black female characters patina miller Power Book III: Raising Kanan Season 3 Premiere + Rap Cypher

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Raquel “Raq” Thomas, played by Patina Miller, is one of the most iconic characters on television. An integral part of “Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” Raq is raw and authentic.

In many ways, she is a mirror for Black women.

No, we aren’t all drug pins, leading an illegal operation in one of the largest cities in the world. But many of us do have demanding jobs. At times, we find ourselves working to rise above perceived “rivals” in the office. Standing on business is an imperative – as is giving back to our community and loved ones. And much like her, we deal with complex family relationships, friendships, and obligations.

We do it all, like Raq, while looking fabulous, dressing to the nines, and taking no ‘ish from everyone.

So, yes, we see ourselves in her dynamic, ever-changing, and multi-faceted character. That’s one of the reasons Patina is our best friend in our heads.

Black female TV characters have defined representation, culture, and style

But the fact of the matter is, there has been a long history of badass Black female characters on TV. When authentic, television has been a powerful medium for showcasing diverse characters and stories.

Black women have owned the TV screen, from Claire Huxtable to Ava Eva Coleman to the entire cast of “Girlfriends” and beyond. Over the years, Black women have been at the forefront of several series, shows, and movies, leaving unforgettable performances and indelible marks on the industry. They’ve made us laugh, cry, change our wardrobe, and re-evaluate our lives.

Positive, badass Black women have defined representation, culture, and style.

RELATED: TV One’s Cathy Hughes On Negative Portrayal Of Black Women

5 Bad Ass Black Women Who Are The Blueprint: Style, Culture, Loyalty, And Wit

Here are some iconic Black female TV characters – past and present – who have left an enduring legacy on our lives. They are 5 badass women we love, emulate, and wouldn’t mind having a girls’ night out with.

5 Bad Ass Black Female TV Characters Who Define Culture, Style, And Sisterhood  was originally published on

1. Cookie Lyons – “Empire”

No one walks into a room like Cookie Lyons. No one.

Portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in Empire, she was the fierce and dynamic matriarch of the Lyon family. She defied traditional roles and stereotypes – it was her way or the highway.

Cookie embodied our “no-nonsense spirit” through racy scenes and authentic dialogue. Her character exemplified strength and ambition as she navigated the cutthroat music industry and attacks to reclaim her share of the family empire.

Cookie’s unapologetic attitude, sharp wit, and unwavering loyalty to her family make her a badass. And her wigs, furs, leopard print, and gawdy jewelry gave us life every show.


2. Olivia Pope – “Scandal”

People still talk about Olivia Pope, portrayed by Kerry Washington, whenever something goes wrong. The joke is that someone needs to “Call Olivia Pope.”

The protagonist in the TV series “Scandal,” Kerry’s character redefined the “DC fixer.” She was a fabulously gorgeous Black woman with a purpose, style, and agenda. She ran the Nation’s Capital and could call anyone from the president to the National Guard to a club owner. And her closet was to die for. She was badass.

Conversely, she was also vulnerable and human. Olivia made mistakes, falling in and out of love, and found herself in challenging situations. Her complexity, from professional prowess to personal struggles, humanized her character and resonated with us all.

3. Maxine Shaw – “Living Single”

Played by Erika Alexander, Maxine Shaw “Attorney-at-law” was the quintessential businesswoman. Starring on “Living Single,” with four other strong Black badass female characters, Khadijah, Sinclair, and Regine, Maxine held her own.

She wanted it all: the job, the man, the popping sex life, and support from her good girlfriends. We identified with her struggles of maintaining her strong personality and career ambitions with the need to be genuine, authentic, and, at times, vulnerable.

Maxine’s natural loc bob also inspired many. Before it was “socially acceptable” to rock natural styles, Maxine did it every day on screen and slayed.

4. Madam Deville – “All The Queen’s Men”

Marilyn “Madam” Deville, played by Eva Marcille, is a woman who knows who she is, what she wants, and how she wants to look when she gets it. Wearing some of the most over-the-top looks on screen, she uses style to define her mood and persona.

Madam Deville owns “Eden,” an all-male stripper nightclub in Atlanta where “all forbidden things are allowed.” But the club is one piece of the empire she wants to build. Eva’s role – that usually has traditionally been seen in male characters – is a refreshing one.

Eva is a protector, a badass girl boss, a leader, and a friend. She is an outlet for powerful women to see themselves and laugh when needed at all the drama.



5. Annalise Keating – “How To Get Away With Murder”

Viola Davis’s portrayal of Annalise Keating shattered stereotypes and pushed boundaries. A “click down,” sensational take on who we saw with Maxine Shaw, Annalise was a brilliant criminal defense attorney who knew the system in “How To Get Away with Murder.”

Annalise navigated the intricacies of the legal system while grappling with her demons. On screen, Annalise was vulnerable yet resilient, showing several breaking points. While we saw Black women as lawyers before, we never really saw one like Annalise. She is and was a badass.