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THREE MORE DAYS DAY-9

DAY-9: MEDIA PART 2 – BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, DON’T YOU AGREE?

The advent of the advertising age and the free spirit of the 60s ushered in new frontiers for Blacks in media–both print and television. The digital age was upon us, and people’s eyes were glued to their T.V. sets, instead of the back of their eyelids–imagining what they were hearing, through their transistor radio.

Magazines such as Johnson Publishing’s Ebony and Jet portrayed images of beautiful Black women and men that the world could no longer ignore. Mainstream media gave way to a tidal wave of Black exploitation films geared solely to African Americans. Additionally, mainstream magazines such as Vogue began to take risks, showcasing Black women alongside their White contemporaries. Almost everywhere you looked, you began to see what some people characterized as a token Black person. At first, people were excited about the prospect that African Americans were breaking the so-called color barrier. But of course, with each step forward, there was still push back. African Americans were not satisfied with crumbs off the table; they wanted a full seat at the table–rightfully so.

Nevertheless, champions arose, such as Donyale Luna, Grace Jones, and Naomi Campbell. to name a few. They took the fashion scene by storm, strutting their beautiful black skin on runways all around the world, and the world was alas a beautiful place through the eyes of Black people in America and abroad. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, DON’T YOU AGREE?

We have chosen to celebrate a select few media pioneers for their determination to change Black perception and thus change the landscape and future our country. Today we honor their genius. We must not let their contributions be forgotten or let others bask in the credit of their achievements. Today let’s change the narrative. #LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD.

T’AINT I A WOMAN, INDEED YOU ARE, A BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMAN FROM HEAD TO TOE

“Peggy Anne Donyale Aragonea Peugot Luna”

First Black model to grace the cover of Vogue magazine

Before the Civil Rights Movement in America, African American models were visible in black magazines such as Jet and Ebony, but non-white models were never seen on the covers of Western fashion magazines, on the runway, or in advertising.  With that movement, and especially the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the prohibition based on race began to end.

Donyale Luna’s modeling career was launched in April 1965 when Harper’s Bazaar, a magazine that never had a black person on its cover before, featured a line-drawing sketch of Luna on its cover. Luna was then signed to an exclusive one-year contract with Harper’s legendary fashion photographer, Richard Avedon. A full eight years before Beverly Johnson made history in August 1974 by becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of the American version of Vogue, Donyale Luna in March 1966, became the first African American model to grace the cover of the British edition of Vogue.  Luna also became the first black fashion icon, and her face and form inspired the first black mannequin produced in 1967.

Luna was born Peggy Ann Freeman on August 31, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan, to Nathaniel Freeman, a foundry worker with the Ford Motor Company, and his wife Peggy Hertzog Freeman, a receptionist. Life at the Freeman household was solidly middle class. Luna grew up with sister Lillian and half-sister Josephine.

“Changing the Face of Fashion”

BEVERLY JOHNSON, NAOMI CAMPBELL, AND GRACE JONES

Beverly Johnson is a model, actress, singer, and businesswoman who in 1971 became the first African American woman to appear on the cover of a major magazine.  Johnson was born on October 13, 1952, in Buffalo, New York to middle class parents.   Her father was a machine operator and her mother was a surgical technician.

Ambitious and successful even as a child, she was a competitive swimmer who nearly qualified for the 1968 Olympics in the 100-meter freestyle.  She grew up wanting to be an attorney.  She attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts on a full scholarship where she studied criminal justice in preparation for law school.

Naomi Elaine Campbell (born 22 May 1970) is an English model, actress and businesswoman. Discovered at the age of 15, she established herself amongst the most recognisable and in-demand models of the late 1980s, the 1990s and of today. Campbell was one of six models of her generation declared supermodels by the fashion industry and the international press.

In addition to her modelling career, Campbell has embarked on other ventures, including an R&Bpop studio album and several acting appearances in film and television, such as the modelling-competition reality show The Face and its international offshoots. Campbell is also involved in charity work for various causes.

Grace Beverly Jones OJ (born 19 May 1948) is a Jamaican model, singer, songwriter, record producer and actress.[11] In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Solange, Lorde, Róisín Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx. In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.[12]

Born in British Jamaica, she and her family moved to Syracuse, New York, when she was 13. Jones began her modelling career in New York state, then in Paris, working for fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appearing on the covers of Elle and Vogue. She worked with photographers such as Jean-Paul Goude, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer, and became known for her distinctive androgynous appearance and bold features.

“Top Black Divas”

As a girl of colour at that time, simply believing in her own worth and following her true calling were great revolutionary acts.

BY DREAM CAZZANIGA

Content provided courtesy of History.com, Britannica.com and Wikipedia.com, Vogue.com, Blackpast.com, Gracejones.com All Rights Reserved.

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