Thursday, 23 July 2009

When Black Became Beautiful - Part Two

Cornroes, Afros and Anything Goes

Era - 1960s and 1970s
Commentators - Pat Cleveland, Cicely Tyson, Marcia Ann Gillespie and Susan L. Taylor and Beverly Johnson.

Now this is when Black really became beautiful. Fashion was suddenly very youth orientated which was a complete contrast to the severe look of the 50s. In the 60s Donyale Luna became the first Black fashion icon and made the cover of Harper's Bazaar as well as becoming the first African American to grace the cover of Brit Vogue. This era would be known as where politics and civil rights merged with fashion and beauty. Sick of being treated like second hand citizens this is where young African Americans decided to stand up and shout out. This lead to the birth of the Black Panthers and the rhetoric, Black and Proud. A Miss Natural Standard of Beauty pageant took place where the aim was to celebrate the beauty of African American features. The contest had a no make and no straight hair policy and was very well received. Cicely Tyson took the natural look onto another level – onto East Side/West Side a popular national TV show where she rocked an afro. The Afro became an expression of Black pride. 1968 saw the creation of Essence, a magazine that put Black women first and celebrated their beauty and presence. This period saw the Afro move from being a political statement to a fashion one. Hence Marsha Hunt being featured in Brit Vogue wearing nothing but her Afro. Finally all forms of Black beauty were established and being represented. Also the catwalk finally caught up as well and in 1974 Beverly Johnson became the first Black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue.

Click here for Part Three.

2 cool comments:

MsQuiche said...

Loving these posts, thanks for sharing. I remember when the documentary ran and I missed every single one of them. Gutted. Managed to see them all years later at Goldsmiths College. Well worth it. The Beeb needs to show them again.

Ondo Lady said...

MsQuiche: Thanks a lot. I missed it too but managed to get hold of copies at my work place. It was definatley worth it. I agree the Beeb need to show it again and again and again.