The Most Iconic Black Beauty Looks of All Time

The Most Iconic Black Beauty Looks of All Time
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Photo: Getty Images/Allison Kahler

Black history simply isn’t complete without black women. Beyond their unique outward beauty, these ladies have broken boundaries and influenced others through their hard work. Hollywood still has a way to go in terms of inclusivity, but these actresses, singers, and all-around entertainers are leading the charge to ensure that younger generations can see themselves reflected in film, television, and magazines.

MORE: Lupita Nyong’o Uses This ‘Gentle’ Oil as Makeup Remover

And although we love celebrating these change-makers year-round, it’s only right that we up the ante for Black History Month. Ahead, we look back at 30 looks that helped shape how women of color see themselves. From Billie Holiday’s flowery updo to Beyonce’s “Lemonade” braids, we have a feeling you’re already familiar with some of these standout moments.

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STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys

When the singer first entered the spotlight, she arrived in straight-back cornrows, which she wore religiously through the release of her second album, "The Diary of Alicia Keys."

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Angela Davis
Angela Davis

The former Black Panther and political activist has long been associated with the Afro, a black-centric style she wore as a form of protest against Eurocentric beauty standards.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge

The groundbreaking actress became the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar after starring in "Carmen Jones," where she sported this iconic hairstyle with a rose tucked behind her ear.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Eve
Eve

Long before she was a cohost on "The Talk," the rapper and actress rocked a blonde buzz cut that made everyone want to do the big chop.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Grace Jones
Grace Jones

An icon in every sense of the word, Jones has always marched to the beat of her own drum, rocking standout fashion and a close-cut coif that showed off her gorgeous cheekbones.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Janelle Monae
Janelle Monáe

For the first few years of her singing career, Monáe's uniform was a black-and-white tuxedo and this sleek pompadour hairstyle.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker

With her wide smile, dark lipstick, and slicked-down hair, Baker became one of the most recognizable faces of the Harlem Renaissance.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lisa Bonet
Lisa Bonet

After leaving "The Cosby Show," the actress began embracing a bohemian style that included the waist-length locs she still wears to this day.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o

When the actress won her Oscar for "12 Years a Slave" in 2014, she also became a modern-day hair icon in her teeny-weeny Afro.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles

The singer's "A Seat at the Table" album cover marked the unexpected comeback of duckbill clips.

STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Zendaya
Zendaya

The former Disney Channel star made headlines in 2015 after calling out TV host Giuliana Rancic for unfairly critiquing her locs at the Academy Awards.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday

Lady Day was rarely seen on stage without a flower tucked behind her ear.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Brandy
Brandy

The singer and actress was the unofficial face of microbraids throughout the '90s.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lil Kim
Lil Kim

From her colorful wigs in the "Crush on You" video to her infamous pastie ensemble at the MTV VMAs, the Bad Boy rapper has delivered more than a few iconic beauty looks.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Rihanna
Rihanna

In 2007, this good girl officially went bad and chopped her hair into a killer jet-black asymmetrical bob. Jaws dropped everywhere.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Pam Grier
Pam Grier

The blaxploitation era gave us many gifts, including an Afro-licious Grier, who starred in many of the cult-favorite genre films.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Donyale Luna
Donyale Luna

In 1966, she became the first black woman to cover a Vogue magazine on British Vogue. Just look at that smize!

Photo: Vogue
Beyoncé

We'll forever associate this image of the powerhouse performer's cornrows with her tour-de-force album, "LEMONADE."

Photo: Instagram/@beyonce
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Halle Berry
Halle Berry

When she became the first black woman to win a "Best Actress" Oscar, Berry was still rocking the pixie haircut that made her a '90s beauty icon.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell

We'll forever associate middle-parted, waist-length hair with the fierce supermodel.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston

Long before her untimely death, the singer and actress's curly locks and vibrant makeup made her one of the most recognizable pop stars of the '80s.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Florence Joyner
Florence Griffith Joyner

The legendary Olympian broke records and won medals, all while maintaining a set of long, stiletto nails that ultimately became her signature.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Sade
Sade

Who rocked a red lip and braided ponytail better than the British songstress? We'll wait...

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt

The "Santa Baby" singer cemented her place in history when she rocked a cat-eye and catsuit as Catwoman in the 1960s "Batman" TV series.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lena Horne
Lena Horne

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, Horne mesmerized film and stage audiences with her porcelain skin and megawatt smile.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

She's the first First Lady of color. Enough said.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Iman
Iman

Before she gifted us with IMAN Cosmetics, the African model's slender features and beautiful brown skin covered the world's biggest fashion magazines.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Tina Turner
Tina Turner

The legs. The hair. The cheekbones. Look up the term rock star and surely a picture of Turner will be next to it.

Photo: Getty Images
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Beverly Johnson
Beverly Johnson

She's a modeling pioneer and the first black woman to cover American Vogue.

Photo: Vogue
STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks

Back in 1997, the model-preneur and "Top Model" host became the first black woman to snag a solo "Sports Illustrated" cover.

Photo: Sport's Illustrated

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The Swim Trends You'll See Everywhere This Year

The Swim Trends You'll See
Everywhere This Year
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Alicia Keys
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Angela Davis
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Dorothy Dandridge
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Eve
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Grace Jones
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Janelle Monae
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Josephine Baker
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lisa Bonet
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lupita Nyong'o
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Solange Knowles
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Zendaya
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Billie Holiday
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Brandy
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lil Kim
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Rihanna
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Pam Grier
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Donyale Luna
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Beyonce
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Halle Berry
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Naomi Campbell
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Whitney Houston
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Florence Joyner
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Sade
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Eartha Kitt
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Lena Horne
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Michelle Obama
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Iman
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Tina Turner
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Beverly Johnson
  • STYLECASTER | Iconic Black Beauty Looks | Tyra Banks

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