Behold, the era of celebrating iconic Black women.

When R&B singer Summer Walker attended the 2022 annual BET Awards, the internet buzzed over her outfit. She wore a Laurel Street two-piece miniskirt and bralette made of black crystals and gold coins as she strutted the red carpet. Fans noticed a striking similarity between the singer and the legendary Josephine Baker. Baker, a famous Black singer, dancer, and actress wore a similar ensemble in her heyday.

Who Is Josephine Baker?

Josephine Baker is a famous Black artist and one of the most iconic Black women in Hollywood. Recognized for her sultry voice and dance moves, she entertained crowds all over the world. Her signature “banana dance” enthralled fans in Paris, which quickly set her on the map as one of the most beautiful Black bombshells in the world. And in 1927, she became the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, “Siren of the Tropics.”

Screenshot of Twitter user praised Beyonce's banana dance
Photo Credit: taqkii via Twitter

Aside from her beauty, many celebrated her flamboyant fashions, a mix of her African-American roots, American flapper, and French Bourgeois style. Her signature red lip and curled hair inspired a generation of women.

The Impact Of The Iconic Black Bombshells

Josephine Baker isn’t the first nor the last to do it. Before her, many other iconic Black women paved the way for Black beauty to be represented in the mainstream. Because of them, celebrities like Beyonce, Halle Berry, and Rihanna are celebrated by the masses today. Here are five of the most iconic Black women bombshells that you can channel for style inspo:

Dorothy Dandridge

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Albert Minasian (@drminasianalbert)

Dorothy Jean Dandridge is a Black American actress, singer, and dancer. She’s best known for her starring role alongside legendary singer Harry Belafonte in the 1954 film “Carmen Jones.” Fans praised her performance in the film, which eventually led to her nomination for the “Academy Award for Best Actress,” a first for Black women.

She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in the film “Porgy and Bess.” And her sultry voice landed her a brief stint at the Mocambo Club in Hollywood, where she sang along with Desi Arnaz’s band. She also performed at the iconic Apollo Theater and many other venues.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BoatHer Life (@boatherlife)

Dandridge became an international star and household name for her beauty and elegant, feminine style. Her talents earned her a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where she’s remembered today.

Pam Grier

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ (@linas.vault)

Pam Grier is a famous Black actress known for her beauty and curvy figure. She often played the femme fatale in blaxploitation movies, such as “The Bird in the Cage,” “Sheba Baby,” and “Coffy.” However, many people recognize her as “Foxy Brown,” a powerful and sexy character who takes on a gang of white drug dealers after they murdered her boyfriend.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Laurent Courau (@laurentcourau)

A symbol of Black beauty, she inspired a generation of men and women, one of which includes famed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino called her “cinema’s first female action star” and even directed a film honoring her career in which she starred as “Jackie Brown.”

Diana Ross

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 🌙✨ (@glitterglovex)

Diana Ross is an American singer and actress known for her playful, feminine demeanor. She influenced people of all backgrounds, including Michael Jackson, whom she starred alongside in the cult-classic movie “The Wiz.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rock Music History (@rockhistation)

Before that, she debuted as the lead vocalist for the girl group, The Supremes. The group earned massive fame as Motown’s most successful act in the 1960s. They eventually went on to become one of the top-selling girl groups of all time.

One of the greatest to ever do it, her beauty and style are recognized globally. She’s considered one of the most iconic Black women due to her signature glam, disco aesthetic. The original IT girl, Ross was and still is a major Hollywood talent.

Eartha Kitt

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Eartha kitt (@eartha_kitt)

The original HBIC, Eartha Kitt was a multi-talented singer, dancer, comedian, and actress. Fans recognize her for her unique, sultry voice in the classic Christmas song “Santa Baby” that captivated millions around the world.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Eartha kitt (@eartha_kitt)

Kitt was also well-known for her starring role as Catwoman in the 1960s television series “Batman.” She oozed sex appeal both on and off set in her form-fitting gowns, leopard print, and flirty, casualwear.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Eartha kitt (@eartha_kitt)

Her sensual voice and style charmed men worldwide, with the famed American filmmaker Orson Welles calling her “the most exciting woman in the world.”

Joyce Bryant

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Robyn LaBeaud (@joycebryantofficial)

Dubbed “the Black Marilyn Monroe,” Joyce Bryant is one of the most iconic Black women in Hollywood history. She rose to fame as a singer and actress who performed at various theaters and nightclubs in the mid-1900s.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Robyn LaBeaud (@joycebryantofficial)

Fans called her “the Bronze Blonde Bombshell” due to her signature silver hair and form-fitting mermaid dresses. But she was much more than that. Bryant was a talented singer whose vocal range spanned four octaves. And because of her beauty and talent, she became a popular headliner on many famous stages across the country.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Robyn LaBeaud (@joycebryantofficial)

She went on to inspire women of all races, including famed singer Etta James who called her style “brave and independent.”

black girl magicblack women in hollywoodinspo