ESSENCE.com staffers are constantly debating about who are the most beautiful black women of all time. Now is the perfect time to, for once and for all, compile our definite list! From Pam Grier to Diana Ross, here are our picks for the 30 most ravishing African-American women in all of history. Did we leave someone out? Let us know in the comments section!
American actress Dorothy Dandridge proved to be one of Hollywood's most timeless beauties.
First Lady Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is the most gorgeous, stylish and brilliant First Lady we've had since Jackie O!
First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama
As beautiful now as she was during her 'Smooth Operator' days in the mid-80s, Sade found a look early on and stuck to it: Slicked-back ponytail, powdered skin and matte, crimson lips. Perfection.
Actress Pam Grier set hearts racing in the 70's with a string of bosomy blaxploitation flicks like 'Foxy Brown' and 'Coffy'. At 62, Grier is hotter than ever.
Before Whitney Houston became a multi-platinum, award-winning megastar, she was a teen model. With her long limbs, walnut-brown skin and perfect smile, Houston was a gorgeous woman. Her beauty and talent will forever be remembered.
Oscar-winner Halle Berry is one of Hollywood's hottest actresses.
In the 60's, 70's and 80's, the original 'Lady Di' was one of the world's most influential beauty icons. Ross has always embodied everything it means to be rich, beautiful and Black.
The former model turned her love of beauty into a successful cosmetics brand and her HSN fashion line, IMAN Global Chic, sells out in seconds. What's sexier than brains and business acumen?
Former Miss Ohio Jayne Kennedy wasn't just one of the sexiest stars of the 80's, the model/actress was also the first Black woman to host a sports program (CBS, NFL Today). Go 'head, Jayne!
After Hill's run with the platinum-selling band The Fugees, the stunning songstress released 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' which won her international acclaim — and Black beauty icon status.
Lena Horne charmed wartime audiences with her elegant sex appeal, classic glamour and gorgeous voice. Her rendition of 'Stormy Weather' still gives us chills!
Whether she was Beyoncé, the demure Southern belle, or 'Sasha Fierce' the hair-flipping, hip-grinding international pop star, Bey is one of the loveliest women in the world. Jay-Z is one lucky mogul.
As 'The Cosby Show's' Clair Huxtable, Tony award winning actress Phylicia Rashad was everyone's favorite mom in the 80's. These days, the For Colored Girl star is as elegant and lovely as ever.
A zillion Grammy, Emmy and Tony award nominations after her run as the first Black Miss America in 1983, Vanessa Williams still looks as beautiful as she did during her days as a young pageant queen.
Oscar-nominated actress Cicely Tyson is a great beauty and revolutionary. As a star on 'East Side/West Side' in the late '60s, she was the first Black woman to wear cornrows on TV!
True, former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is a stunningly beautiful woman. But as CEO of the Johnson Publishing Company, she's also one of the most powerful women in media.
Not only do we love Scott's soulful music and full-figured sexiness, but we also think she's one of the most stunning divas of our time.
This Sudanese supermodel has been a show-stopper since her first turn on the catwalk back in 1995, at age 18. With her flawless skin and beatific smile, Wek does her Dinka tribe proud.
Not only is Laila Ali strikingly beautiful, she's a boxing champion, an author (loved her book 'Reach: Finding Strength, Spirit, and Personal Power') and a proud mom!
Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King was so much more than a pretty face. The lovely wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. was a world-famous author, activist and civil rights leader in her own right.
Throughout all of Janet's phases — Todd Bridges' girlfriend on 'Different Strokes', crimped 'Control' diva, 'Rhythm Nation' military mama — she's always dazzled us with her beauty.
Josephine Baker captivated Harlem, Paris, and the world with her insanely perfect body, flapper spit curls and pouty, rosebud lips.
From the second she dropped her Neo-Soul hit, 'On and On', Erykah Badu made it clear she was a card-carrying beauty chameleon! From head-wraps to afros, she always looks fierce.
Susan L. Taylor
With her sleek cornrows, almond-shaped eyes and iconic smile, ESSENCE's legendary editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor set beauty trends for an entire generation of Black women.
Tony Award-winning singer/dancer/actress Leslie Uggams is not only one of show business' prettiest faces, she's got talent in spades. And we loved her as Kizzy in 'Roots'
Legendary model agent and Vogue Italia editor-at-large Bethann Hardison is one of the most stunning women we know. And it's no wonder, in the 60's and 70's she was a boundary-breaking fashion model!
Florence Griffith Joyner
With her cascading curls, crimson lips, and out-to-there nails, Olympic superstar Florence Griffith Joyner (aka 'Flo Jo') was one of the 80's most influential beauty trendsetters.
Tina Turner may be the only woman in the history of the world who was more gorgeous at 45 than she was at 25. With her sculpted cheekbones and Rockette-worthy legs, she's still a knockout.
In the 90's, Naomi Campbell landed only the best contracts, runway shows, editorials and magazine covers. Two decades later, the irrepressible top model is as flawless as ever.
Back in '88, Queen Latifah was a female rapper in a man's world — and a tad rough around the edges. Fast forward to 2011, and the former tomboy is now a glamorous-to-a-fault red carpet star!
Whether she was a fresh-faced ingenue in 'Porgy and Bess' or the world's fiercest 50-something on 'Dynasty', Diahann Carroll has always been a true, classic beauty.