Updated: Feb 27, 2019
You can forget about Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, and Brigitte Bardot... And before Beyonce, Cardi B, and Lil' Kim, or even Halle Barry, Naomi Campbell, and Toni Braxton, there were black women redefining their own sexual herstory. For Women's History Month this year, I wanted to pay homage to 29 black women whose gorgeous looks, intoxicating talent, fearless activism, and glowing melanin made them famous. While most broke through epic barriers as firsts in their fields, some of these notable women tried to make a difference despite being typecast in stereotypical roles in Blaxploitation films. These particular films were known for exploiting black people in the 1970s by perpetuating negative stereotypes such as being immoral, hypersexual, and angry. For further information about sexual stereotypes forced upon black women including Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire, read my previous blog post here.
Typically, this is the reason why a number of black women choose to hide behind respectability politics to remove themselves from any derogatory sexual labels. This would also be considered a defense mechanism among black women to cope with any sexual trauma or lack of self love and confidence. Many of these highlighted women privately suffered through similar battles while maintaining public appearances but continued celebrating their sexual freedom the best they knew how...through their respective talents.
Nonetheless, as supermodels, actresses, singers, song writers, dancers, entrepreneurs, and activists, these muses paved the way to demonstrate how black women are more than just angry welfare queens or promiscuous sex objects. This is why it is so important for modern day black women to truly understand where we've come from in order to push forward and rewrite our own sexual narratives.
In alphabetical order, I now introduce to you 29 black women who represent unapologetic, provocative, and luxurious sexual liberation with zero f*cks given...
B E V E R L Y J O H N S O N (supermodel, actress, singer, and entrepreneur)
C A R O L S P E E D (actress)
C H A K A K H A N (musician, singer, and songwriter)
D E N I S E N I C H O L A S (actress and activist)
D I A H A N N C A R R O L L (actress, singer and model)
D I A N A R O S S (singer, actress and record producer)
D O N N A S U M M E R (singer and song writer)
D O N Y A L E L U N A (model and actress)
D O R O T H Y D A N D R I D G E (actress)
E A R T H A K I T T (singer, actress, dancer, activist, author and song writer)
E T T A J A M E S (singer)
F R E D A P A Y N E (singer and actress)
G R A C E J O N E S (supermodel, singer, song writer, actress and record producer)
J A Y N E K E N N E D Y (TV personality, actress, model, corporate spokeswoman, producer, writer, public speaker, philanthropist, beauty pageant titleholder and sports broadcaster)
J O S E P H I N E B A K E R (entertainer, activist and French Resistance agent)
J O Y C E B R Y A N T (singer and actress)
J U D Y P A C E (actress)
L E N A H O R N E (singer, dancer, actress and activist)
L O L A F A L A N A (singer, dancer, model and actress)
L O N E T T E M C K E E (actress, music composer, producer, songwriter, screenwriter and director)
M A R K I B E Y (actress)
M A R L E N E C L A R K (actress and model)
N I C H E L L E N I C H O L S (actress, singer and voice artist)
P A M G R I E R (actress)
P E A R L B A I L E Y (actress and singer)
P H Y L L I S H Y M A N (singer, songwriter and actress)
T A M A R A D O B S O N (actress and model)
T I N A T U R N E R (singer, song writer, dancer and actress)
V O N E T T A M C G E E (actress)
So there you have it...29 courageous black women who opened up dialogue for us to feel comfortable expressing our sensual side and exploring our sexuality. Each and every one of these women used their own platforms to create herstory regardless of the unjust stereotypes built to erase their rights as responsible and grown ass sexual human beings.
Out with Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire...In with Cupcake Noire!