In celebration of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight ten people of color that overcame obstacles in both their careers and their personal lives to achieve recovery and personal success:
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah used drugs in her early twenties, all the way until the 1980’s when she started The Oprah Winfrey talk show. Once the show took off she knew she had to get clean in order to keep the show running successfully. She got sober in the early ’80s and has been clean since. She is now one of the richest women in the world.
2. Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell’s struggle with drugs began in 1994 and escalated following the death of her good friend, designer Gianni Versace, in 1997. After several attempts to quit drugs beginning in 1999, Campbell finally became sober for good in 2004.
“Look, you have to make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how the world works.” —Naomi Campbell
After he was released from prison in 2010, T.I. shared that he had a drug problem and said that fellow rapper Eminem was partially the reason he was able to kick his habit.
“We can’t fix what we do not address.” —T.I.
4. Wendy Williams
“I was a functioning addict. I’d work from 3 in the afternoon until 7 at night, get off and party until 7 in the morning — then sleep until 2, go to the radio station and do it all over again,” Wendy said. “People around me knew, but nobody ever said anything to me. Nobody had the guts, which is shocking to me. I guess it was like watching a circus freak show.”
5. Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson has been open about his addiction back in the 1980s. He credits his wife, LaTanya Richardson, for helping him get clean. In 1991, he went to a drug rehab facility and has been sober ever since. Jackson is now one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.
6. Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige’s struggle with addiction dates back to her teenage years. Her drug use got worse when her career took off in the ’90s. Blige reportedly took years, with the help of her husband, Kendu Isaacs, to sober up.
“Believe in yourself when nobody else does.” —Mary J. Blige
7. Chaka Khan
Khan said she struggled with drug and alcohol use for 10 years. Later, after talking to a fellow singer and friend, Etta James, the Queen of Funk-Soul made the change to quit alcohol and drugs and has been clean and sober since.
8. Kid Cudi
In 2010, rapper Kid Cudi made the news after he was arrested for possession. At the time Kid Cudi was using both drugs and alcohol. As of 2011, Kid Cudi says he no longer uses drugs. The artist even wears tattoos on his wrist that symbolizes the death of his drug-addicted past.
9. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith struggled with both drugs and alcohol use in years past. In 2017, she celebrated 20 years sober.
“I’ve learned that recovery isn’t just for those suffering from substance abuse, but that recovery is about recovering from our traumas, abuse, neglect, abandonment, lack of self-worth, disappointments, failed relationships, the loss of loved ones and so on…” —Jada Pinkett Smith
10. Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah struggled with drugs and alcohol after the death of her brother in 1992, she turned to using substances to cope. In 2002, she got arrested for possession and since then she made the choice to get her life together. She has been sober since.