From The BVX — While the lack of diversity in the white-washed fashion world is apparent, theBVX would like to salute the Black power players who are pushing the business forward. Though the influence of these key people fluctuates year to year, we feel these ten are the heaviest hitters in 2010.
1. Tyra Banks
The first Black woman to grace the covers of GQ and the Sports Illustrated ‘Swimsuit’ issue in the 1990’s, Banks, 36, has continued to break barriers even after retiring from modeling in 2005. Earnings from the 7-year-old, globally syndicated series “America’s Next Top Model,” which Banks hosts and executive produces, put her at the top of Forbes‘ list of the highest earning women in prime-time television, after netting $30 million in 2009. Of course, Banks is influential in day-time television, as well, winning an Emmy for “The Tyra Banks Show,” which she will say farewell to in 2011.
Naturally, Banks won’t sit still after it ends, though. It’s been announced that she is entering the publishing world with a book series dubbed “Modelland” and has also re-signed with IMG Models. Now that’s something to smile ear-to-ear about.
2. Naomi Campbell
While the 40-year-old model has inspired as many bad headlines as good, she’s still the most influential Black model in the game, 20 years and running. A part of the “Big Six” supermodels of the 1990’s, alongside Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista, Campbell has more Vogue covers than any other black model and has appeared in iconic videos with artists like Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and George Micheal.
Her age-defying body is still gracing high profile ads and her organization, Fashion for Haiti, held two celeb-studded benefit runway shows in 2010 which displayed her enduring pull in the industry and her power as a philanthropist. of the “Big Six” supermodels of the 1990’s, alongside Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista, Campbell has more Vogue covers than any other Black model and has appeared in iconic videos with artists like Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and George Micheal.
3. André Leon Talley
While most folks in mainstream America hadn’t heard of Andre Leon Talley until he appeared as a judge on “America’s Next Top Model” this past season, Vogue‘s flamboyant editor-at-large (now a “contributing editor”) has been pulling the strings backstage at the world’s most powerful fashion magazine for decades.
The 60-year-old editor has taken a number of designers of color underneath his wing, including Rachel Roy and the newcomer Laquan Smith. He has also been a cheerleader and style mentor for Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Hudson and Michelle Obama, helping get those ladies and others into the pages and onto the cover of the fashion bible.
4. Bethann Hardison
Hardison has helped change the notion of beauty within the fashion industry through her work as a model, then modeling agent from the 1980’s to the present. First discovered by African American designer Willi Smith in the late 1960s, Hardison became one of the first Black models to make an impact before heading behind-the-scenes as a model agent.
She started Bethann Management in 1984, a company which helped score Veronica Webb a highly coveted Revlon contract, propelled Tyson Beckford to become the first Black male in a Ralph Lauren campaign and assisted hundreds of other Black models, big time and small, in various ways. The always outspoken Hardison teamed up with Iman in the late 80’s to create the Black Girls Coalition and has continued to raise questions about racism in the industry and provoke change.
5. Robin Givhan
One of the most revered fashion journalists today, The Washington Post’s fashion editor Robin Givhan won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for criticism, the first time a fashion writer has ever walked away with the esteemed award. The Princeton grad worked at Detroit Free Press, the San Francisco Chronicle and Vogue before beginning her 15-year reign at the Post. In that time, her uber-intelligent trend analysis and show reviews have become must-reads for all industry types. In 2009, she stationed herself in Washington D.C. to cover the always fascinating Michelle Obama sartorial beat.