The who's who in the entertainment, beauty and fashion industries held their hands of their hearts in disbelief as reports of pioneering Black makeup artist Roxanna Floyd's death began circulating this weekend. In the wake of her passing, celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine remembers his friend and colleague.
There are certain events that will forever be ingrained in your memory. Unfortunately, these memories aren't always joyous, but often times sad. Such was the case when I received a text message from hairstylist, Chuckie Amos, to ask whether it was true or a rumor that celebrity makeup artist, Roxanna Floyd had passed away. Sadly, it was true. I fondly remember meeting Roxanna Floyd the first day I worked for Essence magazine. We were working together on a beauty story and as I began doing makeup on my model, I remember Roxanna pulling me aside to give me advice on the "look" that the client preferred. She had a maternal quality that made you listen and ask for guidance. Her years in the industry made her an invaluable resource of information and inspiration. In fact, anytime I'd run into Roxanna - whether on the block in Brooklyn, or on a plane traveling to Los Angeles - I'd always find myself asking numerous questions about the beauty business. It's ironic that during our last conversation, only months ago, she would still be giving me advice. That time it was on how to deal with the demands of being a celebrity makeup artist. The makeup industry seems vast, but actually it's quite small. There are very few artists that reach a level where you recognize their name, identify their work at a glance, or rattle off celebrity clients that they've beautified. Roxanna Floyd was one of those artists. However, her artistry is not what I'll remember most. I'll always remember Roxanna as an artist who paved the way for many "artists of color" to reach new heights by setting a standard of excellence with her work on numerous magazine covers, music videos and celebrity clients. In an industry that isn't always welcoming to artists of color, Roxanna became a beacon of light, showing us how brightly our lights could shine. As I prepare to attend her services, I begin to think about the legacy I will one day leave behind. I hope to have touched someone's life with my talent and provided an encouraging word along the way...just as Roxanna has mine.