When you think of writing about 50 of the most beautiful Black Women, it’s not an easy task, in fact it is quite an intimidating one! It is extremely hard to choose from amongst the many, many beautiful, talented black women and I can’t help but wonder if I am doing justice to them all.
Beauty is about power, intelligence, confidence and inner strength. The women listed here are all powerful human beings and have excelled in their chosen fields. Some have faced innumerable obstacles, some have had to battle many struggles but they all rose to realize their dreams and their potential despite it all. And if you notice you will see that there is one thing in common amongst all these beautiful ladies…they are all very determined people who never give up. An important life lesson that can be imbibed in our own lives, don’t you think?
1. Michelle Obama
Be it beauty or brains, Michelle Obama has become an idol for not only African American women, but for women everywhere. The best thing about Michelle Obama is that we don’t know her as Mrs. Obama but actually recognize her as Michelle. She has her own identity, she is a dedicated mother and a devoted wife. In fact the world views her always at par with the President himself. And let’s not forget her fabulous sense of style!
2. Vanessa Williams
This one is for all of the 90s kids… remember the song “Save the best for the last” that was an MTV staple? Well that was Vanessa Williams for you. Did you know that this multi-talented light eyed beauty was the first African American woman to win the crown of Miss America? In fact, when she was born, her parents announced her arrival as “Here she comes: Miss America”. Now is that a coincidence or what? Of course my favorite part about Vanessa Williams will always be Wilhelmina Slater. She was so deliciously evil!
3. Tyra Banks
There is one word that was made for this leggy beauty and that is ‘lissome’. No wonder then that she was one of the original Victoria’s Secret Angels! There are some of us who remember her from the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ days where she acted as Will Smith’s old friend. But her recent appearance as the creator and host of the successful reality TV series “America’s Next Top Model” is probably the one that sticks on everyone’s mind. Recently she has also hosted her own talk show called “the Tyra Banks show” which has won quite a few awards. I for one love Tyra in all her awesomeness!
4. Meagan Good
Meagan Good is part Jewish, African, Cherokee and Latin American! No wonder she’s got such exquisite features! A regular on music videos by Will Smith, 50 Cent, Imajin etc. this beauty is known for her strong Christian views that she applies in her personal life. Color me impressed.
5. Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid
Who doesn’t love Michael Jackson? And who doesn’t remember the song “Do you remember the time?” If you do, you couldn’t have missed the beauty who played the queen to Eddie Murphy’s jealous king and who was being wooed by Michael Jackson. Presenting the one and only, Iman! This Somalian beauty excelled at being a supermodel back in the day and is now a very successful entrepreneur with her own line of cosmetics, which are fabulous btw. This list of the most beautiful black women would be incomplete without her!
One word to describe Beyonce aka The Queen B? Bootylicious! Beyonce has long been admired for her curvaceous body and the fact that she had embraced it and was proud of it at a time when there was considerable pressure from the industry to adhere to certain industry standards. Having established herself as a successful solo artist post the breakup of her band ‘Destiny’s Child’, Beyonce has gone on to become one of the best selling music artists of all time. In 2014 she became the highest paid African musician in history and has appeared on the Times’ 100 most influential people’s list two years in a row, in 2013 and 2014. As far as we’re concerned, Beyonce can do no wrong. She is DIVINE!
7. Toni Braxton
If you were a teenager during the 1990s you couldn’t have missed the R&B hits ‘Breathe again’ and ‘Un-break my heart’, the latter reaching No.1 in the Billboard Hot 100s. Toni Braxton has won six Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards. I still can’t stop singing along to her music when it plays on the radio.
8. Whitney Houston
If you have been in love and have never sung, hummed or at least dedicated the song “And I will always love you” then you have loved in vain. This lady’s powerful voice shook the music world with this song and more. Her sudden death from drug overdose has left a huge gap in the music scene and in our hearts. But whenever you hear her singing this song, it’s hard to keep your emotions under control. RIP Whitney. You were amazing.
Rihanna is a fierce fashionista and I LOVE her so much! She’s never afraid to experiment, even if it means receiving raised eyebrows and gasps. She’s gorgeous to say the least, incredibly talented, oh-so-sexy and a little bit of a bad-ass. Never change RiRi.
10. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is one of the greatest women of our times! Known as the ‘Queen of Media’ and for being the richest African American in the 20th century you must have seen her hosting her popular show on TV at least once in your life time. If not, have you been living under a rock? Born into abject poverty, this lady’s rise to fame is all about hard work and persistence. Did you know she was originally named Orpah, a Biblical name, but since most people pronounced it as Oprah, she changed it to that instead. She has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie ‘The Color Purple’. We love you Oprah!
11. Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison, the famous American writer, editor and professor is a Pulitzer award winning, Nobel prize awardee. Her most famous books are ‘The Bluest Eye’ and ‘Beloved’. At present, she has the distinguished honor of being the last American to have won the Nobel prize.
12. Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She won it for her role of ‘Mammy’ in the epic movie ‘Gone with the wind’, a role that has become as legendary as the movie itself. Hattie McDaniel was a multi-talented entertainer – an adept singer, songwriter, stage actress and also a radio performer. Wow! In fact she was the first African American woman to sing on the radio in the United States. You’ve got to admire the spirit of this lady, whose parents were former slaves.
13. Halle Berry
Killer looks, a killer body, and an intellectual mind are not a very common combination, but Halle Berry seems to be blessed with exactly that. She’s the kind of beauty who looks great in everything….long hair, short hair (how cute is her pixie cut), any kind of clothes….she carries it all with aplomb. Her beautiful chiseled features and her shapely body have made her a much in demand actress, having won the Academy Award for best actress in 2012 for her role in Monster’s Ball. She was one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood in the 2000s and has even played one of the most coveted roles of a Bond Girl called ‘Jinx’. We love you Halle!
14. Naomi Campbell
The 90s are synonymous with this supermodel! Naomi Campbell is known as much for her endless legs and gorgeous looks as for her relationships with famous men like Mike Tyson, Robert de Niro and Adam Clayton (U2 Bassist). The best thing about her is that she’s still going strong in 2014! Now that’s impressive.
15. Alicia Keys
Who doesn’t love this beautiful, talented singer who can mesmerize you with her singing skills, voice range and insane piano playing. Her debut album ‘Songs in A Minor’ has sold over 12 million copies around the world and has made her an artist to reckon with. Her most famous song ‘Fallin’ has captured millions of hearts everywhere, including ours!
16. Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith’s claim to fame is not the fact that she is Will Smith’s wife (how cute are they together though) but that she has been a successful actress in Hollywood with big budget films like The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Scream 2, The Nutty Professor, to name a few. She has her own band called the Wisdom Wisdom where she is the song writer and the singer. This multi-talented beauty also actively participates in charity and along with her rapper husband has formed the ‘Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation’ and deals with mainly youth related problems and the role of family support. Along with Trey, Jaden, and Willow, the Smiths make a picture perfect family!
17. Florence Griffith Joyner
If this name does not strike a chord with you, then this might help – Flo Jo. Now that must have definitely rung a bell, yes? Even though it has been almost two decades since she passed away, she still holds the record of being the fastest woman of all time! The world record that she had created in 1988 for both 100 m and 200 m are yet to be challenged. Remaining unbeaten for so long? Now that really is something, huh!
18. Aretha Franklin
A legend in her own right, Aretha Franklin started her music career by singing gospel in her father’s church. Who knew then that this lady would go on to win 18 Grammy awards becoming the best selling female artist of all time? She’s got the kind of voice that can make angels appear!
19. Ella Fitzgerald
A beautiful voice known for performing vocal jazz, swing and bebop, Fitzgerald was at one point in her life a homeless orphan and a runaway. From being a ‘lookout’ at a bordello to being placed in a state reformatory, her journey was definitely not a smooth one. She wanted to be a dancer when she was young and used to entertain her school friends during lunchtime and even while going to school. To think if she had stuck to dancing, what a gem the music world would have missed!
20. Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday, born as Eleanora Fagan and nicknamed as ‘Lady Day’ by her friend, musician Lester Young, was an eminent jazz singer and song writer. Known for her delivery and improvisation she has been known to influence many other famous singers including Frank Sinatra. She had had a particularly trying childhood having been abused extensively and had never received any formal training in singing. Her sensuous screen presence has made her a classic face of the Jazz age in America.
21. Diana Ross
Who can forget that hair? Did you know that before Diana Ross ventured out on her own she was a member of the band called ‘The Supremes’ during the 1960s which is till date America’s most successful vocal group and also one of the world’s most popular girl bands of all time? She has also been a successful actress in many films including ‘The Lady Sings the Blues’ essaying the role of the legendary Billie Holiday for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe Award!
22. Tina Turner
Tina Turner is known as one of the most successful female rock artists, a very rare award since rock n roll is essentially a domain of male artists. She has given innumerous hits and is considered to be one of the greatest on stage entertainers of all time. Seriously, you’ve got to watch her videos. She has won eight Grammy Awards and is listed as number 17 in Rolling Stones’ ‘The 100 greatest singers of all time’.
23. Natalie Cole
Natalie Maria Cole is the daughter of Nat King Cole and is a renowned R&B singer and songwriter. Having been exposed to jazz, blues and soul singers, she was always interested in singing. She started performing when she was little and sang for her father’s Christmas album at about six years of age! Now, that’s impressive.
