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10 Inspirational African American Models

Inspirational African American models

Every February, we remember Black women and men who’ve helped change history. Whether making changes in politics, business, education or being a voice for justice, African Americans have paved the way.

There are also leaders in style who have set trends, graced magazine covers and displayed exquisite taste that still prevails in fashion today. In honor of the end of an exciting fashion week, we’d like to pay homage to 10 glamorous Black models in history.


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Grace Jones
Grace Jones took the modeling world by storm as a fabulously androgynous 1970’s supermodel and with her unforgettable voice, Jones became a dance music diva, releasing albums like "Nightclubbing" and "Slave to the Rhythm."

Her to-the-max personal style made her a muse to the most exciting artists of the era.

Photo Credit: V Magazine
naomi-simsNaomi Sims
Naomi Ruth Sims was one of the first black models to grace fashion magazines, truly carving a path for aspiring models and major supermodels.

Photo Credit: Flickr

BEVERLY-JOHNSON-VOGUEBeverly Johnson
The gorgeous Beverly Johnson made worldwide headlines when she became the first black model to land the cover of American Vogue in 1974. Her cover had such a powerful affect on the fashion industry that by 1975, most major mainstream magazines had a woman of color on their covers.

Photo Credit: Huffington Post
dorothea-towlesDorothea Towles
Dorothea Towles was the first top black model to work in Paris. As a teen, she modeled exclusively for black magazines stateside—but during a two-month vacation to Paris in 1949, she was discovered by Christian Dior, and embarked on a wildly successful career as one of the most celebrated models in Europe.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
sara lou harrisSara Lou Harris
In the late 1940s and '50s, Sara Lou Harris was one of the top Black models in the country. Beyond being the most recognized runway star on the Ebony Fashion Fair circuit, Harris holds the distinction of being the first model of color to appear in a national advertisement.

Photo Credit: Flickr
pat clevelandPat Cleveland
In the '70s no one worked a runway like supermodel Pat Cleveland. She was discovered by a Vogue editor in 1967 while walking to Manhattan's LaGuardia Performing Arts School. By 1970 she lived in Paris and set the fashion world ablaze.

Photo Credit: becauseiamfabulous.com
donyale-lunaDonayale Luna
Supermodel Donayale Luna was one of the world's most beautiful women in the 1960s. Luna began modeling in 1965 and within months, an article in Time magazine declared 1966 to be "The Luna Year." She was the first black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue, and was a muse to legendary photographers.

Photo Credit: Bet.com
mouniaMounia
Martinique-born supermodel Mounia was not only one of the top Black models in the late '70s, she was also designer Yves Saint Laurent's greatest inspiration.

Photo Credit: W Magazine
waris dirieWaris Dirie
Waris Dirie was born into a nomadic tribe in Somalia where she ran away at age thirteen to avoid marriage a much older man. After working odd jobs in London, she was discovered by photographer Terence Donovan, who shot her for her the cover of the 1987 Pirelli calendar. From there she became a star, landing ads for Chanel, Levi's, L'Oréal and Revlon.

Photo Credit: fashionmodeldirectory.com
louise vyentLouise Vyent
Surinamese/Dutch beauty Louise Vyent's delicate, sultry look made her a favorite for beauty companies during her heyday in the '80s. Not only did she appear on the cover of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, she graced the 1990 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and was a favorite of Revlon.

Photo Credit: Harper's Bazaar

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CupcakKe Reveals Abusive Boyfriend Led Her To Contemplate Suicide

Months of abuse led to the suicidal tweet posted by Chicago native CupcakKe, earlier this month. In a lengthy message posted to her Twitter account over the weekend, the 21-year-old rapper admitted that she’s been battling depression, brought on by an abusive ex-boyfriend.

In the post titled “my disturbing read,” CupcakKe accuses a man named, Christopher Terrell, of stealing her credit cards and terrorizing her throughout their relationship.

“This is someone I’ve been dating for the past [five] months,” she wrote in the now deleted post. “Out of the kindness of my heart I gave this man over [$30,000] during this period [of] time because I understand how it feels to be without (especially after me being homeless). He also has threatened to shoot my mom in the face [and] has threatened me on multiple occasions [and] said he can do it because he will get away with it!!!! I have screenshots, recorded calls, bank statements and all types of proof.

“Me being stupid in love I have [taken] this man back multiple times but every time I take him back the abuse gets [worse],” she added.

Further in the post, CupcakKe explains that her depression from feeling trapped in the relationship resulted in her contemplating suicide. “He [has] snatched off my wig in public, broke phones [and] continues to traumatize me every step of the way! This is what [led] to my ‘I’m committing suicide’ tweet…I have called the cops multiple times and they have yet to do anything about it,” she wrote, adding that Terrell is threatening her with revenge porn. She also admitted to posting his number on social media, and the numbers of women that he “plotted” with  to steal her money.

“Yes I am wrong for that,” she said. “But by me sending this message out it is not for harm to be sent his way, it’s for the police to make things way more serious!!!! Also this message is for every young girl or anyone in general that is struggling with abuse right now. I get u (once you see the first sign) leave!!!”

Read the full post below.

@Chicago_Police y’all really need to do something about @CupcakKe_rapper and her situation, she’s mentioned reaching out to y’all multiple times about this and nothings happened! Please do something before it’s too late... pic.twitter.com/ZczGq1jmcK

— moonlight_baes (@m00nlight__baes) January 20, 2019

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Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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