The ’60s were a pivotal time in Black history. Motown artists like The Supremes and Marvin Gaye owned the music charts, the Civil Rights Movement continued to grow in droves and women like Naomi Sims and Helen Williams were making fashion history.
This decade, perhaps more than any other, left an indelible mark on the beauty industry, thanks to a host of famous women who weren’t afraid to wear their kinks and coils proudly. This Black History Month, we salute them by looking back at their standout mane moments.
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From Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman coif to The Ronettes’ beehive do, these are the women who set hair trends in the swingin’ 60s.
The singer, actress, dancer and activist earned the title of “most exciting woman in the world” for a plethora of reasons, including her chameleon-like beauty looks.
One of her most unforgettable hair moments was born on the set of Batman, where she played Catwoman.
The iconic activist and author wore her afro with pride, while working alongside the Black Panthers during the Civil Rights Movement.
Over time, but especially in the ’60s, the afro became a symbol of freedom within the Black community.
Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson were real life Barbie dolls, who sported a new hairstyle at the flip of a dime. From the classic beehive to hi-lo variations, Motown’s most famous girl group served on the daily.
As the lead singer, Diana became a hair icon in her own right and continues to uphold that title in the new Millennium.
Carroll is rightfully celebrated as a trailblazer in the film and television industries. Not only was she the first to star in a show about a Black woman in a non-domestic role; she won a Golden Globe (Julia) for her work! Whether onscreen of off duty, she embodied the era with her towering coifs.
And she could also go the opposite direction, rocking long and straight hair with plenty of volume still intact.
The Hair actress, model and musician sported hairstyles as versatile as her career. From afros…
…to high fashion, editorial strands. She really could do it all! And we’re still obsessed today.
Under the tutelage of Phil Spector, this trio of sisters became part of the ’60s soundtrack and looked drop dead gorgeous doing it. They were all about luscious waves and lots of volume.
Outside of the group, Ronnie became a hair hero, thanks to a host of versatile looks.
Before her untimely death, the Motown singer quickly became a fresh-faced beauty icon.
Tammie Terrell, who was also a popular singer for Motown Records, was most known for her duets with Marvin Gaye. At just 24, Terrell lost her life due to brain cancer.
Alongside Marvin Gaye, she often sported bangs and long locks, making her the ultimate glamour girl.
The groundbreaking model was known for donning a plethora of looks, making her the perfect muse for photographers and the fashion elite.
She was never afraid to try something new, even a messy shag cut (above)!
The groundbreaking model began her work in Black magazines, eventually making history as one of the first Black women to be featured in “mainstream” advertisements.
Sims is credited as the first Black supermodel, due to her versatile beauty looks and historic cover of LIFE Magazine.
With a career that spans over 50 years, Cicely is undoubtedly a Black hair icon. During the 60s specifically, she wore her hair short, but in a number of different styles.
And even while onscreen, the icon proudly wore her natural texture.
The late jazz vocalist and actress was known for proudly wearing her afro both on and offstage.
It was during this era that Lincoln also lended her talents to the Black resistance, alongside other entertainers like Sidney Poitier.
The late singer and activist’s look evolved with her career, going from straight, shoulder-length locks to her all natural coils.
Simone was also known for rocking ornate scarves and hair accessories during her stage act.
The A Raisin In The Sun actress was known for her no frills beauty, which extended to her low maintenance, but always chic hairstyles.