The reign of black girl excellence that has defined 2016 for us is something worth paying homage to this Halloween.
Whether you identify with Slayoncé or Issa Rae, we’ve compiled the iconic looks of celebrities that have had us beaming with black lady pride.
Disclaimer: Recreating the looks of the phenomenal women on this list does not justify wearing blackface. Carry on.
1. Michelle Obama
Who wouldn’t want to be the most powerful black woman in America? Known for baring her enviably well-toned arms, Michelle Obama always achieves the perfect blend of classy and contemporary style.
Her ridiculously stunning gown from the final state dinner on Oct. 18 had all the internet abuzz. In order to imitate FLOTUS’ state dinner swag, you’ll need a sleeveless copper evening gown, your best wash and press with a side bang and a Barack Obama by your side (your bae in a black tux will do).
2. Serena Williams
We hardly see Serena Williams outside of the context of her impeccable athleticism, which may be why seeing a twerk-some Serena in “Lemonade” was the most “yasss”-inducing moment of the album’s celeb appearances. You can get on fleek like Serena did in the music video for “Sorry” with a short black jumpsuit with lace cuff bracelets and black heels.
3. Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe is always dressed to the nines. A tuxedo with black-and-white color patterns are usually a must for the singer, and we will alway love her pompadour.
4. Issa Rae
Issa Rae is an “awkward” goddess who’s giving a voice to the unconventional black girls everywhere through her new HBO series “Insecure.” Her quirky and fun style is exemplified in the photo above from a table reading for the show.
5. Simone Biles
Simone Biles is only 19-years-old and just 4’9” but she probably has a helluva lot more upper body strength than most people, and her three Olympic gold medals can attest to it.
If you want to further revel in Biles’ absolute slayage at this year’s Rio Olympics then you can sport her gold medal-winning look from the pic above by wearing a track jacket, track pants, three fake gold medals (to represent the full number of Olympic gold medals she won in Rio), glitter eyeshadow and a ponytail.
If you found yourself embracing your melanin with a sense of overwhelming pride after listening to “A Seat At The Table,” how could you not bask in the joy of imitating Solange?
While there are several superbly afrocentric Solange styles you could imitate, we chose one of the simplistic looks from her iconic “Cranes In The Sky” music video (above). To recreate the look, you’ll need one shoulder purple dress and a wavy black wig, which no one will be allowed to touch. For an additional “Don’t Touch My Hair” effect, ditch the wig, braid up your hair and add lots of earth-toned beads.
7. Cardi B
With her carefree attitude and distinct voice, VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop: New York” cast member Cardi B (left) is far from the “regular shmegular girl.”
Cardi’s outfits are almost as unpredictable as what she’ll say next, but her love for flaunting her curvy figure and baring skin is consistent. To imitate her look above after Laquan Smith’s show during NYC Fashion Week, you’ll need a black bandeau, a black lace maxi skirt, a black choker, strappy black heels and a black wig with a bang.
8. Leslie Jones
Even if you’re not a “Ghostbusters” fan, the racist bullying Leslie Jones was forced to overcome on Twitter this year is reason enough to want to show solidarity with the actress. You can rock her “ghostbusting” look, which Madame Tussauds Wax Museum has paid tribute to in the pic above, with khaki coveralls, black snow boots, long black gloves and a gray backpack.
To rock Jones’ more classy everyday look (right) as she proudly poses alongside her character’s wax reincarnation, you’ll need a black sequined sleeveless top, black skinny pants, black heels and some hair gel contoured to Jones’ hairstyle to solidify the look.
Rihanna, who doubles as a singing and fashion icon, is always rocking something sexy, risqué and edgy. And with so many badass looks, it can be hard to choose which Rihanna style you most want to imitate this year.
Since we’re just as indecisive, we went with her standout gothic look from her “ANTI” album. To pull it off, put about 15 chunky braids in your hair, then grab a mid-length black blazer, a collared white blouse, and a black clip on tie. Don’t forget to pencil on some super thick brows, to complete the look.
10. Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland became the first black woman to serve as a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre last year. And, yes, we’re still shamelessly in awe of the ballerina and all her talent. To recreate the iconic ballerina look seen in her Claiborne Swanson photoshoot above, you’ll need a black or pink leotard (or tank top), a tutu, leg warmers and ballet shoes.
Disclaimer: The tutu will not magically engender flexibility.
11. Amandla Stenberg
Amandla Stenberg is the living embodiment of a young and woke revolutionary. As a result, the 17-year-old was presented with the Young, Black and Gifted Award at the Black Girls Rock! ceremony in April where she wore the retro style in the photo above.
12. Lupita Nyong’o
The Academy Award winning Lupita Nyong’o constantly exemplifies the best of black beauty by embracing her natural essence.
13. Miss USA Deshauna Barber
Deshauna Barber made history when she became the first Miss USA in June to actively serve in the military. Aside from all the praiseworthiness that comes with her title, Barber’s also proof of what happens when you don’t allow haters to stunt your growth.
To mimic her look from the pic above at the Walter Reed National Military Center, you’ll need a long white gown, tiara, and a Miss USA sash (or a Miss District of Columbia sash if you’re looking to throw in some DMV representation).
The above picture clearly isn’t that of your average diva, so explaining Beyoncé’s queendom would be absurd.
With Blue Ivy in tow, the iconic songstress stunned ― per usual ― during her 2016 MTV VMA entrance, pictured above. For an attempt at imitating this Bey look, you’ll need to wear a blue evening gown with a blue feather neck piece and, then, pull your hair back into a single braid. If you have a Blue Ivy of your own, you can dress her in a brown tutu dress and look like the most powerful mother-toddler duo in America.