Six Defining Moments That Prove Women Of Color Reigned In 2015

by Niki McGloster

In the face of mainstream erasure, anti-women campaigns sponsored by Donald Trump and police brutality targeting blacks, you’d guess women of racial backgrounds other than white were having a worse year than Kylie Jenner's beau, Tyga. But in lieu of sexism and bleak national circumstances, quite the contrary is happening.

Women of color (WOC) are being awarded and showcased across the industries, dominating fashion, film, art, sports and politics.

This past year, the influences and accolades of WOC are no longer being ignored, but celebrated as a resurgence of cultural change.

No doubt, these women are flourishing. Here are six moments currently defining 2015 as a 365-day stint all about women of color.

That time Gina Rodriguez (and the world) cried through her Golden Globe speech.

CW's "Jane the Virgin” leading lady was honored for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Musical or Comedy) earlier this year, even though this Puerto Rican starlet was a Hollywood newbie and first-time Golden Globe nominee. The Latina funny girl beat out TV vets like Edie Falco and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, proving it's time for new types of women in TV.

In Rodriguez's moving speech, she stated,

This award is so much more than myself,  she managed through tears. It represents a culture that wants to see itself as heroes.

Pass the tissues, please.

That time Beyonce slayed Vogue’s coveted September Issue.

Beyonce can't run the world literally, but her attempt to leave a mark on history so strong she'll be forever unforgettable doesn't go unnoticed. Case in point: Her internet-shattering Vogue spread.

Becoming the third black woman and first black musician to grace the iconic September cover, 'Just B' is consistently giving glass ceilings the Willy Wonka treatment. With every career move, she's evolving ways in which black women are represented and consumed by gen pop.

She is the biggest and brightest star in her proverbial class. But what else is to be expected from this delicately powerful diva?

That time Eva Chen announced her move to Instagram (on Instagram).

Let's be honest: No one really knows what the heck the Head of Fashion at a photo-sharing social site does. We just know this Taiwanese boss lady has designer shoes big enough to get 'er done.

Her unprecedented rise from fangirl glossies like Elle and Teen Vogue to EIC of now-defunct Lucky Magazine, Chen has soared to heights usually reserved for non-minority journos. Her commitment to unlimited diversity has redefined what beauty is -- and its extensive industries are much better for it.

Those three times Serena Williams won grand slams back to back.

Williams' reign as best female athlete is so undeniable, it's simply referred to as the #Serenaslam.

Dubbed “one of the most sustained careers of excellence in the history of athletics” by Sports Illustrated for her 21 grand slams titles, she's come a long way from her racquet swinging start in Compton.

Her determination and fierce competitiveness show sports is dominated by a woman of color.

That one time Laverne Cox covered TIME Magazine.

Transgender icon and resident hairstyling inmate on Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black," Cox has society in a double-fisted grip. As she educates, in and out of courtrooms, about black trans struggles and injustices, she continuously empowers by with her #TransIsBeautiful movement.

That one time Misty Copeland became a prima ballerina.

After 14 years at the American Ballet Theatre, her swan-like skills landed her as not just ABT's prima ballerina, but the first African-American female principal dancer at the company, ending its 75-year-long history of solely white leading dancers.

In her 2014 memoir "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, she said,

My fears are that it could be another two decades before another Black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company. That if I don't rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.

Even before her big break, she was named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People not long after she became the first Black dancer to star in the company's production of "Swan Lake."

How about that for barrier breaking?

That one time Loretta Lynch was (finally!) sworn in.

Thank you @POTUS and Justice Sotomayor. It's a privilege to serve as Attorney General for @TheJusticeDept. — AG Loretta Lynch (@LorettaLynch) June 17, 2015

Though it took longer than a college semester to swear her into President Obama's Cabinet, Lynch became the first black woman to serve as US attorney general. While her history-making honor is noted, she joins other minority women in political ranks which must be recognized.

Nikki Haley, Kamala Harris and other female politicians of color are leading women's topics in male-dominated ranks and pushing women's issues to the forefront.

"Women of color are more likely to prioritize issues related to women, children and families," said Kelly Dittmar, a professor of political science at Rutgers who works with the Center for American Women and Politics.

So if Hillary Rodham Clinton wins big in 2016, she'll have a colorful squad of women to assist.