The Most Iconic Black Beauty Looks of All Time

by Nikki Brown
Feb 24, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. ET

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 actors, singers and all-around entertainers are leading the charge to ensure younger generations can see themselves reflected in film, television and magazines.

And although we love celebrating these changemakers year-round, it’s only right 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 Beyoncé’s Lemonade braids, we have a feeling you’re already familiar with some of these standout moments.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

1 /30: Alicia Keys

1/30 :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.

2 /30: Angela Davis

2/30 :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.

3 /30: Dorothy Dandridge

3/30 :Dorothy Dandridge

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

4/30 :Eve

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

5 /30: Grace Jones

5/30 :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.

6 /30: Janelle Monáe

6/30 :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.

7 /30: Josephine Baker

7/30 :Josephine Baker

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

8 /30: Lisa Bonet

8/30 :Lisa Bonet

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

9 /30: Lupita Nyong'o

9/30 :Lupita Nyong'o

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

10 /30: Solange Knowles

10/30 :Solange Knowles

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

11 /30: Zendaya

11/30 :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.

12 /30: Billie Holiday

12/30 :Billie Holiday

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

13 /30: Brandy

13/30 :Brandy

The singer and actor was the unofficial face of micro-braids throughout the '90s.

14 /30: Lil' Kim

14/30 :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.

15 /30: Rihanna

15/30 :Rihanna

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

16 /30: Pam Grier

16/30 :Pam Grier

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

17 /30: Donyale Luna

17/30 :Donyale Luna

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

18 /30: Beyoncé

18/30 :Beyoncé

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

19 /30: Halle Berry

19/30 :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.

20 /30: Naomi Campbell

20/30 :Naomi Campbell

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

21 /30: Whitney Houston

21/30 :Whitney Houston

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

22 /30: Florence Griffith Joyner

22/30 :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.

23 /30: Sade

23/30 :Sade

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

24 /30: Eartha Kitt

24/30 :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.

25 /30: Lena Horne

25/30 :Lena Horne

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

26 /30: Michelle Obama

26/30 :Michelle Obama

She's the first first lady of color. Enough said.

27 /30: Iman

27/30 :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.

28 /30: Tina Turner

28/30 :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.

29 /30: Beverly Johnson

29/30 :Beverly Johnson

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

30 /30: Tyra Banks

30/30 :Tyra Banks

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