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?
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Black Women in Europe™: Power List 2014 – A List of Our Own©
In 2010 the Black Women in Europe™ Blog released its first Power List naming 58 women across Europe in 6 categories. To commemorate our fifth list this year we name 5 women the following categories: Advocacy, Culture, Lifestyle, Politics, and Sports.
This list, presented in alphabetical order, is intended to acknowledge powerful black women in Europe and to inspire others to reach their full potential.
• What constitutes power?
Power is defined as the ability to act or produce an effect.
The list does not aim to assess rank but rather to showcase influential women who, in some cases well known and in others, are up and coming stars.
Tina Turner Bach
Tina Turner was Born in Brownsville, Tennessee, and raised in Nutbush, just like the song says, and was in recording sessions as early as 1953 when she was barely a teenager.
In 1958 she married guitarist and bandleader, Ike Turner, and in the 1960’s they recorded a string of hits, including “A Fool In Love” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”.The recording of the ground breaking “River Deep, Mountain High” with producer Phil Spector was a monster hit in Europe and the start of Tina’s superstar status.
The 70’s brought hits such as “Proud Mary” and Tina’s self-penned “Nutbush City Limits”, but the marriage was disintegrating due to Ike’s abusive behaviour and after starring in The Who’s 1976 film of “Tommy”, Tina was ready to strike out on her own.
As the massively successful film “What’s Love Got To Do With It” would later depict, she had to haul her way up a mountain of debts and disinterest but in 1982 she landed a solo deal with Capitol Records and by the summer of ’84 the album “Private Dancer”, with its acclaimed singles “Let’s Stay Together” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, was on its way to world sales of 11 million and 4 Grammys.
Since that time the successes have just kept coming: a starring role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome; duets with Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Italian superstar, Eros Ramizotti amongst others; a best-selling autobiography, ‘I, Tina’; which was made into the critically acclaimed film “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, chronicling her life and receiving two Academy Award nominations; a string of hit albums and awards; and sell-out world tours; including:
the 1986 “Break Every Rule” album and world tour. Tina entered the record books when she performed in front of the largest paying audience ever to see a single performer -186,000 spectators at the Macarana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro;
the 1989 “Foreign Affair” album and tour, spawning hits such as “Steamy Windows” and “The Best”;
the 1995 “Wildest Dreams” album and extensive world tour, breaking box office records in 12 countries; and
in 2000 the phenomenally successful “Twenty Four Seven” millennium world tour, the highest grossing US tour of the year.
In 2004 Tina released her last album, a compilation of Greatest Hits with the newly recorded single “Open Arms”. It was a worldwide hit, debuting at #2 in the US charts.
In 2005 Tina was honoured as one of Oprah Winfrey’s legends, African-American women who broke barriers through their work, and ended the year as one of the recipients in Washington DC of the Kennedy Center Honors, the highest form of recognition of excellence in the arts in America.
In February this year, Tina performed with Beyonce at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. She electrified the audience and received a standing ovation for her performance and duet with Beyonce, and garnered highly positive reviews in the press. It was due to this overwhelming reaction, and requests from fans all over the world to perform live once again, that she has decided to do some select concerts in North America and Europe.
With sales of 170 million albums and a phenomenal number of hit records to her career;
River Deep, Mountain High, Proud Mary, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Better Be Good To Me, Typical Male, What You See is What You Get, Steamy Windows, We Don’t Need Another Hero, Goldeneye, The Best … Tina Turner is the most successful female rock artist of all time and the undisputed Queen of Rock N Roll.
Source: Tina Turner Live website
Cecilia Gärding is Swedish and South African and was born in Sweden. Her background is both in academia and the arts. She has a Bachelor of Arts in ethnology and a Master’s Degree in political science, where her main interest is integration and diversity issues. She is a film producer and director and a member of the band Khumalo.
