Editor’s Note: I Am So Honored To Be Included On Essence’s ‘100 Woke Women’ List!

I’ve been finding it hard to express how I feel about being selected as one of Essence’s 100 Woke Women.’ For the magazine’s special anniversary issue, Essence created this list of women who are “blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black  people in America.”  I was recognized for my work on BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com.

First of all, it’s an honor to be recognized by Essence for ANYTHING AT ALL.  Secondly, it feels so amazing to be on a list that includes women like Michelle Obama, Angela Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis (who inspired the BCB movement), and all of the women who graced this cover.  

Running a website isn’t for the faint of heart–especially when you have several other responsibilities. There are days when I am excited and so proud of the BCB movement, but then there are times when I feel utterly discouraged.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough to uplift black women in this space.  I’ve also struggled with fear of the the outcome of the projects we present.  But what remains constant is the voice in my head that says “push forward.” It also helps that the people who’ve contributed to the website and movement are pure MAGIC as well!

Covering black women in this way has truly been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my career.  The sheer greatness of black women is a story that writes itself.  With this in mind, I continue to “push forward” with full awareness that I will never fall short of inspiration for how to continue to highlight and uplift black women.

So to the Essence staff, THANK YOU!  You are the reason so many black girls dare to dream.  Thank you for the reminder that this work is necessary, worthwhile, and praise worthy because black women are.  Thank you for seeing me and for seeing us.  Thank you for continuing to be a source of inspiration and encouragement. 

I am truly honored.

Abi Ishola
Abi Ishola


Abi Ishola is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Beyond Classically Beautiful, the acclaimed photo series turned multimedia platform. On any given day, you can find her tucked away in a perfectly lit Brooklyn coffee shop working for several hours. Then she dashes off to pick up her daughter from daycare. Abi is also a TV Producer, a proud FIT Alum, Nigerian-American, and a soul searcher.

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