Hollywood’s Black Leading Ladies Are Getting Their Spotlight in Marcellas Reynolds’ Visual Anthology ‘Supreme Actresses’

Lupita Nyong'o. graces the back cover of the visual tome while the iconic Viola Davis graces the front. Image: ArturoHolmes/MG21/Getty Images

Black women have consistently set the bar and laid the blueprint for stepping outside of the box. They deserve monuments and endless celebrations highlighting their achievements that have made the world better for generations. This is especially true for Black actresses who evoke a certain spirituality through their art form. Everyone can pinpoint one Black actress who has moved them in a significant way through a body of work like Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country or Diahann Carroll in Julia.  Every moment that can be taken to acknowledge the efforts of Black women in the field of entertainment is worth doing.  This ideology sparked the concept of Marcellas Reynold’s newest visual anthology titled Supreme Actresses: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Hollywood. 

As an entertainment editor (who is also a former model), Reynolds is well-versed on the subject matter. Supreme Actresses remembers and celebrates the groundbreaking women who have been influencing culture for decades, reshaping the very standards of beauty in modern society. With Viola Davis gracing the cover and Lupita N’yongo adorning the back cover, the book is a collection of photographs, interviews, and profiles of Black actresses who have made their mark in the fields of in film, television, and theater. It includes the stories of Black actresses —such as Hattie McDaniel, Dorothy Dandridge, Cicely Tyson and Ethel Waters—who have made valiant strides that opened doors for leading ladies of today.

Supreme Actresses: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Hollywood (Abrams), Marcellas Reynolds, $40, amazon.com. Image: courtesy of Marcellas Reynolds

Also, Reynolds is an executive producer on a YouTube Original six-part limited series called Supreme Models, set to premiere in Fall 2022, which is inspired by her book of the same title. The series will pay tribute to the Black women who transformed the fashion and beauty industries while also celebrating the fight for representation for models. Through personal stories of industry leaders as well as looking back at critical moments in runway history, the series will highlight the challenges these models have faced to overcome systems of racial oppression and sexism.


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