The launch party for Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World by Crystal McCrary and with photographs by Lauri Lyons was on Monday night at the ICP in NYC. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of this project from almost the beginning, so it was with great joy that I attended the celebration. It was a complicated process to get this book to print – wrangling essays and photos shoots for 30 very busy women was quite the challenge, but to see the finished work finally on book shelves makes it all worth it. At the beginning of this project I was familiar with many of the women on the list and enjoyed reading more about their childhoods and their paths to success—but it was reading and learning the stories of some of the lesser known women that was truly fascinating to me.
Throughout the essays a few themes came up time and time again that are important for us all to remember; these women put in an immense amount of hard work into developing their skills and they didn’t just believe in themselves— they believed in sharing their talents with the world. Over and over I read about their singular focus on getting to the point of where they are now. They also all spoke about the importance of other strong women in their lives— whether it was their mothers or own children or friends— and the strength they drew from their support was crucial to their success.
Inspiration profiles the following amazing women: Michelle Obama, Laila Ali, Ambassador Nicole Avant, Dr. Patricia Bath, Mary J. Blige, Majora Carter, Debra Martin Chase, Misty Copeland, Ruby Dee, Marian Wright Edelman, Whoopi Goldberg, Thelma Golden, Bethann Hardison, Mellody Hobson, Iman, Janice Bryant Howroyd, Judith Jamison, Gayle King, Patti LaBelle, Debra Lee, Soledad O’Brien, Keke Palmer, Tracy Reese, Shonda Rhimes, Shaun Robinson, Betye Saar, Nina Shaw, Raven-Symoné, Susan L. Taylor, and Venus Williams.
Above are a few photos from Monday’s event (photos courtesy of Claire Bamundo).
Inspiration: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World by Crystal McCrary and Nathan Hale Williams, photographs by Lauri Lyons (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2012) is available wherever books are sold.
Wesley Royce is assistant editor for ABRAMS.