Abstract: But You Don't Look Like a Negro: African American Entrepreneurs in Female Beauty Culture during the Mid-Twentieth Century

Jennifer Malia McAndrew


This paper examines the work of African American businesswomen in the fields of fashion, modeling, charm, and cosmetology. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, this entrepreneurial community used their business ventures to change the public image of the black female body is the United States and to grant African American women greater economic opportunity. My paper analyzes the transnational networks that black beauty culturists set up in Europe and Africa during this time period. I argue that these international projects played an integral role in facilitating African American beauty entrepreneurs' domestic goals.