curator

9. Nadine Burke Harris, Pediatrician

10. Linda Hill, Harvard Business Management Professor

11. Mellody Hobson, Investment Expert

12. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Economist

13. Faith Jegede, Writer

14. Sarah Jones, Polymorphic Playwright

15. Sarah Kaminsky, Actor and Writer

16. Cat Laine, Social Entrepreneur

17. Sarah Lewis, Writer

18. Jamila Lyiscott, Poet and Educator

19. Claron McFadden, Soprano

20. Dambisa Moyo, Global Economist

21. Thandie Newton, Actor

22. Kakenya Ntaiya, Educator and Activist

24. Ory Okolloh, Blogger and Activist

25. Angela Patton, Activist

26. Maya Penn, Entrepreneur, Animator and Philanthropist

27. Juliana Rotich, Tech Entrepreneur

28. Anna Deavere Smith, Playwright and Social Critic

29. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, Clinical Researcher

30. Natalie Warne, Activist

31. Talithia Williams, Statistician

32. April Yvette Thompson, Actress and Playwright

Photo: TED

Shonette Reed is a regular For Harriet and Coloures contributor from Los Angeles, Calif. With plans to break into the fashion industry as a fashion reporter, she runs her own style blog. Her aim is to highlight the important contributions of women of color in the fashion industry as well as give women of color more exposure within the leading magazines in fashion. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShonetteReed.


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