On Thursday, April 8, 2022, history was made when the Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. With this, she will become the 116th justice—and the first Black woman—to serve on the top U.S. court.

This history-making moment has meant many things to many people. Oprah was struck by the significance Justice Jackson’s appointment has for parents of Black children. In an essay for Oprah Daily, she wrote, “All through the confirmation hearings—especially when I saw young Leila Jackson looking at her mom with such pride—I found myself thinking about parents. Particularly parents of Black children, particularly parents of Black girls—how, for them, Ketanji Brown Jackson is reason to celebrate. A thrilling new example—new living proof—of what is possible. A new chance to turn to their child and say, ‘You are possible.’”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama also took a moment to celebrate this monumental occasion, writing on Instagram, “Like so many of you, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride—a sense of joy—to know that this deserving, accomplished Black woman will be a part of the highest court in the land.”

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And other Black women who were first in their fields are sharing what this confirmation has meant to them—and to the world. In an exclusive statement to Oprah Daily, Dana Canedy, who was the first Black publisher at Simon & Schuster, shares, “The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson proves yet again that, even in the face of opposition by some who dishonor our value, excellence so often prevails when Black women seek to break barriers. It also means that we are one step closer to the day when none of us will ever again be inducted into ‘the First’ class. Rather, it will simply be a given that we are best in class. Congratulations, Judge Brown Jackson.”

The momentum surrounding Justice Jackson’s appointment didn’t end with news of confirmation. Earlier today, she sat down to have her portrait taken at the White House.

Oprah was the first to post the portrait on social media—sharing in that caption that she is feeling “great renewal today for the grit and grace of our new Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson.”

The photo was taken by Lelanie Foster, a Black female photographer who has photographed inspiring Black women like Andra Day, Issa Rae, and others. To learn more about the stunning photograph and get some behind-the-scenes intel, we spoke with Foster as she stood on the White House lawn, moments after she finished the photo shoot.

Oprah Daily: What was it like to get the call to photograph Justice Jackson?

Lelanie Foster: It was incredible. It felt like a full-circle moment because it came on the heels of having just photographed the amazing Black women of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, which is Justice Jackson’s alma mater. Those women are the next wave, so then a few weeks later to get this call—it was unbelievable. There was a lot of emotion happening.

OD: Anything you can share about the shoot?

LF: The vibe was incredible. She was in a joyous mood, and her energy was so bright. She was very happy. When she walked in, there was an ease to her. She was with her husband and her daughters, and I had some music playing—I had put on Sade because it’s calming. She loved it! She was vibing and even dancing a little at some points. Her husband had tears in his eyes for a moment. Her daughters came over to the monitor to say, “Mom, we like it when you stand like this.” It was a beautiful family moment and so special to witness such an intimate time for them.

OD: What does this moment mean for you personally?

LF: It means everything. Anytime that a Black woman is celebrated affirms our existence. My personal journey has been challenging—it’s been a long road. So this moment in history has been so full of inspiration for me. When I think of the doors she has opened and the legacy she will leave behind, it is incredible. Even in this moment, she opened a door for me to be here and photograph her. She brings so much power with her, and it means so much to other Black women. She is leading the way, and it is so empowering.

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