It was 1967. While “Black is Beautiful” sounded a vigorous call to confront and love our authentic African selves, Naomi became “the first black woman accepted as a beauty in her own right,” as she was later described. Her image of authoritative ebony inspired all women of color to pride. Never had a model so dark-skinned received so much exposure, praise and professional prestige. She strode through the pages of Vogue and across billboards for Virginia Slims cigarettes. “Nothing was too good for a picture,” she says in her precise dramatic voice. “The editors would call for more fantasy. I gave them elegance and regality. We were reaching for the stars.”
above, excerpted from naomisims.com
Naomi is a Darkjive icon. It’s not just her outward beauty that we admire. It’s that strut, that palpable pride: “Black is Beautiful” personified. Jive on.
UPDATE: Naomi Sims died of cancer Saturday, August 1, 2009. I am so glad that I spoke of her glory while she still walked among us. She was more than a magazine clipping I posted on my wall in high school. She was, and is an icon of regality in the truest definition.