African-American Style Icons & Fashion Stars Past and Present

From Diana Ross to Beyonce Knowles, this is our countdown of the top 20 black style icons who have been inspiring how America dresses for decades with their individual take on fashion (21 Photos)

Fiorella Valdesolo on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:23PM

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African-American Style Icons & Fashion Stars Past and Present

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Pam Grier

Pam Grier is more than just mere sex symbol or style star; the actress is responsible for defining an entire cinematic genre. Blaxploitation would have ceased to exist—or, at the very least, it would have been wholly unwatchable—without her kick-ass contributions.

First discovered as a Hollywood receptionist, Grier started her action career in women-in-prison films. Her star-making turn was as the titular nurse-turned-vigilante in the 1973 Blaxploitation classic Coffy; her character is remembered as much for her violent behavior as a certain barely-there macramé bikini that showed off Grier’s famously copious assets. Grier continued to play bold, brazen characters: the bodacious Foxy Brown who famously pulls a revolver from her afro, Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (a role written for her) and Kit Porter on The L Word.

Grier’s most memorable style moments were during her rule as the queen of Blaxploitation with her slinky, cleavage-baring silhouettes, low-slung bell-bottom jeans, and fringed suede.

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