The Stylish World of Black Male Supermodels


Aug. 1 2023, Published 3:22 a.m. ET

Not so long ago, all supermodels were white. They looked the same — slender girls with long legs and macho-looking Caucasian men. They had creamy skin and represented the glowing West, ignoring a large chunk of the rest of the world — Blacks, Asians, and indigenous people across the globe.

But all that has changed. Slowly, people of color began to get the representation they deserved in the world of fashion. Not surprisingly, as they stepped onto the stage and caught the headlights, they brought with them a lasting impact on the entire fashion industry.

Tyson Beckford and His Huge Impact on the Fashion Industry

When Tyson Beckford was first scouted by an agent, he wasn’t sure what to expect. In his mind, the word “supermodel” was synonymous with Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, not some unknown young black man who had the type of beauty that wasn’t thought beautiful in an old world not quite dead yet. His blue-black skin and fierce look were the opposite of what he thought matched the cover of a high-end magazine like Vogue.

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He was wrong, however. The world of fashion was on the brink of evolution, and he was to become a big part of the change. Tyson got a deal modeling for a Polo ad, and that was the beginning of a soon-to-be illustrious career as a supermodel and actor.

What he loved about the ad was that it didn’t stereotype black men. He wasn’t represented as a rap or basketball star, but as an all-American black man, the type that escapes being nailed down by what people think being black means. In his Polo ad, he looked debonnaire in a suit and tie, just the way any other male model would look.

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Since his debut, Tyson Beckford rocked the fashion and entertainment world, dazzling spectators on the runway, showing up on the cover of prestigious magazines, and even starring in movies. He has shown the world that being a person of color doesn’t define you. Everyone can step out of the stereotypes that hold them down, and do something ultimately different and seemingly impossible.

The Impact of Black Culture on Fashion

Yes, the world of fashion has greatly impacted the lives of black supermodels. But the models themselves have also brought something special to the world of fashion - a story and culture completely their own.

Today, across the globe, black fashion has taken a definitive root. It comes in the form of oversized clothing, high-top sneakers, gold chains, and bucket hats. Not only blacks, but also Caucasians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and other people of color can be seen sporting these eye-catching tastes in apparel. And this is only the beginning - the more black models step onto the runway and into fashion magazines, the more the unique story told by their style will catch fire and spread.

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