“Glamour is when you’re able to operate in the world with a certain level of dignity”
Collector’s Weekly has a great interview up with Nichelle Gainer, the woman behind the Vintage Black Glamour tumblr and the forthcoming (amazing-looking) book. On why Gainer includes photos not just of entertainment celebrities (this Diana Ross photo!) but activists, writers, and more:
I feel like Vintage Black Glamour expands the definition of glamour, and that was always my intention. For example, I put Judge Jane Bolin on my site. She’s very popular, the first black woman appointed to a bench in New York State. She was on the bench until she was 70, the mandatory retirement age. People would say she’s attractive, but she wasn’t a movie star or even glamorous dresser. However, the nature of a black woman judge in the 1930s or ’40s is glamorous to me.
To me, glamour is when you’re able to operate in the world with a certain level of dignity. So that applies whether they’re leaders in civil rights, literature, or art. I’m so excited Lorraine Hansberry’s in my book, next to Maya Angelou. Look at Althea Gibson, the tennis player, who was photographed by Carl Van Vechten in the 1950s. No one thinks “glamour” when they look at Althea Gibson, but she had her dignity. Take Esther Rolle, who played Florida Evans on “Good Times”: No one thinks of her as glamorous, either, but then again, her photo is the most popular picture that I ever posted on Vintage Black Glamour.