Nobody gives you the motivation you need like a Black woman. That’s a fact.

Whether it’s tough love inspired or humor filled, Black women somehow know exactly what’s needed in the moment, when anybody needs a pick me up. In that spirit, we have collected 100 greatest Black women quotes on, life, success, love, and everything in between.

We will start with Dr. Maya Angelou, as she is quoted often here. 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”– Toni Morrison

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance. ” – Bell Hooks

‎”Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Instead of looking at the past, I put myself ahead twenty years and try to look at what I need to do now in order to get there then.” — Diana Ross

“It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you.” — Iyanla Vanzant

‎”In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change — breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.” — Susan L. Taylor

“I think there are things for all of us to do as long as we’re here and we’re healthy.” – Gwendolyn Brooks

“You can fall, but you can rise also.” – Angelique Kidjo

“I don’t have to go around trying to save everybody anymore; that’s not my job. ” — Jada Pinkett Smith 

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“You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying, “Excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” It’s just an experience, just an experience.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.” – Sadie Delany

“Greatness is not measured by what a man or woman accomplishes, but by the opposition he or she has overcome to reach his goals.” – Dorothy Height

“Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine in yourself, so that you can hear it in others.”– Marian Wright Edelman

“You are on the eve of a complete victory. You can’t go wrong. The world is behind you.” – Josephine Bake

“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” —Phylicia Rashad

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”– Alice Walker 

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your Breath away.” — Maya Angelou

“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any Happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself”–Alice Walker 

“I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace- a connection to what matters.”– Oprah Winfrey 

“Once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.”– Audre Lorde

“A crown, if it hurts us, is not worth wearing.” — Pearl Bailey 

“I am a strong woman with or without this other person, with or without this job, and with or without these tight pants.”Queen Latifah

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“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”– Rosa Parks

black women quotes, quotes by black women, quotes by famous black women“I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.” —Viola Davis

“Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.” Iyanla Vanzant

“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.”– June Jordan

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” — Zora Neale Hurston 

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” –  Zora Neale Hurston

“Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way. ” – Nikki Giovanni

“I got my start by giving myself a start.” — Madame CJ Walker

“There’s so much creativity in brokeness. Brokeness will have you making it work.” — Issa Rae

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.” —Ruby Dee

“Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.” – Marva Collins

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“Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.” — Ava DuVernay

“Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free . . . your true self comes out.” — Tina Turner

“Take responsibility for yourself because no one’s going to take responsibility for you. I’m not a victim. I grow from this and I learn.” – Tyra Banks

“Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible. “– Carol Moseley Braun

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to cloth, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” – Nikki Giovanni

“The times may have changed, but the people are still the same. We’re still looking for love, and that will always be our struggle as human beings.” – Halle Berry

“I’m convinced that we Black women possess a special indestructible strength that allows us to not only get down, but to get up, to get through, and to get over.” — Janet Jackson

black women quotes, quotes by black women, quotes by famous black women“You have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, and to show people how to embrace their complications, and see the flaws, and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us.” — Beyoncé

“Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you…yet, someone survived…You can do anything you choose to do.” – Maya Angelou

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” —Shirley Chisholm

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” —Audre Lorde

“It’s not about supplication, it’s about power. It’s not about asking, it’s about demanding. It’s not about convincing those who are currently in power, it’s about changing the very face of power itself. – Kimberle Williams Crenshaw

“Give light and people will find the way.” Ella Baker

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams.  Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” — Shonda Rhimes

“You can’t focus on the bad thing, you have to focus on getting through it.” — Ciara

“It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” — Jackie Joyner-Kersee

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”– Harriet Beecher Stowe 

“Hard days are the best because that’s when champions are made.” – Gabby Douglas

“I used to want the words ‘she tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want the words ‘she did it”– Katherine Dunham

