Its black history month, I would be remiss not to highlight some of the most beautiful melaninated brothers and sisters. This article will be full black boy joy and black girl magic. I’ll be honoring the most stylish black men and women in modern history.
The people I have chosen have been inspiring generations with their elegance, swag, and candor. Individuals like Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., The Temptations, Grace Jones, and Naomi Campbell. Even though we face prejudice, credit is rarely given; our presence is undeniable and felt. The fashion industry is finally making strides in the right direction. Before black faces were rarities except for the ones on this list. But thanks to their arduous efforts more black and brown kids can pick up where they left off.
Born Dorothy Jean Dandridge, she’s best known for her movie “Carmen Jones” that Beyoncé starred in the remake of. This beauty was famous at the same time as Marilyn Monroe. Halle Berry played her in a biopic that chronicled her life.
The Empress of cool before we knew it, she paved the way for every vixen. When they wouldn’t let her become an entertainer in the states, she went to France finding success in entertainment. She pushed the envelope with risqué costumes and became an activist once she came to the states. She refused to perform for segregated audiences in the U.S. during the ’50s and ’60s. Rihanna even stated that she’s an inspiration; remember her head turning CFDA dress. (https://www.elle.com/fashion/news/a14944/rihanna-naked-fashion-speech-cfda/)
The sultry singer was known for hits “Santa Baby”, C’est si Bon” which were top ten hits. She was an actress, activist, dancer, author, and songwriter. Many knew her ability to speak many languages. She wasn’t afraid to dress as bold as her views.
Sammy Davis Jr
He is known mostly for being a comedian, but this man could do it all. He was a singer, musician, dancer, actor, and vaudevillian. His impressions are classic, they’ve been mimicked by plenty of comics after him. As a distinguished member of The Rat Pack, his style was debonair. In 1967, he became the first man of color to appear on the cover GQ.
James “The Godfather of Soul “Brown
This man is who Michael Jackson looked up to! It was no secret that he was a visionary or perfectionist. That was documented in his biopic which starred Chadwick Boseman. His hair
They came up with their name because it eluded style, elegance, yet it suggests romance and sex with a hint of sophistication. Any time the group hit the stage they were always in sync and fly. Their outfits always matched their voice which was pitch perfect. It makes sense why they’re Motown’s longest act.
If the Grammy’s didn’t show you why she’s the ultimate diva! Then I don’t know what else will because she took over her own tribute! She’s been known for iconic looks for decades from luscious locks to grand hair.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This polarizing figure that changed the world, he did it dressed in the most tailored suits. It’s always been stated, “you should dress, how you want to be addressed”. Whether people liked him or not, his presence was felt.
This polarizing figure changed the world, he did it dressed in the most tailored suits with his signature frames. It’s always been stated, “you should dress, how you want to be addressed”. Now some didn’t with his agree with his tactics but his vision clear. Whether people liked him or not, his presence was felt. He changed things for the better even though his visions were misconstrued.
The epitome of a DIVA Mrs. Patti Labelle, everything she does is grand! She’s never been shy in the fashion realm ever. This woman still wears stilettoes; I’m speaking it into existence to be as fierce as her if God lets me reach her youthfulness.
The emperor of cool, his raspy voice over smooth melodic tunes, some even dubbed him as the birther of cool. This man influenced a generation with his horn.
This man had every man wanting to be him and every woman wanting him. He personified love and passion. It can be heard on every track he’s ever recorded and seen in every performance. His charisma and style cannot be denied. He’s influenced stars like Tyrese, T-Pain, and countless over R&B singers.
This Rock & Roll legend is celebrated as one of the greatest guitarists. The grunge and hippie look is something that he mastered just like everything else he touched. Hendrix really walked to the strum of his own guitar.
She was the first black supermodel to grace the covers of American Vogue in 1974, French Elle. Which paved the way for black models like Iman, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks then newcomers like Kimora Lee Simmons and Chanel Iman.
Where do I begin with her! This pose above has been recreated too many times to count. She truly walks to the beat of her drum and truly gives zero f%#*$. She’s the real epitome of fierce and rude gal vibes.
This woman is iconic for a variety of reasons; her knowledge matched the size of fro which is grand. She’s known for being an advocate of real beauty, proving that you can still be sexy and smart without being extra.
