You would think Marilyn Monroe was still alive and gracing the big screen the way admiration for the actress and model has withstood the test of time. If there’s one woman whose reign as a classic beauty hasn’t let up, it’s her.

Her curves have been the symbol of voluptuous beauty for the modern-day plus-sized woman, her hair proves the age-old saying that blondes have more fun, her unending sexiness has given women liberty to let their skirts blow in the wind and not care who sees, and now it seems more than ever, she’s even become a beauty icon for black women.

Thinking about Nicki Minaj and Brianna Perry who both recently dropped tracks titled “Marilyn Monroe,” and the countless celebs like Rihanna and Amber Rose who’ve emulated her look, I had to ask a friend who’s obsessed with the star what the deal is. Marilyn is beautiful and all but if we’re talking about a standard of beauty we could actually aspire to, she would not be it no matter how much skin and hair dye money can buy. As expected, my friend pointed out Marilyn’s gorgeous features and when I said, what about Lena Horne, she commented that as beautiful as Lena was, she wasn’t known for her beauty in the same way. She argued people talked more about what Lena Horne did than how she looked, and said Marilyn had a seductiveness that appealed to the masses. I argued that that appeal was no coincidence and brought Josephine Baker, a black woman who exuded sexiness, into the picture, which only led us into a long, heated discussion about why these black icons of beauty didn’t get the same shine as Marilyn, and which ended on the note, does it even matter?

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  • Regina

    I love MM, but what about Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine baker, Bille Holiday, sarah vaughan. These were and still are some of the most influential women in todays society. I look to them for inspiration. This barbie trend has played out also. There are sooo many beautiful black women we can look to for inspiration, its time we stop running to MM for inspiration and find out own.

  • Alana

    To me Marilyn Monroe is or was only a name. She doesn’t really personify “style” compared to Liz Taylor. There were many colored actresses in same era who could smoke MM in style and class any day of week.

  • Miss September

    I think MM was beautiful , but she is no comparison to the beauty of
    Sophia Loren or Liz Taylor . I think they are highly underrated . MM’s
    appeal to me is based on her image . She played the ditzy blonde, helpless
    siren well . That to me is why so many idolize her today , not based soley
    on her looks . Far as black women , imitating the MM persona . I say do it ! I once was MM for halloween , and I loved the red lips and blonde hair

  • Jasmin

    Actually, The GORGEOUS Dorothy Dandridge would be a more apt comparison to Marilyn Monroe than Lena Horne. If I had to choose, i’d rather look like Dorothy than Marilyn. To argue that Lena Horne was not celebrated for her beauty in the same way as Monroe makes no sense. To African Americans of the time, she WAS the standard bearer of Black beauty. What Black actress of the time could have, or WOULD have, competed with the white, blond fantasy woman that was Marilyn Monroe? Let’s not forget that Monroe died young. That’s a huge part of her enduring legend. Had she lived a long life, her beauty would have faded bigtime–LONG before Lena’s. In fact, Lena Horne was still remarkably beautiful at 80. I doubt the same would have been said for Monroe.

    If Black celebrities want or dress up like Monroe, that’s their business. With the exception of Zoe Saldana, Halle Berry, Beyonce (sometimes) and a few others, most of them look like fools, anyway (are you listening Nicki and Rihanna?) If they think that dressing up like Monroe will help legitiimize or enhance their beauty, it won’t. They just look like Halloween characters.

  • RosefromPittsburgh

    I agree. A lot of theses black women do not like their blackness. It’s sad that theses black women want to idolize a woman that did nothing for the black community. We need to celebrate our own women do see any shite women idolize get any black famous woman? Get it together black women.