In recognition of Black History month, I would to acknowledge Black Firsts as it relates to the beauty industry. The beauty industry as it relates to makeup, models, fashion, business, editorial and media to name a few. As Chicago Makeup Examiner my initial attempt was to use Chicago connections, but some of the Black First listed are not necessarily Chicago based, but is still worthy of praise. So let’s get started!
Beverly Johnson-She made history when she rose to fame as the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in August 1974.
Veronica Webb-Webb was the first African-American to have a major cosmetics contract.
Tyra Banks-She first became famous as a model, appearing twice on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and working for Victoria’s Secret as one of their original Angels.
Carole Anne-Marie Gist, the first African American woman to win the Miss USA title, was born on May 8, 1969 in Detroit, Michigan.
Vanessa L. Williams-In 1983, she became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America, but a scandal arose with Penthouse magazine when they bought and published nude photographs of her. She relinquished her title early and was succeeded by the first runner-up, Suzette Charles of New Jersey.
Designers Zelda Wynn Valdes– was the first black designer and costumer to open her own shop, which was also the first black-owned business on Broadway in 1948. Stephen Burrows is the first African-American fashion designer to achieve international acclaim, after graduating from the Fashion Institution of Technology in 1966.
Madam CJ Walker – Born on December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919, was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, regarded as the first female self made millionaire in America. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
Born on (January 5, 1931 – December 1, 1989)-was the first Black modern dance troupe to perform in the Metropolitan Opera House.
Bernadine Anderson- was the first African American female makeup artist celebrity artist. She was a personal makeup artist for Jane Fonda for 8 years and Eddie Murphy was also one of her noted celebrity clients.
The White House
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States.
Cosmetics catering to Black skin (women of color)
Fashion Fair Cosmetics-Founded in 1973 by the late John H. Johnson he tapped into the market of makeup with shades for women of color. In the past, women had to mix colors to try to match their unique skin tones.
There are many other noticed areas of the contributions of African Americans, this article just touched on some moments in history. I hope you enjoyed the article.