24. Jennifer Hudson
This talented singer and actor first tasted fame as a singer as a finalist in American Idol. Later as an actress in the widely acclaimed movie ‘Dreamgirls’, Jennifer Hudson went on to win the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA and a Screenwriters Guild Award. She also won the Grammy Award for her debut album. Talk about being super talented! She also stunned the world with her dramatic weight loss and makeover and is now a certified fashionista!
25. Kerry Washington
Oh, what would we do without Scandal? Even if you’re not a fan of the show, you can’t ignore the amazing Oliva Pope played by the fabulous Kerry Washington. Not only is she as pretty as a peach, but she also has an impeccable sense of style! I for one live to see her red carpet dresses and she never disappoints. Of course, she’s also insanely talented having starred in movies like ‘Django Unchained’, ‘Ray’, ‘The last king of Scotland’ etc. She has been named as ‘One of the most influential people in the world’ by the Time magazine. We concur!
26. Zoe Saldana
This beautiful actress had initially planned to be a ballet dancer but later realized that she was not cut out for it. Ballet’s loss has been the film fraternity’s win! She has starred in blockbuster hits like Avatar, Star Trek, Guardians of the Galaxy, Crossroads etc. Zoe is statuesque, oh-so-stunning, and so sweet! And don’t even get us started about her fashion sense. Oo la la!
27. Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker was the first African American woman to appear in a movie. It was named Zouzou and was made in 1934. She was born in America but later in life became a famous dancer and entertainer in France. She is known to have refused to perform to segregated audiences in the US and is also known to have supported the French Resistance during the Second World War for which she was awarded the French Military Honor. Wow!
28. Venus Williams
The former number one tennis player, Venus Williams was the first African American to achieve the feat. As if that was not achievement enough, she has 4 Olympic Gold Medals in her kitty. She also holds the record of hitting the fastest serve by a woman. Tall, and athletic, Venus seems to have been born to rule the tennis world!
29. Serena Williams
Is it a matter of coincidence that a single family has two girls ruling the roost in the tennis world? Just like Venus, her younger sister Serena too simply refuses to let go of her rank in the tennis world and is currently ranked as number one. Known as being the girl with the grit, Serena has come back to win titles from seemingly impossible situations. Known to be as colorful on-court as off-court, Serena runs her own clothing line and is a certified nail technician. Truly an all rounder!
30. Gabrielle Union
Best known for her role in “Being Mary Jane”, Gabrielle Union is as pretty as they come! But she’s not just all beauty and no brains. She actually has a degree in sociology and was on the women’s soccer team in her college. Oh how we love multi-talented women!
31. Joy Bryant
An ex fashion model, and now an actress, Joy is best known for her role as Jasmine Trussell in Parenthood. She now has her own clothing line called Basic Terrain with husband David Pope. We wish this caramel skinned beauty nothing but sweet success!
32. Noémie Lenoir
This STUNNING model is the very definition of the word “exotic”. She owes her drop dead gorgeous looks to her mixed heritage. Best known for her stints in top magazines like Elle and Sports Illustrated, and also for her work with brands like Gucci, Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. this successful model certainly deserves a spot on our list!
Remember the most luscious red lips ever?! That’s Sade for you. The smooth, silky voice that emanates from those lips have mesmerized millions for almost three decades now. The lilting tunes of “Smooth Operator” and “No ordinary love” are just some of the songs she has sung. Sade is amazing, enough said!
34. Wanda Sykes
You must have seen this famous actress/comedienne in her many movie appearances including ‘Monster-in-Law’, ‘License to wed’, ‘My Super Ex girlfriend’ etc. She is also a successful voice artist lending her voice to many animated movies. She has been named as one of the 25 funniest people in America by ‘Entertainment Weekly’. Talented and a sense of humor? Love it!
35. Kelly Price
A powerful singer and a talented songwriter, Kelly Price started off her career as a backup vocalist for many big names in the music industry like Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Faith Evans, R. Kelly, and The Notorious B.I.G. She is actively involved in supporting research about breast cancer and donated her proceeds from her single ‘Love sets you free’ to a breast cancer research foundation. You’ve got to love a celebrity who gives back.
36. Rosario Dawson
This unconventional beauty has carved her niche in the entertainment world as an actress and singer. Working both in big budget films and indie movies, Rosario made her first appearance as a child in Sesame Street. She has also been seen in movies like Men in Black II, 25th Hour, Sin City, Clerks II, Percy Jackson and the Olympians : The Lightning Thief, etc.