If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.”– Michelle Obama

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Growing up, every time I’d come home from school with a story to share, my mother was there with a snack and a listening ear to hear about what was on my mind. When I came home with a tale about my disastrous second-grade classroom, she marched into the school to figure out what was going on. And as I grew older, including up through my years as First Lady, she was always there for me as a guiding light through whatever fog was clouding my path. She’s always listened more than she lectured; observed more than she demonstrated. In doing so, she allowed me to think for myself and develop my own voice. From an early age, she saw that I had a flame inside me, and she never tempered it. She made sure that I could keep it lit. Mom, thank you for kindling that fire within me, and for your example as a mother and a grandmother to our girls. We would never be who we are today without you. #HappyMothersDay, Mom. Love you. ❤️

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“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” – Marian Wright Edelman

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

“We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.” – Ethel Waters

“You never know which experiences of life are going to be of value . . . You’ve got to leave yourself open to the hidden opportunities.” — Robin Roberts

“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.” —Octavia E. Butler

“Keep working hard and you can get anything that you want. If God gave you the talent, you should go for it. But don’t think it’s going to be easy. It’s hard!” – Aaliyah

“I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich, and rich is better.” – Bessie Smith

“All great achievements require time.” —Maya Angelou

“It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts.” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” – Susan L. Taylor

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” — Alice Walker

“You are the designer of your destiny; you are the author of your story.” — Lisa Nichols

“Success doesn’t come to you…you go to it.” – Marva Collins

“There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.” –Lorraine Hansberry

“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”– Oprah Winfrey 

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”–Harriet Tubman

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” — Maya Angelou

“I need to see my own beauty and to continue to be reminded that I am enough, that I am worthy of love without effort, that I am beautiful, that the texture of my hair and that the shape of my curves, the size of my lips, the color of my skin, and the feelings that I have are all worthy and okay.”–Tracee Ellis Ross

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“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served.” – Nina Simone

“Discomfort is always a necessary part of enlightenment.”– Pearl Cleage

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”– Maya Angelou

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” —Toni Morrison

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.”–Janelle Monáe

“Love is an endless act of forgiveness. Forgiveness is me giving up the right to hurt you for hurting me.“– Beyonce

“If you are fortunate to have opportunity, it is your duty to make sure other people have those opportunities as well.” — Kamala Harris

“Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” — Mary McLeod Bethune

black women quotes, quotes by black women, quotes by famous black women“One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see.” — Gabourey Sidibe

“If your neighbor looks at you like they don’t enjoy the key you’re singing in, look right back, bless them, and keep on singing.” — Odetta

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” — Dr. Mae Jemison

“You are your best thing.” — Toni Morrison 

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.” —Michelle Obama

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” —Lorraine Hansberry

“You never find yourself until you face the truth.” —Pearl Bailey

“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” —Coretta Scott King

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” –Angela Davis

“Don’t agonize, organize.” — Florynce Kennedy

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.” — Solange 

“Don’t settle for average. Bring your best to the moment. Then, whether it fails or succeeds, at least you know you gave all you had. We need to live the best that’s in us” — Angela Bassett 

“I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something I just had to be.” — Lupita Nyong’o

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Camp, darlings. #MetGala ?: @gregswalesart

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“What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.” — Condoleezza Rice

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again” — Sojourner Truth

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”  Angela Davis

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” Oprah Winfrey

“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.” — Shirley Chisholm

There you go, now you can apply these quotes in your everyday life, speak them if possible, and live with the power these words wield.

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Author

Roman Debotch is a filmmaker, photographer, and co-founder of blackexcellence.com. Through the platform that is Black Excellence, she has been able to marry her passion for story telling with her passion for issues affecting the black community. Roman earned her B.A. in Film and TV Studies and ventured into the world of video production after college. She produced music, corporate, and event videos for years before co-founding BlackExcellence.com. Since then, she has been working as a contributor to the platform as well as continuing her video production business. The very limited time Roman is away from either writing or shooting a video, she can be found hiking or enjoying one of Southern California's beautiful beaches.

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