Best Beauty Looks in Black History

Decade after decade, classic looks are duplicated and reinterpreted from Hollywood’s leading beauties. From Diana Ross and Iman to Beyoncé and Halle Berry, we present the most inspiring beauty looks ever.

Deena Campbell Feb, 26, 2015

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An authorized version of Angela Davis' story is in the works with Sidra Smith and Forest Whitaker attached as producer and executive producer, respectively. Wonder if Halle Berry will finally get to play the iconic activist?

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Angela Davis smiles for a photo in 2012.

3 of 83 Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Angela Davis at the Guess Portrait Studio during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

4 of 83 Echoes/Redferns

A portrait of young Aretha Franklin in a neat top knot.

5 of 83 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1968.

6 of 83 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1967.

7 of 83 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Soul singer Aretha Franklin poses for a portrait in circa 1967.

8 of 83 Fred A. Sabine/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Aretha Franklin on The Andy Williams Show in 1969.

9 of 83 Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

R&B singer Aretha Franklin performs with big hair onstage in 1986.

10 of 83 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tina Turner of the husband-and-wife R&B duo Ike & Tina Turner poses for a portrait in 1964.

11 of 83 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The always beautiful Tina Turner poses for a portrait in circa 1965.

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Portrait of Tina Turner in the early 1970s.

13 of 83 Larry Busacca/WireImage

Tina Turner performs in concert circa 1989 in New York City.

14 of 83 The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

A young Eartha Kitt.

15 of 83 Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images

Eartha Kitt in 1957.

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Eartha Kitt posed with a short haircut wearing a red v-neck jumper in 1965.

17 of 83 Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Photo of Eartha KITT

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Dorothy Dandridge wearing a strapless dress and red lip circa 1955.

19 of 83 Gilles Petard/Redferns

Posed studio portrait of Dorothy Dandridge.

20 of 83 Donaldson Collection/Getty Images) /Getty Images

Singer and actress Dorothy Dandridge poses for a portrait circa 1955.

21 of 83 John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images

Publicity portrait of American singer and actress Dorothy Dandridge from 1951.

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Promotional portrait of American actor Dorothy Dandridge resting her head against a cushion for director Robert Rossen's film, 'Island in the Sun.'

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A photo of young Diana Ross.

24 of 83 Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Diana Ross of The Supremes.

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Diana Ross in 1973.

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Diana Ross in a file photo from 1990.

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Gilles Petard/Redferns

28 of 83 Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Diana Ross performs in the Netherlands 17-10-1994.

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Supermodel and actress Iman poses for a portrait in circa 1979.

30 of 83 Terry O'Neill/Getty Images

Somalian supermodel Iman, wearing long earrings and a white dress, 1994.

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Fashion model Iman, circa 1995.

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Iman 1999 Mobo Awards At Royal Albert Hall, London.

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"I just want to open a dialogue where we can talk about these things, where we can define our own beauty and approve of ourselves. We have to approve of ourselves before anyone else will. Women need to celebrate their God-given beauty instead of always trying to be something else." --Iman

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De Beers announces a partnership with Iman, acclaimed supermodel and businesswoman at the 55th Cannes Film Festival.

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Iman during Isaac Mizrahi for Target Fall 2004.

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"A self-esteem issue doesn't change whether you're considered beautiful or not because it's about what's inside you.” —Iman

37 of 83 Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage

Iman attends Balenciaga Paris Launch Hosted by Nicolas Ghesquiere and Howard Socol in 2006.

38 of 83 PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images

In Lupita Nyong'o's speech at the 2014 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, she reminisced about the importance of seeing the rise of supermodel Alek Wek, a woman with skin hued like hers. "When I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny," Nyong'o said.

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Alek Wek gets prepared backstage at the Chado Ralph Rucci Fall 2004 Fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week at the Promenade in Bryant Park in New York City.

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Alek Wek walks down the runway at the Chado Ralph Rucci Fall 2004 fashion show at Bryant Park during the Olympus 2004 Fashion Week in New York City.

