In 2010 the Black Women in Europe™ Blog released its first Power List naming 58 women across Europe in 6 categories. For the past three years the list was called down to highlight 5 women. This year the awardees are in the following categories: Arts, Culture, Entrepreneurship and Politics.
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 Power List does not aim to assess rank but rather to showcase influential women who, in some cases well known and in others, are women who should be known.
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.
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!
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.
Monique Wells, France: Culture, U.S. Ambassador for the Académie de l’Art Culinaire du Monde Créole, Founder of Entrée to Black Paris™ tours
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.
Let’s use our collective power to make a difference. Join the Black Women in Europe™ Kiva team.
Since 2013 the Black Women in Europe™ Kiva team has grown to 8 members and has provided $250 in loans. Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Our collective efforts will make a difference to an individual, a group, and a community.
Let’s support women. You don’t have to wait to start giving as part of our team. Choose a project and click on the amount you would like to donate. Remember as little as $25 is all that is needed. You’ll be taken to your basket where you can select what lending team your loans should count towards. Beneath the “Count Towards Team” column, you’ll see a drop down box with Black Women in Europe™’s lending team listed. Click that box and select the Black Women in Europe™’s lending team and the loan to will count towards our team.