The year has gotten away from me and I have not put together this year’s Power List. Can I let 2017 end without one?
View our previous lists:
Please help me honor our own. Let me know who should be on this year’s list via comment here or email to email@example.com.
Monique Wells – Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2016 – A List of Our Own©
Monique Y. Wells is a 20-year resident of Paris, France. She is co-owner of Discover Paris! – Personalized Itineraries for Independent Travelers, and is also a freelance travel writer and editor.
Through Discover Paris!, Monique has provided services tailored for the African-American traveler to Paris since 1999. Over the years, she has created Afro-centric itineraries, self-guided African-American history walking tours, a comprehensive Black Paris bus tour, and African-American hosted culinary activities for those wanting an in-depth travel experience in the City of Light. Her book, Paris Reflections: Walks Through African-American Paris (McDonald & Woodward, 2002; co-authored with Christiann Anderson), contains abbreviated versions of the walks that she proposes to Discover Paris! clients. She has provided private, guided tours of African-American Paris for student groups from Syracuse University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and other schools.
Monique writes and edits articles on many aspects of life in Paris. Her articles have been published by the International Herald Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, France Today, This City Paris, and other American newspapers, magazines and web publications. One of these articles was published in the anthology France, A Love Story (Seal Press, 2004).
Barnard College, Rice University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas Southern University, and numerous private groups have appreciated Monique’s lecture on “Black Paris and the Myth of a Colorblind France.” In 2011, she was named Black Culture and Heritage VIP in Paris by the online magazine African Diaspora Tourism.
Monique is also the president of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a French non-profit association whose goal is to honor painter Beauford Delaney and to educate the public about his life and art.
Jennifer Tosch, Culture: The Netherlands, Founder of Black Heritage Tours
Jennifer Tosch launched Black Heritage Tours Amsterdam in 2013 after taking the Black Europe Summer School course at the University of Amsterdam.
The inspiration for the tours first came not only from the transformative experience I had as a student of the BESS, but also from a void that I encountered regarding positive narratives about the presence and contributions of the African Diaspora in the Netherlands. After sharing my experiences with family and friends, I firmly believed I could contribute my share to the process of unearthing the lives of our hidden histories in Europe and in 2013 Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam was born. The journey has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve built a sustainable business by collaborating with an awesome team of scholars, historians, public officials, businesses, and heritage tourism professional.
My vision is that through this tour and the tireless work being done by dedicated scholars and activists throughout the Netherlands we will move from silence, shame and blame to when we will speak about ‘Black history’ with pride, and to claim the heritage that is rightfully shared. I have already been confronted with some strong resistance to sharing a ‘different’ perspective about Dutch history, in one instance a ‘Dutch historian’ physically stood in front of me during a ‘pilot tour’ trying to deter me. However, it has been through that ‘rock of resistance’ that has motivated me to ‘sharpen my sword of knowledge’. Thanks to a powerhouse A-Team, my ‘narrative’ is based on sound research and scholarship. This is simply, a perspective whose time is long overdue.
Sophia James, Politics: UK, 1st Black Female Reading Councillor
A 26 year old enthusiastic young professional living in Reading, working for a deaf charity in London and lucky enough to be a Labour Councillor for the outstanding Katesgrove Ward.
Left wing, liberation activist and inter-sectional feminist. I’m originally from Birmingham. You will either catch me with a Labour rosette or megaphone.
Source: Sophia James
Ellen Brudet, Entrepreneurship: The Netherlands, Creator of dolls of color
In her own words:
My name is Ellen Brudet and I’m 49 years young … mother of two beautiful boys (28 and 14) and myself a child of a mixed marriage.
* My father Surinamese and my mother * Dutch . I am a proud Moksi Baby.
When I was a child, around 1966, it was hardly possible to get a puppet with brown-skin. The moment my mother finally found a doll of color I had no interest. Why? Because I was already accustomed to the white dolls, I think. For my mother, of course, this was very annoying and quickly became sad because all she ever wanted was that I could identify myself.
Her own words were, “Every child should have a brown doll”. And I am living her words!
Colored Goodies opened its doors on February 14, 2016.
It is the very first Black Doll Gift Shop in the Netherlands and I am more than proud. My oldest son said to me, “Mom … you will leave a nice legacy”. Yes … its true …. I made history with my shop 🙂
Editor’s note: Ellen has since discovered hers is the first black doll shop in ALL of Europe!
Amma Assante, The Arts: UK, Award Winning Filmmaker
BAFTA award winning Writer/Director Amma Asante, a child actor, made the move to screenwriting with development deals from Chrysalis, Channel 4 and the BBC. Two series of the urban drama Brothers and Sisters followed, which Amma wrote and produced for BBC2. Amma’s 2004 feature film, A Way of Life, was her directorial debut (she also wrote the screenplay) and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. The film garnered Amma newcomer nominations from the London Film Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Film Awards, and won Amma 17 international awards for her writing and directing and Newcomer Awards for writing and directing from the BFI London Film Festival and the prestigious South Bank Show Awards, Times Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
At the 2005 BAFTA Film Awards Amma received the BAFTA Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a writer/director in a debut film and on the same night, she scored a double triumph at the 2005 Miami International Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury prize for Best Dramatic Feature in World Cinema and the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) prize for Best Feature Film. The release of Belle in 2014 marked Amma’s second feature film, and in 2016 she released A United Kingdom.