To celebrate its 65th anniversary issue and icons of the past
and present, EBONY magazine asked their favorite entertainers to pose
in modern-day recreations of those covers for a one-of-a-kind look back
at the past.
Featuring: Regina King (as Eartha
Kitt), Mary J. Blige (as Diana Ross), Nia Long (as Dorothy Dandridge),
John Legend (as Duke Ellington), Lamman Rucker (as Richard Roundtree),
Taraji P. Henson (as Diahann Carroll), Blair Underwood (as Sidney
Poitier), Jurnee Smollett (as Lena Horne), Usher Raymond (as Sammy
Davis, Jr.), and Samuel L. Jackson (as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.),
Black history lessons in classrooms shouldn’t be limited to the names of men and only a few women. Especially when there are countless women who’ve made enormous strides for the black community, too.
The revolutionary words Angela Davis spoke, the record-breaking feats of Wilma Rudolph and the glass ceiling-shattering efforts of Shirley Chisolm paved the way for black women and girls across the country to dream big and act courageously.
Here are 28 phenomenal women everyone should acquaint themselves with this black history month.
A few Black actresses from 1900s-1980s. Some have shaken the foundation of Old Hollywood, and others have carved out a place in contemporary films.
“I never felt the chance to rise above the role of a maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity 'Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Theresa Harris +
“You cannot leave this show! Do you not understand what you are doing?! You are the first non-stereotypical role in television! Of intelligence, and of a woman and a woman of color?! That you are playing a role that is not about your color! That this role could be played by anyone? This is not a black role. This is not a female role! A blue eyed blond or a pointed ear green person could take this role!”. MLK to Nichelle Nichols, who was planning on leaving Star Trek +
“I have never tried to pass for white and never had any desire. I am proud of my race. In Imitation of Life. I was showing how a girl might feel under the circumstances but I am not showing how I felt. I was slightly uncomfortable while making the scene where I stood before the mirror asking, “Am I not white?” No person who strives to be the least bit intelligent should allow a thing like color, something for which none of us is responsible, to mar his life or influence his judgment.” Fredi Washington +
Lena Horne with her dresser on the set of Stormy Weather (Andrew L. Stone, 1943), one of only 2 films in the 1930′s and 40′s in which Horne had a lead role. Otherwise, though under contract to MGM, she was cast in musical short subjects or, when part of a big MGM musical, she was in isolated numbers that could be easily edited out for films shown in the segregated South.
Actress and singer Lena Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. She left school at age 16 to help support her family and became a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem. After having established herself as a sought after live singer, a role she would maintain throughout her life, she later signed with MGM studios and became known as one of the top African-American performers of her time, seen in such films as Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. She was also known for her work with civil rights groups and refused to play roles that stereotyped African-American women, a stance that many found controversial. After some time out of the limelight during the ‘70s, she made a revered, award-winning comeback with her 1981 show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Continuing to record into her later years, Horne died on May 9, 2010.