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41 Of The Most Badass Black Women Who Have Graced Your TV Screens Over The Years

And, there's more where that came from.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us some of their favorite black female TV characters, and reasons why they love them. Here are some of the best results:

1. Beth Pearson, This Is Us

She is one of those women who strives really hard to balance it all: having a career; being an amazing, fierce, and supportive mom; and being a wonderful wife. I love her sass and humor, and I especially love her vulnerability. I can never stop thinking about that time she broke down after William's death, claiming her own grief and need for comfort. Beth Pearson is the kind of person I really look up to.—anoukvanderz
NBC

She is one of those women who strives really hard to balance it all: having a career; being an amazing, fierce, and supportive mom; and being a wonderful wife. I love her sass and humor, and I especially love her vulnerability. I can never stop thinking about that time she broke down after William's death, claiming her own grief and need for comfort. Beth Pearson is the kind of person I really look up to.

anoukvanderz

2. Miranda Bailey, Grey's Anatomy

Miranda Bailey is an all-powerful goddess of medicine that knows no bounds! Her character also brought attention to the lack of awareness for mental health in the black community. After her diagnosis, she did not back down. She continued to kick butt while managing her OCD. —hannahvictoriag
ABC

Miranda Bailey is an all-powerful goddess of medicine that knows no bounds! Her character also brought attention to the lack of awareness for mental health in the black community. After her diagnosis, she did not back down. She continued to kick butt while managing her OCD. —hannahvictoriag

3. Jessica Pearson, Suits

She's honestly the best TV role model for any black woman going into the corporate world. She manages her private life quietly, commands respect from her employees, and lets everyone know she'll always be the HBIC. Plus, her outfits and confidence are always 10/10! —job16
USA

She's honestly the best TV role model for any black woman going into the corporate world. She manages her private life quietly, commands respect from her employees, and lets everyone know she'll always be the HBIC. Plus, her outfits and confidence are always 10/10! —job16

4. Heather Davis, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

She doesn’t care what people think about her, and she just does what she thinks is best for her. She went from not having a clue about what to do with her life to getting an awesome promotion at work (which she demanded in a respectful and powerful way), becoming a surrogate for a friend who desperately wanted a baby, and becoming more serious with her boyfriend. I really admire her. —emilyd41b36b9de
The CW

She doesn’t care what people think about her, and she just does what she thinks is best for her. She went from not having a clue about what to do with her life to getting an awesome promotion at work (which she demanded in a respectful and powerful way), becoming a surrogate for a friend who desperately wanted a baby, and becoming more serious with her boyfriend. I really admire her.

emilyd41b36b9de

5. Olivia Pope, Scandal

ABC

She is a fearless, brave, and absolutely badass black woman. She never takes no for an answer and will do anything for the people she loves, even though it can get her into trouble. Women like her in television make me proud of my black heritage. —elenabrightstar

6. Cookie Lyon, Empire

Fox

Her life and family is messed up, but she handles it so well. Cookie came from nothing, but fought to make something of her life. Plus, Taraji plays her so well.

s4bb472acb

7. Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder

ABC

Viola Davis is beyond incredible, and I love a female character that is neither the untouchable pure light of good, nor the epitome of evil. Annalise is complex — she has huge flaws, but also an incredible amount of strength. She has given me so much strength when dealing with dismissive and demeaning men in the work place. If following my gut and advocating for myself means that I'm considered a bitch, I’ll take being a bitch alllll day, every day. —hannamcg

8. Issa Dee, Insecure

HBO

I love Issa! Every black woman portrayed on TV doesn't have to be strong, sassy, and confident. I love that she's awkward, emotionally immature at times, and a little ratchet. It's refreshingly relatable to watch her make mistakes and grow as a woman. It's like watching my 20s. —Resa Leigh, Facebook

9. Raven Baxter, That's So Raven

Disney

She brought issues like eating disorders front and center, and she embraced body positivity, which was hard to find back in the day. —bethanyp4c7450957

10. Freddie Brooks, A Different World

What I liked about Freddie is that she was always true to herself and didn't have any problem whatsoever with being quirky and unique. She didn't bow to social pressures to change who she was. She always stood up for herself and what she believed to be right. —Matty Cormier, Facebook
Carsey-werner Co / ©Carsey-Werner Co/Courtesy Everett Collection

What I liked about Freddie is that she was always true to herself and didn't have any problem whatsoever with being quirky and unique. She didn't bow to social pressures to change who she was. She always stood up for herself and what she believed to be right. —Matty Cormier, Facebook

11. Rainbow Johnson, Black-ish

ABC

There isn't much representation on TV for biracial girls and she does a great job of showing what it's actually like to be us. (The episode "Being Bow-racial" is AMAZING.) —courtneyp4f7fa31ce

12. Mary Jane Paul, Being Mary Jane

She's a powerful black woman whose career is front and center and in the public eye, unlike a lot of other strong women on TV who work mostly behind-the-scenes. She's classy, sophisticated, and is unashamed of making her career the priority in her life. —shylawatson
BET

