It Started Earlier Than You Thought

Women wore their hair in a natural style for a fashion show. It was a contest that gave a cash prize for the winner. These women were sporting natural beauty before it was in fashion

A group of young men started an organization called the African Jazz At Society (AJAS) in the late 1950s. Kwame Braithwaite wanted to capture the essence of jazz in Harlem in photography. He wanted his audience to feel it and hear it through his work.

in the 1960s The Grandassa Models was formed to champion African inspired clothing and black beauty according to Tanisha Ford who has written a wonderful history of the experience.

Pushing The Limits

She was nice named the Black Greta Garbo, and one look at her proved why. She dispelled the myth at African Americans were ugly, untalented and stupid.

Nina Mae McKinney had starred in an all African American cast show, Hallelujah. The amazing job she did in that show, gained her a contract from MGM. It turned out to be a hollow victory. They only offered her roles as maids and servants, and never any lead roles.

https://youtu.be/h4PoeF-W6Co

McKinney was not the only African American who refused to deal with the hand she was dealt in the entertainment industry. Josephine Baker received a scathing review from a mainstream newspaper critic who called her homely and untalented. But in France, she became an icon by singing, dancing and pushing her talent to new limits

Our beauty has pushed through a lot of pain, but it has pushed through.