Her essays have focused on youth and integration policy and education issues. She worked for the Ministry of Justice in 2006 for then Integration Minister Jens Orback as a political expert focusing on the labor market, education and youth.
She continues to developing cultural projects that strengthen vulnerable groups in society and also create international projects in countries with conflict zones to use culture as a means of conflict resolution. Cecilia created “Innovate4peace” as a forum for innovation in peace and reconciliation work where partners together with industry and other stakeholders are using innovation for a better society. Cecilia was name one “Women Inspiring Europe 2014 and is the ADYNE Ambassador for Sweden.
Alice Bah Kuhnke
Alice Bah Kuhnke is the Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy since October 2014, a former television presenter, Board Professional and one of the founders of the think tank Sektor3. On October 3 she was elected to Minister of culture in the Löfven Cabinet, just three days after becoming member of Miljöpartiet (the Green Party of Sweden).
BioBah grew up in Horda in Småland, Sweden with her father from Gambia and Swedish mother. She went to a track and field athletics oriented high school in Växjö, and was one of the country’s best female sprinter runners in the late 1980s, with 200 meters being her speciality. Her television career began in 1992 with SVT’s Disney Club. Between 1998-99, she had her own talk show at TV4 and many other television assignments including current events show Kalla fakta.
After she left television to study political science, and has, among other things, been Director of the Department Ideas for life at insurance giant Skandia. In 2004-2007 she worked as Secretary General of fair trade organization Rättvisemärkt.
She was a member of the Swedish Church synod 2006-2010, member of the Board of Dramaten Theatre, as well as Vice President of YMCA-YWCA Sweden.
In September 2009 she started as the Environmental and Corporate social responsibility manager at ÅF. Alongside her job at ÅF, she also serves as a board member for internet consultancy firm Doberman.
Gloria Mike is a model and human rights advocate living in Greece. She is the founder of “School Up”, a global initiative which aims to promote Global Education and give students the opportunity to have their say and advocate for educational programs leading to the development of a global consciousness and a more responsible global citizenship.
She is also the founder of “The Guardian Angels” (Les Anges Gardiens du Gabon) a citizen watch initiative which aimed to foster a culture of citizenship and empower civil society to be key actors promoting peace while monitoring elections. She fought for a free & fair transitional electoral process in Gabon in 2009 before the son of former President Omar Bongo Ondimba takes over through an electoral coup.
Gloria is an active member of ADYNE, a platform in the making, dedicated to the development of an official network that shall enable us to represent the interest of the African Diaspora Youth living in Europe and work on strategies to strengthen the development of a constructive dialogue between European and African societies.
Shanaze Danielle Reade is a professional British Bicycle Motocross (BMX) racer and track cyclist whose prime competitive years began in 2002. She has won the UCI BMX World Championships three times.
Reade began racing in 1998 at the age of 10, at Tipkinder Park in Crewe. A local track operator named Bob Field, whose son also raced at the time, became her mentor. She was influenced by BMX professional racer, Jamie Staff, who was also from Crewe and raced at Reade’s home track before Reade’s career and during its early stages. She bought her first BMX bike for £1. She was previously a Track & Field enthusiast but apparently got bored with 100 metre sprint running and the Shot Put after five years in those sports before discovering BMX.
She won her first professional race in the Girls Pro at the American Bicycle Association (ABA) Winternationals in Phoenix, Arizona on 1 April 2006. She also won the following day. In 2006 she became British National No.1 in 19 & Over Elite Men after racing the National series with men all year, despite being only 17 at the time. She won the World Championships in Brazil in August 2006 despite an earlier injury to her foot.
Her BMX victories at junior level include three World, eight European and five British BMX championships. Reade is also a champion track racer, riding on Velodromes. In July 2007 she became the Women’s Senior UCI BMX World Champion and at the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, she won the gold in the women’s team sprint with Victoria Pendleton. It was only her second track race ever. Not only was she the first ever to win a track championship in her rookie year, she completed the feat after only six weeks of training. She had originally taken up the sport to keep her fit for BMX competition.
