We talk about the most beautiful black women in Hollywood today all the time, but we figured we need to pay a little homage to the starlets of old Hollywood’s past who wore many of the classic styles that have been revived today first. In a time when black beauty was celebrated even less than it is now in the United States and abroad, there were a handful of black actresses and singers who defied status quo with their beautiful looks, sultry style, and gorgeous voices. While the mainstream is still honoring icons like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Jean Harlow, we wanted to shout out a few of our own and give you some vintage black beauty from old Hollywood to be inspired by.
Nina McKinney was one of the first African-American film stars in the United States and British television and she was the first African-American actress to hold a principal role in a mainstream film in 1929’s Hallelujah. Nina’s looks set the beauty standard for women during her time and she became known as the “Black Garbo” in Europe because she was stunningly gorgeous like the Swedish actress Greta Garbo.