16 Black Women Beauty and Style Icons We Adore

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Webster defines beauty as the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. The following women have taken this description and molded it into their own.  They did not conform into one specific lane, for beauty has no limits. These influential style icons created their own path and inspired others to do the same.

Josephine Baker
She was known for her amazing acting skills and vocal talents but you cannot deny Josephine Baker’s iconic slick hair and banana outfits.

Lena Horne
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Lena Horne set the standard for black movie stars as the first African-American woman signed to a studio contract. She represents effortless grace with never a hair out of place. Lena Horne is the pinnacle of Black glamour. She created the mold.

Dorothy Dandridge
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Dorothy Dandridge's natural sex appeal allowed her to play the role of seductress Carmen Jones in the film of the same name with ease. Dorothy embodied the perfect blend of naughty and nice. While her bright smile gave hints of "girl next door," that glint in her eye said she's anything but.

Diana Ross
In the 60s and 70s no one epitomized black glam like Diana Ross. Known for her incredible hair and fabulous Bob Mackie gowns, Diana primed herself for iconic status from the very beginning of her careers that's spanned over five decades.

Donna Summer
The Disco-era would not have survived as long as it had without the help of the beautiful Donna Summer. Her huge hair and sparkly outfits captured the eyes of fans everywhere.

Pam Grier
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In the 70s, Pam Grier of Black America's pin up. With an banging body and an fabulous fro she made her mark in the Blaxploitation films of the day.

This supermodel from Somalia is the epitome of natural beauty. Her stunning dark skin inspired her to create her own cosmetic line for ethnic girls like herself.

Janet Jackson

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Janet Jackson's evolution from sweet little sister to bondage queen gave black women everywhere a model for our own personal transformations. We love her brilliant, white smile as much as her banging body. 

Grace Jones
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Grace Jones' importance as a style innovator gets rarely acknowledged before the head-turning fashions of today's popstars. Ms. Jones always veers away from the safe and expected. Everytime you see her you can expect a challenge.

Naomi Campbell
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The most famous black supermodel to ever walk the planet will always be known for giving great face above all else. Those cheekbones and those eyes cannot be denied. And even at 43, her body is one of the best in the industry.

Lauryn Hill
When Ms. Hill took the world by storm in the late 90s, she transformed perceptions of black beauty in the mainstream. As a dark-skinned woman with locs, Lauryn's brand of striking beauty had rarely been seen or acknowledged in such a major way. She gave Black women an opportunity to see themselves loved and embraced.

Tyra Banks
The daring Ms. Banks has created a fashion empire of her own. The 39-year-old former model is a jack of all trades who has had her own talk show, modeling competition, along with inspiring young girls to love who they are at her TZone camp.
Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu brought us all back to the motherland with her authentic, natural style that we all fell in love with. Her music only added more to the glamour.

The artist formerly known as Sasherself has broken out from under her father’s wing and paved her own way into Hollywood. Her striking attire always seems to fall perfectly around her signature curves that we all know and love.

Michelle Obama
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Michelle Obama isn't a model or entertainer, she's a supportive partner, mother, and Ivy League educated lawyer. More than any style icon in recent memory, she represents the beauty and sensibility of the everyday black woman.

Janelle Monae
This emerging star looks better in a suit and tie than Justin Timberlake. Her quirky style and spunky hairdos makes us all want to try it too.

Kimberly Foster is the Founder and Editor of COLOURES. Email or
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