1. Madam C.J. Walker
Hair loss sparked Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) to develop a line of hair-care products just for African-American women in the early 1900s — and her entrepreneurial efforts led her to become one of the first female self-made millionaires in America.
2. Naomi Sims
After appearing on the November cover of Ladies’ Home Journal the year before, Sims made headlines when she graced the cover of LIFE magazine in 1969 — the first Black model to do so.
3. Beverly Johnson
American Vogue made history with its August 1974 cover featuring
Beverly Johnson, who was the first Black woman to hold the honor. Johnson told NPR of the moment: “I realized that this was a huge responsibility that was placed on my shoulders as a way of really breaking the color barrier in the fashion industry.”
4. Tracey Norman
Tracey “Africa” Norman was the first Black transgender model to land a major cosmetics campaign. In the mid-1970s, she snagged a contract with hair color brand Clairol. Norman didn’t disclose that she was transgender at the time out of fear it might damage her career.
5. Lisa Price
In 1993, Lisa Price began developing hair and skin products out of her Brooklyn kitchen alongside her mother Carol. The now wildly popular brand, Carol’s Daughter, caters especially to women with natural, curly textures.