To shine a much-deserved spotlight on the many achievements made by Black women game-changers, Chase Sapphire, VIBE, and SHE Media have teamed up to honor its five Voices of the Year (VOTY), which initially launched in June. Voices of the Year is a longstanding SHE Media initiative that celebrates culture-shifting creators and the incredible work they’ve done in their respective fields. This year, the VIBE and SHE Media Voices of the Year were chosen by an esteemed panel of judges led by Datwon Thomas, Editor-in-Chief of VIBE, and comprised of SHE Media and VIBE editors. The Voices of the Year is a three-month celebration that will honor and amplify powerful voices across an array of industries.
The first honoree included Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye, the founder of Ami Colé, a clean beauty brand for people with melanin-rich skin. You can read more about her on VIBE, here. The second honoree was Adrienne Smith, an athlete who has won two gold medals and two national championships in women’s tackle football. As an entrepreneur, Adrienne is the co-founder of Harlem Hip-Hop Tours, the founder of Gridiron Queendom, and the creator of Blitz Champz. You can read more about her on VIBE, here. The third honoree was Shavone Charles, the current head of DEI at TikTok. She supports Black women in music and amplifies the stories of creatives of color through Magic In Her Melanin, her very own creative collective and in-house agency that serves as a key platform for all creative direction surrounding her art and music. You can read more about her on VIBE, here.
Meet the Final Honorees
Heather Lowery is a strategist, creative visionary, power-negotiator, and dealmaker. She is also the President and CEO of Femme It Forward, the revolutionary multi-format music and entertainment company whose mission is to celebrate, educate and empower women, and was recently appointed this role through her new joint venture partnership with Live Nation, which she runs with a five-member team.
Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actress. She is the co-creator and co-star of the hit podcast turned HBO series 2 Dope Queens and other critically acclaimed podcasts including Sooo Many White Guys and Black Frasier. She’s also the New York Times bestselling author of You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay, which has been picked up as a series order for Freeform.
Meet the Panel
Datwon Thomas is the Editor-In-Chief of VIBE Magazine and Vice President of Cultural Media for MRC. Thomas held positions as Founder and Editorial Director of the men’s lifestyle guide, KING Magazine; the urban car enthusiast’s favorite, RIDES Magazine; and was the Editor-in-Chief of hip-hop’s street authority, XXL Magazine. In addition, he’s also presided as Founder/Editorial Director of XXL Presents Hip-Hop Soul, a publication dedicated to documenting the successful hybrid genre of R&B and Hip-Hop. Thomas was also Editor-in-Chief of hip-hop photojournalistic magazine RESPECT.
Christine Imarenezor is the Executive Editor at VIBE, where she oversees the website’s daily editorial content and manages its dynamic team of editors, reporters, and writers. Prior to joining the team, Imarenezor began her digital journalism career as a contributing writer at . She was also an early adopter of social media marketing while managing various artists’ social media accounts in Bad Boy Entertainment/Warner Music Group’s new media department. Imarenezor is an alumna of Northwestern University and a former high school band nerd, who loves gospel, R&B, and enjoys day hiking.
Eugenia Miranda Richman is the Editor-in-Chief of SheKnows.com, SHE Media’s flagship site, and premier parenting destination. As an editorial strategist and award-winning journalist, Richman has led the evolution of SheKnows from a lifestyle publication to a site that serves moms holistically with the latest food, celebrity, health, and parenting news, plus shopping stories, essays, and features on all the issues that matter to them. As an Argentine-Nicaraguan editor with 15+ years of experience in publishing and digital media, Richman is not just bringing new content offerings to SheKnows but diverse perspectives and voices.
Jiji Ugboma is the founder of Clever-ish Magazine and a former VOTY Winner herself. In her role as Senior Manager of Publisher Engagement at SHE Media, she provides editorial and audience growth strategies for partner publications in the SHE Media Collective. Ugboma is a writer who believes in the power of content to power valuable conversations that affect change. Her work champions the discourse of self-actualization and mental health for young adults and has been featured in publications like CNBC, Variety, BlogHer, Bustle, Eater, and her own website Clever-ish Magazine. In her spare time, she writes about the Nigerian food scene in New York.