Reade went on to take first place in Team Sprint at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Palma de Mallorca along with Victoria Pendleton. It was also the first ever Women’s Team Sprint Gold Medal title in that event. At the 2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, she again won the gold in the women’s team sprint with Pendleton. Reade was named one of the “Magnificent 7” by the Daily Mail in 2005, and on 20 November 2007 Reade was named The Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year.
Since debuting in 2010 the Black Women in Europe™: Power List – A List of Our Own© has been popular. 2013 was no exception. Have you read the power list? Nominations for 2014 can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org through 1 September 2014.
View the 2013 list today.
Bola Agbaje (born c. 1981) is an award-winning British playwright of Nigerian origin, who is under commission with Paines Plough and Tiata Fahodzi.
Agbaje was born in London. She briefly lived in Nigeria from the age of six to eight but now lives in Greenwich. She has a degree in media communications and was formerly an actress.
Her first play, Gone Too Far!, premièred at the Royal Court Theatre in London in February 2007 and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliated theatre (2008). Due to the play’s success it was revived at a number of theatres in 2008: the Royal Court Theatre, Albany Theatre and Hackney Empire. She is currently adapting Gone too Far into a film script and has received development funding from the UK Film Council.
In July 2008 her second play opened the Tiata Delights season at the Almeida Theatre. She was nominated for the 2008 Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award For Most Promising Playwright. This, however, went to Tarell Alvin McCraney. In 2009 Agbaje was commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre alongside Roy Williams and Kwame Kwei-Armah to be a part of the “Not Black and White” season. Her play, Detaining Justice, opened on 25 November 2009 and the show sold out.
Agbaje’s second play for the Royal Court Theatre, Off the Endz, opened on 19 February 2010, directed by Jeremy Herrin.
On 12 December 2011, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia was elected by consensus Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by the Assembly of States Parties. Mrs. Bensouda was sworn in on 15 June 2012.
Mrs. Bensouda had previously held the position of ICC Deputy Prosecutor (Prosecutions), having been elected with an overwhelming majority by the Assembly of States Parties on 8 August 2004 and serving as such until May 2012.
Prior to her work at the International Criminal Court, Mrs. Bensouda worked as Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, rising to the position of Senior Legal Advisor and Head of The Legal Advisory Unit.
Before joining the ICTR, she was General Manager of a leading commercial bank in The Gambia. Between 1987 and 2000, she was successively Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of the Republic, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity she served as Chief Legal Advisor to the President and Cabinet of The Republic of The Gambia.
Mrs. Bensouda also took part in negotiations on the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Parliament and the ECOWAS Tribunal. She has served as delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity’s Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.
Mrs. Bensouda holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea and as such is the first international maritime law expert of The Gambia.
Natalie Louise Brown
Natalie Louise Brown is a woman on a mission – to motivate, inspire and uplift other women.
Natalie is the creator of the Inspired Dreams (ID – What’s Your ID?) brand which incorporates ID Media, ID Publishing, ID Education, ID Property and ID Fashion. She is currently working on the production of her new Oprah-style TV chat show ‘Time With Natalie’ aimed at educating and inspiring women to succeed in life. She is also stepping into the fashion world by creating her own unique and inspirational T-shirt range.
Natalie was raised by a single mother with four children and very little money. She moved to London aged 18 and worked in finance for 10 years. Being a creative woman with an interest in media/music/fashion she always knew her destiny and path in life would be found in these areas.
It was about seven years ago that her life started to take shape and she moved into her destiny. Using her entrepreneurial skills, she began a career in property and ended up starting her own business (ID Property), which owns a number of houses in the UK and abroad.
Her passion for media began when she started working on a number of well-known British TV shows, ie. Dr Who, Casualty, Doctors, Lewis. This experience landed her the role of presenter for UKCMC (UK Christian Music Charts) – a TV music show aimed at inspiring people through positive music. The third series is currently aired on Sky.
