Black people have been fabulous for a long time and author/writer/social media maven Nichelle Gainer knew it. That’s why she created the Tumblr site Vintage Black Glamour (now also on Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and Instagram to showcase the style and glamour of Black people while also providing a window onto a history that tells more than just the story of slavery.
Vintage Black Glamour is a visual record of movie stars, singers, models, writers, dancers, students, politicians, athletes and even regular folks who were well-dressed, sophisticated and gorgeously turned out. All the images are accompanied by historical information that includes who is pictured and what they accomplished, In many cases, there are surprising historical moments similar to our own Little Known Black History Facts.
Gainer’s intent was always to create a lavish coffee table book to showcase that history and that has come to pass. In June, Essential World/Rocket 88 Books will publish her dream come true – a book that proves that style, fashion and sophistication are also a significant part of our history. We caught up with Gainer to ask what the book and the vision were all about.
Blackamericaweb.com: What gave you the idea for Vintage Black Glamour in the first place?
Nichelle Gainer: I started the Tumblr site to generate interest for what I always knew would be a book. I conceived Vintage Black Glamour in 20005 as the coffee table book that it would be. I came up with the idea because I love coffee table books. I’d go to any number of bookstores and you’d see awesome books with Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and some of the great socialites like Babe Paley. In researching a novel, I saw an array of Black people from all walks of life and I was disappointed but not surprised that I didn’t see more of that in coffee table books. The other reason was my two aunts. One was a fashion model in the 50’s in fashion shows and beauty contests and another aunt was an opera singer. I knew there were more women like both of my aunts.
You’ve gotten a great response to Vintage Black Glamour through social media. Did that surprise you?
I was surprised how fast it grew. But I knew there were more people like me. I’m no different than anyone else. I grew up in the 80’s and my textbooks didn’t have a lot of Black history cultural or otherwise. There were the standard things in there so I knew people had things missing from their history books just like I did. I knew there would be people knocked out by the pictures like I was. Not just the celebrities but [other people.] Information is powerful. I’m flattered when teachers tell me they’ve used some of the things we’ve shared or when parents tell me they’re going to have their kids to do a report someone we’ve shown that they never heard of before. So that’s what it’s about so people can get the fullness of our history because Black history is American history.
History of Black Fabulousness Inspires New Book was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
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