Saturday, July 7, 2012

What do Ultra-Feminine Black Celebrities Have in Common?

I was uploading photos to Tumblr the other day and I noticed some interesting commonalities among these women who often portray EBW traits. These women tend to appear feminine and elegant in public, television and movie roles, and in their music style. They tend to dress in a feminine way, they are in shape, poised, well-mannered, sophisticated, sweet, classy, physically attractive, and many appear on the "attractive women" lists of People and men's magazines. In film and television roles they are often portrayed as wives, girlfriends, or love interests and not as racial stereotypes. They rarely appear hard, masculine, or "hood" in real life but occasionally they do for roles (e.g., Thandie Newton). 

The women may not display EBW traits all the time but I think it is a good list but of course it is not exhaustive. Furthermore, there is also a bias because these are the celebrities I know and prefer (some may disagree and feel someone belongs on the list that I don't, for instance Halle Berry or Alisha Keys). Given the fantastic nature of the internet you can watch and read content about all of these women (and many more) at any time to be inspired! I would recommend looking at their photo shoots online (e.g., at my Tumblr site) because their photos depict them as EBWs even if some of their roles do not. Focus your entertainment consumption on these women instead of the negative and stereotypical depictions (e.g., reality TV) and take control of your own happiness. EBWs exist!

EBW Role Models

  1. Josephine Baker
  2. Tyra Banks
  3. Angela Bassett
  4. Garcelle Beauvais
  5. Naomi Campbell
  6. Diahann Carroll
  7. Pat Cleveland
  8. Angel Coulby (from Merlin)
  9. Dorothy Dandridge
  10. Viola Davis
  11. Robin Givens
  12. Lena Horne
  13. Whitney Houston 
  14. Iman
  15. Janet Jackson
  16. Beverly Johnson
  17. Saana Lathan (what man wouldn't want to date a woman like this?)
  18. Nia Long
  19. Audra McDonald
  20. Tia and Tamera Mowry
  21. Thandie Newton
  22. Michelle Obama
  23. Paula Patton
  24. Phylica Rashad
  25. Diana Ross
  26. Tracee Ellis-Ross (natural hair, feminine and fashionable wardrobe, portrayed as an educated professional...EBW gold!)
  27. Sade
  28. Zoe Saldana
  29. Naomi Sims
  30. Jordan Sparks
  31. Gina Torres
  32. Gabrielle Union
  33. Lark Voorhees (as Lisa Turtle)
  34. Kerry Washington (some of the most beautiful EBW photos I have depict this woman. She knows how to wear a red lip and look super elegant in public)
  35. Rutina Wesley
  36. Kelly Williams
  37. Vanessa Williams
So there are actually enough EBW role models out there for someone who needs one! I have collected photos of these women and others on Tumblr because it helps me to see feminine fashions, makeup, and demeanor in photos of women who look like me. By seeing Black women who appear to have the image I want my goal doesn't seem impossible or strange. Of course I do not know much about how these women behave in real life and there are some instances where their behaviour is questionable (e.g., Naomi Campbell's anger problem, Whiteny Houston's problems R.I.P.). But no one is perfect and I can just focus on their positive traits. Did you notice anything about the list? Well here's what I noticed...

Biracial 9/37 (some women may be missing from this category)

  1. Angel Coulby
  2. Lena Horne
  3. Tia and Tamera Mowry
  4. Paula Patton
  5. Tracee Ellis-Ross
  6. Sade
  7. Zoe Saldana?  (Dominican and Puerto Rican)
  8. Jordan Sparks
  9. Vanessa Williams

Not Born in the United States or not considered African American 8/37

  1. Garcelle Beauvais
  2. Naomi Campbell
  3. Angel Coulby
  4. Iman
  5. Thandie Newton
  6. Sade
  7. Zoe Saldana 
  8. Gina Torres (Cuban)

History of Interracial Dating or Marriage 21/37 (names may be missing from the list)

  1. Josephine Baker*
  2. Garcelle Beauvais
  3. Naomi Campbell
  4. Diahann Carroll*
  5. Pat Cleveland
  6. Dorothy Dandridge*
  7. Robin Givens
  8. Lena Horne*
  9. Tamera Mowry
  10. Iman
  11. Janet Jackson
  12. Audra McDonald
  13. Thandie Newton
  14. Paula Patton
  15. Diana Ross
  16. Zoe Saldana
  17. Naomi Sims
  18. Lark Voorhees
  19. Kerry Washington
  20. Rutina Wesley
  21. Kelly Williams
*very interesting given the times
History of Interracial Relationship Film/Television Roles 22/37 (names may be missing. Based on my knowledge and This List)
  1. Tyra Banks
  2. Angela Bassett
  3. Naomi Campbell
  4. Angel Coulby
  5. Dorothy Dandridge
  6. Robin Givens
  7. Lena Horne
  8. Whitney Houston
  9. Beverly Johnson
  10. Saana Lathan
  11. Nia Long
  12. Audra McDonald
  13. Thandie Newton
  14. Paula Patton
  15. Diana Ross
  16. Zoe Saldana
  17. Gina Torres
  18. Gabrielle Union
  19. Lark Voorhees
  20. Kerry Washington
  21. Rutina Wesley
  22. Vanessa Williams

Not Fitting in Any Category 3/37 (to my knowledge)
  1. Viola Davis
  2. Michelle Obama
  3. Phylica Rashad

So what does this all mean? Well I guess some people would revoke "Black cards" from 34/37 of the women on my EBW list lol!


  1. For the love of god Zoe Saldana is a black women-- not biracial. Puerto Rican and Dominican is not a race. She has TWO black parents that happen to be latino. Latino is not a race.

  2. Hello Moionfire,

    Sorry but I do not know Zoe Saldana or her parents and I have not seen a photo of her parents. I read on Wikipedia that her parents are Puerto Rican and Dominican and I assumed Puerto Rican meant Hispanic like Jennifer Lopez or Rosie Perez who are not Black. There is no need to get upset.

    Like I wrote above, some women may be missing from the list, Zoe may not belong there but I really don't know. It's not that serious. Based on this link ( she may be multiracial. I will put a question mark beside her name.

  3. I love the confidence these women carry about their posture and body

  4. Zoe Saldana self-identifies as a black woman. She has said so in both English & Spanish. There are black Latinos.

  5. Zoe Saldana identifies as Black Latina (I believe), and YES Dominican and Puerto Rican are not a race. They are nationalities and ethnicities. There are only three races: White, Black, Asian. She would be considered all three.

  6. Please stop making comments about Zoe Saldana. The topic is dead and it really isn't that important. This blog isn't about who's Black and who isn't debates. Thanks :)