[Nsfw] The Black Pin-Up Models From The 1900's Nobody Told You About

Xavier in NSFW

Sing praises to the unsung women of the pin-up scene of the 20th century with these vintage black pin-up models.

Lena Horne
Lena Horne

It would have been a bleak world if pinups in tattoos never existed. But when you think of vintage pin-ups, an image of a buxom, Caucasian woman is often what first comes to mind. We're forgetting that black women played a part in the liberation of women's sexuality of the 20th century. That was back when bones weren't the basis of a woman's “sexiness” and “desirability” but more on how comfortable she is in her own skin.

These are the ‘unsung black women’ faded off the vintage pinup posters of the past.

Etta Rae, 1935 Jet Magazine cover
Etta Rae, 1935 Jet Magazine cover

“...These beautiful black women were models and dancers who paved the way for modern black woman entertainers,” writes Rinny of BGLH.

Terry O'Neil
Terry O'Neil
Gwendolyn Chapmen
Gwendolyn Chapmen

Recent from NSFW

Eleanor Joiner
Eleanor Joiner

Many of the women in this list dabble into burlesque performers. Burlesque performers and pinup models were closely related especially in those days because in order to catch people's attentions and lure them into one of their shows, Burlesque dancers will pose for risqué photos to be used in their adverts and business cards. These were one of the earliest pinups.

Jo Ann Norris
Jo Ann Norris

Not only can most of these women dance, but some of them can also belt out some serious tunes in the early American jazz scene.

Unknown model.
Unknown model.
Toni Elling
Toni Elling
Toni Elling
Toni Elling
Lottie “The Body” Graves
Lottie “The Body” Graves
Lottie “The Body” Graves
Lottie “The Body” Graves

“They called her The Body. She was built like a double order of pancakes — sweet and stacked. The only light in the room bathed her as she emerged from a thick velvet curtain, incandescent, platinum hair piled high on her head. As the band struck up a slow, seductive wail, her intricately beaded gown glimmered with each step.

“By the end of the tune, the dress was gone, and she wore little more than heels, a few strategically placed rhinestones, and a smile,” one writer describes Lotti.

Madeleine Sahji Jackson
Madeleine Sahji Jackson

Wouldn't you know it; Madeleine Sahji Jackson, a shake dancer who appeared in “Jivin’ in Bebop” with Dizzy Gillespie, was speculated to have been one of the earliest performers who danced what we call now as “twerking” in her shows.

Unknown model.
Unknown model.
Annazette Williams
Annazette Williams

You can read more here.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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