Long before bodacious women like Pam Grier, Beyoncé and Halle Berry became the multitalented bombshells we love, there was Joyce Bryant.
Often dubbed the “black Marilyn Monroe,” “Bronze Bombshell” and “The Belter,” Bryant rose to sex symbol status in the ‘40s as a singer and actress. Working her way from low-paying gigs to high profile performances around the country, Bryant’s low-cut mermaid gowns and silver hair became as iconic as her voice.
In fact, her signature mane is courtesy of radiator paint, which Bryant doused her hair with after discovering that she would be sharing a stage with Josephine Baker. Needless to say, the San Francisco native was hardly upstaged on that fateful night.
Beyond her undeniable beauty and commanding presence on stage, Bryant also fought against racial inequality, eventually breaking boundaries as the first Black performer in several high profile venues, including the Miami Beach Hotel and Casino Royal.
The singer, who is still alive today, left show business to devote her life to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the ’50s, but as you can see, her status as a boundary-breaking beauty remains intact.
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She was glam personified, flaunting her curves and rocking uncoventional beauty looks long before either were acceptable. Her silver strands are iconic, but we’d be remiss to overlook the rest of her bombshell beauty choices, including a classic lip. Bryant never hit the stage without a painted pout and we’re pretty sure she would have slayed in any of these modern day shades:
1. Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Leader: Nothing encapsulates power and ferocity like a fushcia lippie. $32, sephora.com
2. Tom Ford Lip Color in Dark and Stormy: The vampier, the better! $53, sephora.com
3. Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick- Marble Rouge Revelateur: This limited edition lippie is one of a kind, just like Joyce! $34, sephora.com
4. Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Heroine: True blue and bombshell-approved. $17, sephora.com
5. Urban DecayVice Lipstick Vintage Capsule Collection in Bruise: Burgundy red is the ultimage vintage classic! $11, sephora.com
See more throwback photos of “The Belter” below!
Classic in pearls.
Dressed up and ready to go.
A classic beauty.
Watch out: curves ahead.
Now, this is a glamour shot!
All black everything.