She's a powerful black woman whose career is front and center and in the public eye, unlike a lot of other strong women on TV who work mostly behind-the-scenes. She's classy, sophisticated, and is unashamed of making her career the priority in her life. —shylawatson

13. Van Keefer, Atlanta

FX

I hope they develop her character more in Season 2, but every appearance she had in Season 1 just showed what a strong, independent, single-ish mom she is…plus, Zazie Beetz is a QUEEN. —gambinobabydoll

14. Maeve Millay, Westworld

She does whatever she wants — breaking every rule in the park — and is just an all-around badass. Even if at the end it's revealed that her choices weren't actually hers, and just part of her programming, that doesn't take away from how cool she is throughout the season. Also, in her final scene she makes her first real choice: choosing to save her daughter even if she knows that their relationship isn't real, proving that emotions are stronger than reason. —hannahcanela
HBO

She does whatever she wants — breaking every rule in the park — and is just an all-around badass. Even if at the end it's revealed that her choices weren't actually hers, and just part of her programming, that doesn't take away from how cool she is throughout the season. Also, in her final scene she makes her first real choice: choosing to save her daughter even if she knows that their relationship isn't real, proving that emotions are stronger than reason. —hannahcanela

15. The cast of Living Single

The whole cast was great, but Synclaire especially. When I was a kid, some boy called me Synclaire as an insult, but now I have no problem with it. She was kind of spacey, but she was the heart of the group.—iwantmypinkshirtback
Fox

The whole cast was great, but Synclaire especially. When I was a kid, some boy called me Synclaire as an insult, but now I have no problem with it. She was kind of spacey, but she was the heart of the group.

iwantmypinkshirtback

16. Bonnie Bennett, The Vampire Diaries

The CW

She basically saved everyone’s asses hundreds of time, AND took on literal hellfire. Need I say more? —isabels47690e7dd

17. Donna Meagle, Parks and Recreation

NBC

She knows what she wants and she goes for it. She never puts anybody’s happiness over her own. She is confident and iconic! —erikatheelvenqueen

18. Dr. Martha Jones, Doctor Who

She was strong, smart, and independent. Also, when she realized that the Doctor wasn't going to return her feelings, she left him and did what was best for her own happiness. —damnitno
BBC

She was strong, smart, and independent. Also, when she realized that the Doctor wasn't going to return her feelings, she left him and did what was best for her own happiness. —damnitno

19. Jodie Landon, Daria

As minorities, she and her boyfriend were constantly aware of the image they had to portray. And the amount of stress she was under to prove herself over and over again was obvious. Jodie gave me my first understanding of how easy I had it growing up white. —andip4
MTV

As minorities, she and her boyfriend were constantly aware of the image they had to portray. And the amount of stress she was under to prove herself over and over again was obvious. Jodie gave me my first understanding of how easy I had it growing up white. —andip4

20. Anissa Pierce, Black Lightning

She’s the first black lesbian superhero on TV. Even though she is literally powerful because she has superpowers, she’s also emotionally powerful. Her city is completely controlled by gangs and crime lords, and she’s always participating and organizing protests and rallies. And once she discovers her powers, she uses them to fight for what’s right. As a queer woman myself, Anissa inspires me a lot. —spacegirlryn
The CW

She’s the first black lesbian superhero on TV. Even though she is literally powerful because she has superpowers, she’s also emotionally powerful. Her city is completely controlled by gangs and crime lords, and she’s always participating and organizing protests and rallies. And once she discovers her powers, she uses them to fight for what’s right. As a queer woman myself, Anissa inspires me a lot. —spacegirlryn

21. Poussey Washington, Orange is the New Black

She’s hella dynamic — she’s a big soft nerd, but also a total badass. She wasn’t ashamed of who she was, she was open-minded, she was intensely loyal to her friends...even when they weren’t there for her, and she didn’t let anyone or anything stop her shine. She deserved better. —jalissaj
Netflix

She’s hella dynamic — she’s a big soft nerd, but also a total badass. She wasn’t ashamed of who she was, she was open-minded, she was intensely loyal to her friends...even when they weren’t there for her, and she didn’t let anyone or anything stop her shine. She deserved better. —jalissaj

22. Aunt Viv, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

The original Aunt Viv was beautiful, strong, smart AF, and the first really DARK-skinned woman I looked up to. —thelms
NBC

The original Aunt Viv was beautiful, strong, smart AF, and the first really DARK-skinned woman I looked up to. —thelms

23. The Pussycats, Riverdale

When Valerie briefly left the group, Josie was adamant that they replaced her with a woman of color, so it's obvious that they're trying to convey a message with their image. Josie is a firecracker who never lets her troubles at home shatter her confidence, and Valerie dumped Archie the minute he stopped appreciating her. These ladies are fantastic and very underrated!—shylawatson
The CW

