Last year, the Women of Color list provoked a lively and thoughtful debate about how to define "woman of color." AfterEllen.com founder Sarah Warn weighed in on the discussion with the following comment:
…although the women who made the list were nominated by readers, the term "women of color" as used to determine this list is definitely based on the U.S. concept of "people of color" (since this is a U.S.-based site, and a slight majority of our readers are from the U.S.) which is a very broad, complicated, evolving, and often contradictory term — and as others have noted, is based on a combination of language, race, ethnicity, heritage, etc.
She also explained, "The goal of this list is to highlight women who don’t get as much visibility or media attention in the U.S. because of their (perceived or actual) race, since the U.S. media and entertainment machine tends to focus on and preference white women."
Since the need for that visibility still exists, we kept the Women of Color list, along with the Women Over 40 and Out Women lists, again this year.
The women who made this list were chosen by reader votes, and those choices likely continue to reflect the "broad, complicated, evolving, and often contradictory" nature of that term.
The Top 20 Women of Color in 2010 as chosen by the readers are:
Rollins 4. Zoe Saldana
5. Sarah Shahi
Rodriguez 7. Paula Patton 8. Sheetal
13. Rosario Dawson
14. Queen Latifah 15. Wanda Sykes
16. Jessica Leccia
17. Gabrielle Union
19. Jessica Clark
20. Salma Hayek
2. Sara Ramirez