We’ve all heard of the classic white Hollywood beauties like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Grace Kelly but we never hear about the Black ones, which is odd considering there were plenty of them that never got the shine they deserved. It is without a doubt important that dark skinned black women have representation in the present, but I also believe that applies to the past as well. Many people look to previous generations for reference fashion and makeup, but Black women are often excluded from that narrative and thus left with no choice but to imitate and aspire to whiteness. It’s almost like we only began to exist on a mainstream level last year, you would think before now we never existed.
Though they are from the past and are considerably older now, I believe many of the black women in Hollywood during the 50s/60s/70s had a certain kind of beauty, a timeless kind that you look at and inspires you to be the most beautiful version of yourself. It was almost a sort of rare and inimitable beauty that you can try to replicate, but you won’t see it again and the best you can do is take notes and hope you’ll be as ethereal as them one day.
One of the most underrated sex symbols of all time, Azizi Johari was a notable model who appeared in Playboy’s 1975 issue as Playmate of the Month with her own centerfold. As well as modeling, she was also an actress, best known for her supporting role in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. You may also recognize her from her small appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Fun fact: This stunning woman was the first Black woman to have her own television drama series, which was Get Christie Love in 1974 in which she played a detective.
Best known for her role in Brazilian film Black Orpheus in 1959, Marpessa Dawn was an actress, dancer, and singer.
Starring in tv shows such as Good Times, The Streets of San Francisco, and Executive Suite, Brenda Sykes has also appeared in several films such as Cleopatra Jones and Black Gunn in the 70s.
Marcia McBroom was an actress best known for portraying Petronella Danforth in Beyond The Valley of the Dolls in 1970.
“Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."