When Valerie briefly left the group, Josie was adamant that they replaced her with a woman of color, so it's obvious that they're trying to convey a message with their image. Josie is a firecracker who never lets her troubles at home shatter her confidence, and Valerie dumped Archie the minute he stopped appreciating her. These ladies are fantastic and very underrated!

shylawatson

24. Michonne, The Walking Dead

AMC

She is the definition of badass. She doesn't have to worry about guys taking care of her and helping her. She can take care of own damn self. —fobfan2011

25. Clair Huxtable, The Cosby Show

A strong, educated, sophisticated, loving, intelligent, beautiful, and inspiring black woman, and a great mother. Seeing someone like this during the '80s was groundbreaking. —jenniferw49056ecf7
NBC

A strong, educated, sophisticated, loving, intelligent, beautiful, and inspiring black woman, and a great mother. Seeing someone like this during the '80s was groundbreaking. —jenniferw49056ecf7

26. Zoey Johnson, Black-ish and Grown-ish

Not only is she ridiculously fashionable, but her spin-off has given her more room to grow outside of her cool oldest-sibling persona on Black-ish.—faithisadancerfao
Freeform

Not only is she ridiculously fashionable, but her spin-off has given her more room to grow outside of her cool oldest-sibling persona on Black-ish.

faithisadancerfao

27. Iris West, The Flash

She’s just great. She plays a strong black female character, she’s a main character on the show, she’s a badass, and she’s an overall role model. —woolyw2
The CW

She’s just great. She plays a strong black female character, she’s a main character on the show, she’s a badass, and she’s an overall role model. —woolyw2

28. The cast of Girlfriends

This was my Sex and the City growing up. —jamiec46cf21396
The CW

This was my Sex and the City growing up. —jamiec46cf21396

29. Lisa Landry, Sister, Sister

ABC

She was just the realest. —aliciab4844d195d

30. Claire Temple, Luke Cage

All those heroes would be completely screwed and/or dead ten times over without her. She’s the most non-super superhero ever, and I love her for it.—julied43c2eec1c
Netflix

All those heroes would be completely screwed and/or dead ten times over without her. She’s the most non-super superhero ever, and I love her for it.

julied43c2eec1c

31. Gina Waters, Martin

She was my idol growing up! She was fabulous, smart, strong, professional, and didn't take any of Martin's crap. She also loved him ferociously and was down to be silly when she wanted to. —dariav45d8bfc94
Warner Bros / ©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Co

She was my idol growing up! She was fabulous, smart, strong, professional, and didn't take any of Martin's crap. She also loved him ferociously and was down to be silly when she wanted to. —dariav45d8bfc94

32. Dena Jackson, Red Band Society

Fox

She was a badass nurse, loyal to her patients, and even got suspended for going out of her way to protect patients who couldn't speak/defend themselves. She was just an all around queen. Bonus points that she was played by Octavia Spencer. —jazzykareana

33. Athena Grant, 9-1-1

She's a hell of a mom and an equally amazing cop. —fillionfan4002
Fox

She's a hell of a mom and an equally amazing cop. —fillionfan4002

34. Bonnie Carslon, Big Little Lies

She is so stylishly calm in different situations, and also a badass because…you know. —mirayakincic
HBO

She is so stylishly calm in different situations, and also a badass because…you know. —mirayakincic

35. Tasha Mack, The Game

She was brilliant, complex, sincere, and a mother who fought for her son. She is an under-appreciated modern-day do-it-all mom! —mariv43f46ae5a
BET

She was brilliant, complex, sincere, and a mother who fought for her son. She is an under-appreciated modern-day do-it-all mom! —mariv43f46ae5a

36. Claudette Wyms, The Shield

She was strong, complex, smarter than all of the men, and had insane amounts of wisdom and guts. —jenm47faa724d
FX

She was strong, complex, smarter than all of the men, and had insane amounts of wisdom and guts. —jenm47faa724d

37. Missy, Big Mouth

She's smart, eccentric, and not afraid to be herself. —leggerz
Netflix

She's smart, eccentric, and not afraid to be herself. —leggerz

38. Taystee Jefferson, Orange is the New Black

Netflix

Strong, smart, kind, and a leader. —exlibris00

39. Unique Adams, Glee

A transgender diva who can singgggggg! —oreolover848
Fox

A transgender diva who can singgggggg! —oreolover848

40. Tracey Gordon, Chewing Gum

I love her! Michaela Coel is simply brilliant. — Muriel Lovo, Facebook
Netflix

I love her! Michaela Coel is simply brilliant. — Muriel Lovo, Facebook

41. Zoë Washburne, Firefly

She has always been one of my favorite characters ever. The amount of strength and patience she exhibits is amazing, as is the love she shows. —leighw405864945
Fox

She has always been one of my favorite characters ever. The amount of strength and patience she exhibits is amazing, as is the love she shows. —leighw405864945

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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