In 1990, Madonna released her classic tune “Vogue”, which reached number one in over 30 countries. Perhaps the most enticing part of the song is her “rap” about 16 old Hollywood stars from the 1920s to the 1950s, including Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire and Bette Davis, among others. She sing talks about how they have style, grace and give good face, however, the caucasity of it all is maddening as there is one sole person of color mentioned, Rita Hayworth (she was half-Spanish).
I took on the challenge of reimagining Madonna’s mega hit with some of today’s most significant women of color, whereafter I have provided bios detailing their badassery.
Mazie Hirono and Lizzo
Davids and Ocasio
Maxine Waters, Leana Wen
Grinding everyday for fellow women
Chloe Kim, Janet Mock
They ain’t never gonna stop
Obama, Cathy Yan
Tiffany Haddish, never less than
They have style and don’t mansplain
Jenny Han, gettin’ those gains
Dorys, Osaka, Awkwafina too
Tarana Burke, we thank you
Ladies with perspective
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
Find your voice, there’s nothing to it
Mazie Hirono is a U.S. Senator and trailblazer. Born in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, her family emigrated to Hawai’i when she was a child and settled in Honolulu. After a lengthy career in politics, she has gone from a quiet, drama free politician to an outspoken and fearless advocate for marginalized communities. Hirono is the first Asian-American woman elected to the Senate and the first elected female Senator from Hawai’i among other firsts.
To the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.
Lizzo is a rapper and singer indicative of Minneapolis’s emerging music scene. She broke into the misogynistic music industry in the early 2010s and has since gained a mass following as she preaches self-love and body positivity with the support and admiration of millions of fans.
My job is to emote and communicate and bop.
Sharice Davids is an attorney, politician and former mixed martial artist. She is a U.S. Representative for Kansas’s 3rd congressional district, since 2019, elected as one of the first Native American female U.S Representatives (along with Deb Haaland, representing New Mexico). She is also the first openly LGBT Native American member of Congress and is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
We need a representative who cares about the voices who have already been speaking up and crying out — but being ignored — for so long.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a politician and activist born and raised in The Bronx, New York. In 2018, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Less than a year ago, the Puerto Rican political novice was working as a bartender to help support her working-class family, now, she is one of the leaders of the growing progressive and outspoken political movement.
Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office. I wasn’t born to a wealthy or powerful family.
Maxine Waters aka Auntie Maxine is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, Waters is currently in her 15th term in the House, having served since 1991. From “reclaiming my time” to leading a movement to “impeach him,” she says what many of us are thinking and she reminds us that we are worthy of any space we occupy.
I am not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened.
Leana Wen is a physician, public health advocate and author. Born in Shanghai, China, her family emigrated to the U.S. when she was eight, where they fluctuated between Compton and East Los Angeles, California. She became the President of Planned Parenthood in 2018 and the first physician to hold the position in nearly 50 years.
Already, one in five women in this country have been to Planned Parenthood for care. I am proud to include myself among them. Like a lot of young people, I knew I could rely on them for reproductive health care provided with compassion, respect and genuine concern. As president, I plan to continue that legacy.
Chloe Kim is a professional snowboarder and an Olympian. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the daughter of South Korean immigrants won gold in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at the age of 17 years old becoming the first Asian-American and youngest to do so. Kim is also the youngest woman to ever win any Olympic snowboarding medal.
It would be meaningful if I can get a gold medal in my parents’ country.
Janet Mock is a writer, film producer, television host, podcaster, activist for the Transgender, Native Hawaiian and POC community, etc., etc., etc. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, she began her career as a writer at People Magazine where she wrote an article, coming out publicly as a trans woman, thereafter becoming a full throttle media advocate. She’s released two New York Times Bestselling memoirs and became the first trans woman of color hired as a writer for a TV series (Pose), where she is also a director and producer.
I’d never seen a young trans woman who was thriving in the world – I was looking for that.
