Niecy Nash, Tia Mowry, Stephanie Allain, leaders at CBSViacom, Twitter, Microsoft and more speak out to WaxWord – what do the women who have quietly worked and hoped say as an historic milestone is achieved?
Unfamiliar feelings — joy and hope — have resonated across the country at the news that Sen. Kamala Harris was chosen by Joe Biden to be his partner as candidate for vice president.
The senator from the nation’s most populous state and a battle-tested attorney general from California and district attorney for San Francisco is deeply qualified for the position.
But the moment also is historic since, at long last, a woman of color has been chosen for a major-party presidential ticket for the first time in history. Harris is the daughter of a Black father and an Indian mother, both immigrants, and grew up in the liberal and academic political ferment of Berkeley, California. But she was a tough prosecutor for San Francisco, even as she went on to fight for criminal justice reform and held Donald Trump’s nominees to account in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For African-American women who have been toiling for years in the face of racism and sexism, who have fought to break the mold, who have set new standards and reached new heights, Harris’ elevation is a moment of unique celebration.
I’ve been fortunate to meet many such leaders, particularly through our work in the WrapWomen Foundation. I reached out to ask what this moment meant to each of them, and here, in their words, are their responses.
Stephanie Allain (Photographed by Elisabeth Caren for TheWrap)Stephanie Allain, founder of Homegrown Pictures, producer of “Dear White People,” Emmy-nominated for producing the 2020 Academy Awards, director of the Los Angeles Film Festival since 2012
Kamala Harris is the perfect pick to compliment Biden. Culturally fluid, racially blended and fully American, she’s brilliant, qualified and more than capable of ushering not only the Democratic Party but America into the future. I am fiercely energized to do whatever I can to get them elected. I cried tears of joy to celebrate the acknowledgement that women of color are not only the backbone of the Democratic party but of America. My great-grandmother was the daughter of a slave so to see this in my lifetime fills me with incredible hope for our future.
Niecy Nash, Emmy-winning producer and Emmy -nominated actress, “Claws,” “When They See Us,” “Stolen by My Mother,” “Scream Queens”
I am beyond thrilled that Kamala Harris is on the Democratic ticket with Joe Biden! This has been a long time coming. She is a fighter. Strong and confident. Most importantly, I believe she is for the people. This will be a blessing that will resonate with little black & brown girls for years to come. Biden/Harris has my vote.
Marva Smalls, global head of inclusion at ViacomCBS and EVP, public affairs, kids & family entertainment brands at ViacomCBS Media Networks
Kamala’s selection is a triumph for black women who have consistently led and helped to drive the fulfillment of dreams and electoral victories of others. Her appointment says to future generations of black and brown women that by following your instincts and your moral compass, and by pursuing your passions and by pushing the envelope, you can change the course of history and not merely be a spectator to it.
Dalana Brand, VP People Experience and Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Twitter
“Kamala Harris being selected as the VP candidate for the Democratic party is one of those historic moments that move Black women like myself to tears and have us bursting with pride. Regardless of political affiliation, Black women are overjoyed to see someone with Kamala’s intelligence, experience and leadership, finally get the recognition they deserve. Far too often Black women have been overlooked for the highest positions in the C-suite and boardroom and while change is occurring, it has been painstakingly slow. We all stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, and before Kamala there was Shirley Chisolm, who was the first Black woman to run for President. Now thanks to Kamala there will be little Black girls around the world standing on her shoulders inspired to dream and achieve even bigger.”
Kathryn Finney at WrapWomen Power Women Breakfast (Photo by Megan Mack for TheWrap)
Kathryn Finney, author and investor, founder of digitalundivided, a social enterprise that leads high potential Black and Latinx women founders through the startup pipeline from idea to exit.
We’re in a period of dismantling old, outdated structures in this country, including the belief of who can lead us. Senator Harris’ nomination to one of the most powerful positions in our country is a recognition that black women have provided leadership since its founding.
Sarah Bond, corporate VP of gaming ecosystem at Microsoft
It fills me with joy. That she was chosen. That she will be nominated. That she could be the next Vice President. But more than anything, my joy comes from seeing my daughter’s eyes light up when I showed her Kamala’s picture as she internalized that it is truly possible for someone who looks like her to be a leader of this country. For all of us, this is a defining moment in our history, our present and most importantly, our future.
Phoebe Robinson, New York Times best-selling author and host of the podcast “Black Frasier”
Kamala Harris becoming the first Black woman and South Asian VP pick is a historical moment within an already historic year. Any time someone is the ‘first,’ it makes you wonder why it hadn’t already happened long ago, but at the same time, you’re grateful and humbled to be alive to witness the groundbreaking achievement. And just think about all the little girls and young women who are going to be inspired by Harris to pursue politics or to simply tell themselves “yes” instead of “no.” As Ana Navarro once said when she dropped bars on “The View”: “The power that that has, the intelligence that that has, the access that that has, the influence that that has, the profile that that has.” Congratulations, Kamala!
Drew Dixon, music producer, silence-breaker in “On the Record”
I was profoundly moved by the history-making news that Kamala Harris will be the Democratic candidate for Vice President. I honestly didn’t know how much it would mean to me, but when the news crossed my Twitter feed yesterday I burst into tears. We hold our breath so much of the time as Black people in America and as women, so when the burden lifts for just a moment or when the light of possibility peaks through, it’s a revelation. The feeling I had yesterday reminds me how much these glass ceilings really do matter, and if heaven and earth can be moved, that’s exactly what’s about to happen. The barrage of messages I received yesterday from so many Black women in my life, especially from my AKA sorority sisters, made it crystal clear to me that Black women will do everything in our power to get Kamala Harris across the finish line.
Lyric Lewis, actress and improvisor who stars on “A.P. Bio” on Peacock
I’m am so here for it. To say this moment is exciting, is an understatement. As a woman, as a black woman, this is electrifying!!! To look in the face of my 5-month-old daughter, during this historic moment, to look into her sweet little face, and to show her pictures of Kamala, is a feeling I can’t even put into words. But one word does come to my mind, and that is hope.
Tia Mowry, actress, producer, author, influencer, business owner
We are making a huge step forward with history. To have a woman, let alone a black woman, potentially be our VP is so inspiring. Not only for me, but for my daughter and our next generation.
Tika Sumpter and Thai Randolph, Co-founders of Sugaberry
Having a Black woman on the presidential ticket for the first time is history making, ceiling shattering and validates what we believe at Sugaberry — that there is no space that we cannot ascend to, no room that we cannot occupy, but also that we can own these spaces. We’re so grateful for Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hammer and so many others who paved the way to make this day possible.
Nina Shaw, Partner, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano; co-founder of Times Up
The moment the announcement of Kamala Harris as the VP nominee flashed across my computer screen was so much more emotional than I had anticipated. As I thought about it, I realized the emotion was not just about the moment, but also because as Black Women, especially as it relates to our ambition and leadership, our default is to anticipate disappointment. So the emotion was just as much about the joy that Kamala Harris, a superbly qualified woman, is part of the Democratic ticket, but also for once to NOT be told “your time is not now”. The emotional release was palpable. It is our time and since we have always been leaders we and Senator Harris are ready.
"We want to make sure we have an equal number of women as men at the table when decisions are being made that impact the lives of other people," @kamalaharris shares some words of wisdom at our #WrapWomen Power Women Breakfast a few years ago. #vppick
Watch the clip here: pic.twitter.com/Xwif5m0zwx
— TheWrap (@TheWrap) August 11, 2020