Grier is mainly known for being in Blaxploitation films, her biggest roles are “Coffey” and “Foxy Brown”. She’s also known as the first black woman to star in an action film.
Known for having the prettiest legs in the business; she rocks mini skirts and fishnets like no other. Her big golden locks teased with volume is her signature look. She still tours till this day and can rock the crowd in stilettos.
When you think of iconic fashionable men, Prince must come to mind. This man rocked heels, purple, blouses and was still able to take the neighborhood gangsta’s girl. He made it cool to be a pretty boy and was an all-around badass. His get-ups have constantly been made into costumes.
Janet Jackson is iconic for too many reasons to name. She has influenced how we dance, and we dress. With this picture of above as proof, there were many women wore their house keys on their earrings. In addition to her Rhythm Nation outfit which has been replicated many times.
Jackson gave us unforgettable hits, fashions, iconic dance moves, movies, and music videos. From the video “Thriller” this red leather jacket was the must-have. I know because my dad still has this jacket to this day. He relives his glory days on how fly he was with his Jheri curl and this jacket. His jacket from “Bad” has been recreated by the likes of Olivier Rousteing.
Some are scratching their heads about this choice. Think about it, in the eighties this man was the Quavo of New Edition. He had plenty of your uncles and dads rocking the Gumby in the eighties.
Some might know her as David Bowie’s widow, but she had her own career prior. She’s graced plenty of runways, magazine covers, and music videos. In addition to becoming a humanitarian for her homeland Somalia, she changed the narrative for how the world saw Africans and they’re not monolithic barbarians. She's also a mega-entrepreneur with her own cosmetics line for women of color.
The groovy offspring of Sy Kravitz and Roxie Roker is the closest thing we have to Jimi Hendrix. He truly made it possible for black hippie kids to be cool now. There were very few black men who dressed the same as he does, now everyone has replicated his style. Few would admit though, but he was way ahead of his time.
The first black woman to be featured on GQ and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue which resulted in repeat covers. She has made major moves on the runway that she’s able to make opportunities for others with her show “America’s Next Top Model”.
It’s safe to say she’s the best to ever do it! This beauty started modeling at fifteen years old and she continues to grace the world’s runways.
Say what you want about the Queen Bee but she’s as fly as they come! The new waves of female rappers are still biting her style to this day. Some pay homage while others act like their innovators, knowing damn well they grew up watching her. They always said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Some might be wondering why I put this comedian on the list. Every time you see him it’s in a tailored suit, he wore them so well that he had a suit line. Many celebrities, uncles, brothers, and cousins went to grab these too. Don’t lie your brother was rocking these on Easter Sunday or your school function.
The epitome of eclectic style with a boho touch, his style is truly carefree. Being Karl Lagerfeld muse doesn’t hurt either, which helped him curate some dope designs for BAPE, Adidas, Billionaire Boys Club.
This ATL native has a drip like no other. He always puts his best foot forward and it’s never overdone. He’s managed his AKOO brand which has lasted over ten years proving that his drip is everlasting.
To say that influences the culture is an understatement. This man tells us what to eat, what to drink, what’s hot to wear etc. His tailored suits are always immaculate and his casual clothes match.
It’s hard for this woman to ever look bad. She kills every look that she wears, it’s somethings that in your head it would look a hot mess on. Meanwhile, she pulls it off effortlessly from metallic frocks to the half fur coats at the Chanel show etc. One thing is for certain though; she doesn’t care what anyone thinks. One of her quotes was “A bully might beat me up, but they wouldn’t look better than me”.
Whenever she hits the carpet it’s always a breath of fresh air. She exudes confidence and her outfits always compliment her silhouette.
She's the youngest person on this list, but she is a force to be reckoned with. She already has iconic outfits and she hasn't even turned twenty-five yet! A total dare-devil in the fashion realm she isn't afraid to try new things and its enjoyable to watch.
Michael B. Jordan A.K.A Michael Bae Jordan
His suits are always tailored to perfection. He's never afraid to try color or patterns which is refreshing because some men shy away from that. When he dresses casually it's the same thing, he mixes prints with bold colors.
Michelle Obama A.K.A our FLOTUS forever
On behalf of the black delegation, I don't think they were ready for this much drip in the white house. They gave her grief about her showing her arms for crying out loud! Despite her wearing the most beautiful ball gowns ever then showing housewives how to acquire the same drip by wearing J.Crew.