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Alek Wek lets her true beauty show at the Philip Treacy for Umbro Fall 2006 fashion show while wearing very little makeup.

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Alek Wek smiles bright on the red carpet at the 2006 CFDA Awards.

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Alek Wek with red rosey cheeks at the Heart Truth Red Dress Fall 2007 fashion show.

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Alek poses during a portrait session ahead of the THISDAY Africa Rising Music and Fashion Festival at the Kennedy Centre in 2008.

45 of 83 Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The beautiful Vanessa Williams poses for a portrait for the Miss America Pageant in 1984.

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A portrait of Vanessa Williams circa 1997 in Chicago.

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Former Miss USA, singer and actress, Vanessa Williams poses during a 1989 photo portrait session.

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Vanessa Williams poses for an image, circa 1990.

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A young Vanessa Williams during at the taping of her VH1 show.

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Vanessa Williams made jaws drop with a nude lip and long, flowing hair while front row at the Kenneth Cole fashion show in 2005.

51 of 83 Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images

Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater on ABC's, Ugly Betty.

52 of 83 Dan MacMedan/WireImage

Vanessa Williams with perfect eyebrows at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

53 of 83 Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Vanessa Williams poses at a celebration for her 'The Real Thing' album listening party at Greenhouse in New York City with bold eyelashes.

54 of 83 Matthew Rolston/ABC via Getty Images

Vanessa Williams as Renee Perry on Desperate Housewives.

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Vanessa Williams at the 36th annual March of Dimes Beauty Ball in New York City with a sexy smokey eye.

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Actress Vanessa Williams arrives at the 2012 Disney ABC Television TCA summer press tour party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

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A young Beyonce is interviewed before a performance at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Beyonce Knowles during MTV's 'TRL' Tour in 2001.

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Beyonce in a 2001 photo shoot.

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Beyonce at The Fighting Temptations Premiere in 2003.

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Beyonce Knowles arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of Cadillac Records in Hollywood, California.

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Beyonce poses backstage at the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show.

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Beyonce during The 77th Annual Academy Awards with a killer smokey eye.

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Naomi Campbell visits the Today Show at the NBC Studios in Manhattan, NYC

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Naomi Campbell attends the InStyle: The Best of British Talent Pre-BAFTA party at The Ace Hotel in London with glowing skin.

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Naomi Campbell attends the 2015 amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

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This Big Bird Cage and Foxy Brown star is the consumate 70s beauty icon.

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Actress Pam Grier poses for a publicity photo for her movie Coffy circa 1973 in Los Angeles.

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"This whole beauty thing is something I've never comprehended." —Pam Grier

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"My identity is very clear to me now, I am a black woman." —Lena Horne

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"I don't have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I'd become. I'm me, and I'm like nobody else." —Lena Horne

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A posed portrait of Lena Horne in the film Stormy Weather.

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The always flawless Lena Horne.

74 of 83 AP Photo/Craig Lenihan

In this Feb. 3, 2007 picture, Tyra Banks is photographed in the Bahamas. Banks became the first black supermodel to appear alone on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. She recently returned to the Bahamas to recreate the shoot that landed her on the coveted cover, even wearing the same red polka dot bikini

75 of 83 AP Photo/Peter Kramer

"Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It's about accepting all of yourself." —Tyra

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"I love the confidence that makeup gives me." —says Tyra in a high bun at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala in New York. 

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Tyra Banks arrives at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala in 2013 with a red lip and statement bang.

78 of 83 Chris Walter/WireImage

The stunning Grace Jones in 1979.

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Grace Jones poses in the Winners Room at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards in England.  

80 of 83 John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images

A portrait of a young Halle Berry from 1992.

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Actress Halle Berry poses for a portrait circa 1998 in Los Angeles.

82 of 83 Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Actress Halle Berry poses for a portrait in 2000 in Los Angeles.

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Halle Berry on location for the TV Documentary, 'For the Love of Liberty' in 2006 at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.


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