Natalie feels a strong desire to encourage women to find their purpose in life and make a difference in their community. Her new chat show, ‘Time With Natalie’, will focus on topical issues and encourage women to start a business and do more to help others. The show is aimed at women predominantly aged between 25-45 years old and the goal is to have it aired on prime time TV for maximum impact.
Natalie is also associated with Par Excellence magazine, which is aimed at women striving to make something of their lives.
Her dream is to see women achieve their goals and be a positive role model.
Life is not about how you started, it’s how you finish that matters!
Baroness Cécile de Massy
Baroness Cécile de Massy, born in the Caribbean country of Guadeloupe, is the wife of Christian Louis, Baron de Massy, the nephew of the late Prince Rainier of Monaco.
She is the founder and President of Ladies Lunch Monaco which raises money for children’s charities in Monaco.
Doreen D. Lawrence
Doreen D. Lawrence, née Graham OBE is a British campaigner and writer who first came to public attention in 1993 as the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a black British teenager who was murdered in a racial attack in South East London.
Following the murder of her son Doreen Lawrence believed that the Metropolitan Police investigation was not being conducted in a professional manner, citing incompetence and racism as prime flaws. She has been praised for her courage during her campaign against racism. Her campaign resulted in the conviction of her son’s murderers this year. She is the winner of a special award at the 2012 Women of the Year ceremony and the 2012 Campaigner of the Year European Diversity Award.
In 2003, she was awarded an OBE for services to community relations and this summer was chosen as a flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.
Pauline Long is a Kenyan born entrepreneur, philanthropist, fashion designer and presenter. She is the founder of Europe’s biggest award ceremony for black and ethnic personalities in entertainment, film, fashion, television and arts (BEFFTA).
The award ceremony celebrates and promotes the achievements of a very talented and hard-working community often over looked. As a mother and wife she developed a huge passion for giving back which led her to founding Mr. and Miss East Africa UK, these pageants encourage entrepreneurship amongst East Africans in UK but most importantly they work closely with East African children’s charities.
Through the pageants she started the shout campaign, a campaign aimed at eventually taking children off the streets. At the moment the campaign feeds street children monthly. Pauline also runs their family business East End Studios, which is one of London’s biggest independently owned film and TV studio based in East London and next door to Olympics village.
Loreen’s performance in the Swedish selection to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 was in several aspects dreamlike. Her vocals and stage performance had a celestial quality that made commentators use words like ”otherworldly” after her experiencing contribution ”Euphoria”.
It came as no big surprise when she won the competition and made so with some distance. Loreen first took the votes from the specially invited international expert jury. Before winning the votes from the television viewers with record figures. More than 670 000 of the four million viewers – close to half the population – called in to vote for Loreen, twice the support of last years winner.
Afterwards Loreen was simply overwhelmed. ”A fantastic feeling, I almost started sobbing” she admitted to the television cameras.
“Two months of preparation can do miracles!” Loreen will bring “Euphoria” to Baku, Azerbaijan, where the 2012 Swedish entry will participate in the second of two semi finals for the ESC on May 24.
This attitude tells a lot about Loreen. Raised on the countryside outside Stockholm, in a family of Moroccan-Berber origin, she has a very detailed attitude to her music. She’s for example frustrated of the fact that she’s often tagged as an R&B artist.
”The music I get inspiration from is music that gets you into kind of a trance. Both musically and vocal vice. Artists like Björk, some of Enya’s music, and especially Lisa Gerrard.”
It’s fitting that Loreen learned to play the piano by imitating the very minimalistic Michael Nyman score to the 90’s film ”The Piano”. Loreen continues: ”I want to make music that really connects to my soul. I think that’s when my music affects the most.”
She describes herself: ”Somewhat a loner, a seeker that steers away from the information overload of today. I have no tv set. I have a laptop but I only use it for e-mails and music programs.”
