For decades, Barbara Smith or B. Smith as she was affectionately known stood as a titan for black entrepreneurship, modeling and more. When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she, her husband Dan Gasby and daughter Dana continued to tell her story and keep her brand alive.
Sadly, B. Smith passed away on Saturday night in the family’s Long Island home. She was 70.
Gasby announced the death of the groundbreaking model, restaurant owner and lifestyle guru saying, “It is with great sadness that my daughter Dana and I announce the passing of my wife, Barbara Elaine Smith.”
Beginning as a model in the 1960s, she later signed to Wilhelmina and in 1976 became the first black woman to be featured on a cover of Mademoiselle.
The grind did not stop for Smith as she went on to open three of her popular B. Smith restaurants, two of which are in New York (New York City and Long Island) and a third in Washington D.C.
She grew her empire even more with the launch of B. Smith Style, a television and lifestyle show that hosted some of entertainment’s best such as Gladys Knight and more.
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