37. Tracy Chapman
In this age of constant reporting of the self through social networking sites where both celebrities and normal civilians feel the need to let the world know minute details of their life, here’s a celebrity who will surprise you by keeping her personal life, well personal. Known for her social and political activism, she lets her work speak for herself. Of course you also know her for her timeless hits like “Fast Car” and “Give me one Reason”
38. Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett can be rightly described as a classical beauty, with her dark hair, sharp features and an alluring figure! In fact, she could easily be imagined as a Renaissance artist’s muse. Having graduated from the Yale University Drama school, Basset has proved her immense acting prowess through her work in biographical movies where she portrays strong women like Tina Turner and Betty Shabazz.
39. Janet Jackson
It is easy to disappear into the background in the overtly competitive music scene, especially if you have a brother who has attained the status of a living legend. But Janet Jackson was able to carve her niche in the music world, make her place in it and have an identity quite separate from her illustrious brother Michael Jackson. She has given us hits right from the 80s all the way to the 2000s. It’s safe to say that this beauty will be remembered and always loved for her contribution to the world of music.
40. Pam Grier
Director Quentin Tarantino has talked about Pam Grier being the first female action star in movies, and it’s true! She also appeared in one of his movies called Jackie Brown for which she received a nomination for Best Actress for the Golden Globe Awards. We love a woman who has spunk!
41. Lupita Nyungo
What can we possibly say about a woman as gorgeous and as talented as Lupita Nyungo? If you haven’t watched “12 Years a Slave” yet, you absolutely must. Lupita will move you to tears with her powerful performance. She has a Master’s degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama. She was also named “The most beautiful woman of 2014″ by People’s magazine and we couldn’t agree more. She looks regal every single time she’s on the red carpet and it’s hard to believe that this gorgeous woman actually had insecurities about her looks at some point.
42. Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in the musical film ‘Porgy and Bess’. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for the same movie . She also has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Her role in Carmen Jones also gave her the recognition of being the first Hollywood African American sex symbol. Oo la la!
43. Jayne Kennedy
Jayne Kennedy is an American actress who was also the first African American to win the Miss Ohio USA beauty pageant title. This was truly revolutionary to say the least. She is also a recipient of the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in the 1981 movie ‘Body and Soul’.
44. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill’s solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and includes some of her best known hits like “Doo Woop”, “Ex-Factor” and “Everything is everything”. Did you know that Lauryn shared a romantic relationship with her fellow band mate when she was a member of the Fugees and that the relationship was the reason for the breakup of the band?
45. Phylicia Rashad
Phylicia Rashad is an actress and a singer and also the first African American woman to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play in ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. She also received an NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Image Award for her role. She is however known mainly for her role in the sitcom ‘The Cosby Show’.
46. Alek Wek
Alek Wek doesn’t fit the conventional standards of beauty but she sure is gorgeous! Lupita Nyongo and Oprah Winfrey have both confessed that Alek Wek has inspired them to be proud of their African heritage. Having escaped from the Sudanese Civil War, Alek lived in Britain for a while. She started her modeling career there, but currently lives in New York. She is super successful and we can’t imagine her slowing down anytime soon. She is such an inspiration to many little girls and we adore her!
47. Laila Ali
Laila Ali’s only claim to fame is certainly not the fact that she is Mohammed Ali’s daughter. She is a renowned boxer herself and remains undefeated. It is said that her father was disappointed when she told him of her decision to join boxing because of the dangers involved in the game. But she managed to convince him and boy are we glad she did. Did you know that Ali was a manicurist till she was sixteen years old and owned her own nail salon before she joined boxing? Laila Ali is married to NFL player Curtis Conway.
48. Erykah Badu
Though we know Erykah Badu mainly as a jazz and R&B singer, she is also an actress and an activist. As an actress she has appeared in movies like ‘The Cider House Rules’, ‘Blues Brothers 2000’ and ‘House of D’. Known for her distinctive singing style, she has been nick named as the ‘Queen of neosoul’. Erykah was known for wearing large and colorful head dresses, mainly wraps. What fun!
49. Leslie Uggams
Leslie Uggams is an actress and singer mainly known for her role in the TV miniseries ‘Roots”. She has played a leading role in ‘All my children’ and in the Broadway musical ‘Hallelujah Baby’ for which she won the Tony award for Best Actress in a musical. She also had her own Television Variety Show called ‘The Leslie Uggams Show’ in 1969. This was revolutionary at that time because this was the ‘first network variety show’ that was being hosted by an African American.She also lent her voice to the song ‘Give me that old time religion’ in the movie ‘Inherit the Wind’.
50. Uzo Aduba
Fans of the “Orange is the New Black” series know her as Suzanne or “Crazy Eyes”. Not only is she beautiful in her own way but she’s also got mad talent! She’s one of my personal favorites on the show and she more than deserved to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a
That brings us to an end of the list of the most beautiful black women of all time. Who is/are your favorite/s? Tell us below!