Her general aim? ”To unite people in the thought that there is much more to life than the materialistic aspects. I know that it may sound hippieish and overblown. But is that really a reason to give up on this ambition? I’m certain the answer to that is no!”
Loreen’s third single release “Euphoria” has already spent some two weeks topping the Swedish single and airplay charts with sales quickly surpassing Platinum status. Neighbouring Norway and Finland were quick to discover this uplifting future anthem and are currently also reporting no 1 positions. The highly anticipated debut album is scheduled for a September release. “Euphoria” is written by Peter Boström and Thomas G:son and produced by Peter Boström and SeventyEight. EUPHORIA won “Song of the year” at the yearly Swedish awards SMFF.
Mariam Osman Sherifay
Sherifay was a member of the Swedish parliament between 2002–2003, as a replacement for the Council of State, Björn von Sydow. She was a member of and Housing kommitee (Bostadsutskottet) and eupties for Committee on Foreign Affairs and the European Union Committee among several other appointments.
In 2009 she was awarded the Swedish Martin Luther King prize, an award founded by Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Swedish Baptist church for her fight against racism and her written call I refuse to be a victim.
“I was raised my mother a Czech and a father who is also a Czech, my biological father is from Cuba, and I know him. It’s a little secret chamber of our family, “says Zuzana . “He worked in northern Bohemia, in Litvinov, were he studied chemical engineering. He lived in a fairly large Cuban community, “she adds, but the whole thing is still a very sensitive issue for her parents.
But children can be cruel. “I was lucky that I had many friends who largely protected me from unpleasant attacks. My fellow students who were Roma were definitely worse of than me, “says Susan Tvarůžková. But she has lost two of her childhood best friends because of the way she looks. In an argument one called her father a nigger and the other one said she was adopted.
About her musical roots she says. “I sang, I had a different voice than all the other children in the choir, I’m addicted to music. My boyfriend makes fun of me, he has never seen anyone like me who does not need the slightest excuse to dance. Dancing in the supermarket and metro, “says Susan, adding with a laugh:” Girls always said at the disco: it’s senseless to dance next to her? ”
Dr. Yvonne Thompson
A dynamic, entrepreneurial business leader with a proven record for building high performing teams. Since starting her own PR company 27 years ago Ms Thompson has acquired and exceptional range of transferable skills that can compliment high performing companies and organisations.
Originally from Guyana, South America, Ms Thompson has always shown an entrepreneurial flair. Not taking the usual channel to the small business arena, she evolved from freelance writing for many music industry papers including Music Week the industry bible, and IPC weekly and monthly titles. She also has been involved in many successful firsts in the UK including, being Music Editor for the UK’s first Black Monthly glossy magazine – Root, and also being a founder and director of the UK’s first Black Music radio station Choice FM. Other firsts include, starting the first Black Owned PR company (according to PR Week),running the first in depth research of the lifestyle of the Black community across the UK – The Black Consumer Survey and starting the UK’s first Black Women Business Network – The European Federation of Black Women Business Owners.
Often called upon for media interviews, on issues concerning small business, women and minorities; Ms Thompson is no stranger to engaging with Prime Ministers, Ministers, and high profile personalities in the business arena. Having made her mark in the UK she was awarded a CBE(Commander Of The British Empire) in the Queens Birthday Honour List in 2003 for her services to women, small business and minorities. In 2005 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by London Metropolitan University for services to small business, and mass communications. Ms Thompson has been hailed as a role model in the Black community and for women in general wanting to start their own business.
Mirel Wagner is a 23 year old singer/songwriter, born in Ethiopia and raised
in Espoo, Finland. Since age 16 she’s writing gloomy Blues and Folk songs,
stripped down to the bone. It’s just about her airy but rough voice and a
minimalistic guitar picking. Avoiding theatrical gestures effortlessly her
music has a unique intensity and emotional weight.