Michelle “does she even need an intro” Obama is a writer, lawyer and First Lady of the U.S. from 2009-forever. Obama serves as a role model for women, and works as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating. While she was poised and approachable as First Lady during her husband’s presidency, now she is more outspoken and fearless as ever, with the pressure of the White House gone. She released her second memoir Becoming where it was met with outstanding praise, reaching the top spot on The New York Times Bestseller List.
Am I good enough? Yes I am.
Cathy Yan is a film director, screenwriter and producer. Born in China, her family emigrated to the U.S. when she was a child and settled in Washington, D.C. In 2018, it was announced that Yan would direct the upcoming DC/Warner Bros. superhero film, Birds of Prey, becoming the first female Asian director to direct a superhero film.
I immediately loved the script and it felt like something I could really do, and it felt very much like my own voice.
Tiffany Haddish is a comedian and actress. She blew up on the Hollywood scene after starring in Girls Trip, where she held her own alongside industry veterans, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall and received critical acclaim. Since her breakout role, Haddish has gained even more success in television and movies due to her genuinely energized approach to comedy. In 2017, she released her memoir The Last Black Unicorn, which topped The New York Times Bestseller List.
My body is like, ‘Go to sleep!’ But my mind is like, ‘No, we gotta get this money.’
Jenny Han is a young adult and children’s fiction author. In 2014, she released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the first in a trilogy of young adult novels. Shortly after its release, Overbrook Entertainment (Big Willy Style’s production company), secured the rights to the novel for eventual screen adaptation. In August 2018, the film was released on Netflix to awaiting fans while garnering even more teenage and adult fans. The novel has spent 40+ weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list in the Young Adult fiction section.
With Asian-American actors, specifically, there’s been fewer opportunities for them in TV and film, and fewer that have the ability to actually make a career out of it. You want to give people a chance to grow and evolve as well.
Dorys “Dee” Araniva is the founder, owner and operator of DXCOLLECTIVE, a lifestyle brand based out of Los Angeles, California. She was born and raised in south central L.A., and was always heavily influenced by the aura of her everyday surroundings including tattooing, lowrider culture, gang graffiti, inner city Chicano culture and community muralism. Since DXCOLLECTIVE’s beginnings in the earlyish 2010s, the brand has amassed over 20,000 followers on Instagram and has gained hundreds of adoring high-profile fans. Amidst its new found popularity, the brand continues to stay true to its roots in the Chicano culture of East L.A.
We do this for you and we couldn’t make it without you.
Naomi Osaka is a 21-year old professional tennis player. Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, her family moved to Long Island, New York when she was three. Fast forward to 2018, Osaka became Japan’s first female U.S. Open finalist and ultimately defeated her idol, the widely considered GOAT Serena Williams in straight sets, winning her first Grand Slam.
I have sort of already accepted the fact that I probably play better during the big stages. I have always wanted to play on Arthur Ashe and stuff, so when the chance comes, of course I’m going to play my best.
Awkwafina is a rapper and actress. She was born to a Chinese father and Korean mother and raised in Queens, New York. She first gained attention with her 2014 album, Yellow Ranger, thanks to the mega hit “My Vag”. The same year she was cast in MTV’s Girl Code, thrusting her into the acting world, where she spilled her unique brand of comedy onto the world. In 2018, she starred in two huge Hollywood studio films, Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, where both of her roles received glowing reviews.
My grandmother was everything to me, she taught me that Asian women are strong, they’re not meek orchard-dwelling figures. She always knew I had something, not even star power but spunk.
Tarana Burke is a civil rights activist from The Bronx, New York. In 2006, she began using the phrase, “Me Too” to raise awareness of of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society, and the phrase developed into a broader movement, following the 2017 use of #MeToo as a hashtag following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. For two decades, Burke has done the grinding, unglamorous, financially ruinous work of setting up programs to help victims of abuse, which is why she has been called one of the most fearless, driven and influential civil rights activists.
I founded the Me Too Movement because there was a void in the community that I was in. There were gaps in services. There was dearth in resources, and I saw young people – I saw black and brown girls – who are hurting and who needed something that just wasn’t there.