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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.


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


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

4. Heather Davis, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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.


5. Olivia Pope, Scandal


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


7. Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder


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


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

10. Freddie Brooks, A Different World

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


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

13. Van Keefer, Atlanta


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


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.


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


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

20. Anissa Pierce, Black Lightning

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


23. The Pussycats, Riverdale

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!


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


31. Gina Waters, Martin

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


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


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

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