The old adage says behind every great man lies an even greater woman. Black men in particular who’ve held pivotal positions in sports, medicine, politics, or business tend to be lauded while little is spoken or known of their life partners.
Well, we hope to change that narrative; here are the women behind some of the great black men in our community.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa is the wife of Strive Masiyiwa. Masiyiwa is a philanthropist and entrepreneur who aims to empower the youth by way of technology and education.
Her life’s work was inspired by the 1990s AIDS/HIV pandemic in Zimbabwe. Along with her husband, she founded the Higherlife Foundation in 1996.
Higherlife foundation offers scholarships to gifted and vulnerable students, provides crisis and health relief such as the fight against Ebola, talent development via leadership training and internships, and guidance and pastoral care in the form of psycho-social support and advocacy to orphaned children.
Masiyiwa is also a board member of PATH and ENDfund, a member of the Giving Pledge, and is a founding member of the African Philanthropy Forum.
The wife of Denzel Washington, Pauletta Washington has been married to the Academy Award-winning actor since 1983. She was an actor in her own right before her marriage. She also was an aspiring concert pianist.
Washington is noted for assisting her husband in campaigning efforts such as donating funds to the completion of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016.
Denzel credits his wife for being the backbone of support; raising their four children while he earned income for their livelihoods.
Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson
Earlitha “Cookie” Johnson is the partner of acclaimed basketball star, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The author of Believing in Magic and one-time fashion designer of “CJ by Cookie Johnson” is also known for being brave in the face of harsh criticisms – for her son revealing that he is gay and her husband revealing his HIV positive status in front of the world; couple had gotten married two months prior and Cookie was expecting their son EJ.
Johnson serves on the board of directors for the Magic Johnson Foundation and is an advocate of women’s issues as well as spreading awareness surrounding AIDS and HIV.
Serita Jakes is the wife of the renowned pastor, author, and filmmaker, Bishop T.D. Jakes.
Jakes is a writer, co-minister, speaker and serves as the Executive Director of women’s and children’s affairs at The Potter House – The Jakes’s 30,000-member church in Dallas, Texas.
Jakes serves as a supporter of teenage girls and abused women. She also ministers to women experiencing grief, loss, and the challenges that life inevitably bring.
The first African American first lady is a lawyer, author, and role model for women. She also happens to be married to the former president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Obama is also known for her oration skills and for being a pivotal champion of healthy eating and women and young girl’s development.
These ladies prove that success is nothing without a deserving woman by your side to share it with.