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May 27, 2023

Jet Magazine’s “Beauty of the Week” of the 1970s

Remember “Beauty of the Week,” Jet magazine’s famous page 43, which featured Black women college students, actors nurses, and everyday girls in swimsuits?

The Jet Beauty of the Week is the picture of a swimsuit model that appears each week in Jet, a Black American magazine. The beauties started out as centerfolds in the style of pin-up girls. Jet stopped printing magazines in 2014, but it is still online, still putting out a new beauty every week along with the rest of its content. It is one of its best known features.

Some of the beauties are professional models, but many are not. Some are in-house models that you can see elsewhere in the magazine. Nearly all are Black. The idea was to present Black women as beautiful and glamorous in a country that so often presented them as not.

Founded in 1951 by John H. Johnson, Jet proved a mainstay in primarily Black households across America. While Jet told real stories about real people, most readers began with page 43. With the re-set, Daylon Goff, the president of Jet, said one shouldn’t expect an immediate return of the Beauty of the Week. “It was relatable and owned by our community,” Goff explained. “The Beauty of the Week was a college student at Fayetteville, a nurse, secretary or actress. Relatable people that we all thought were attainable. But how can we be relevant to our audience in a world that’s different and the way we consume information and get information?”

For instance, Goff wondered what would happen if Rihanna were chosen as the first beauty. “Then Lizzo fans could say, what about her? And if we choose Lizzo, RuPaul could say, what about me?” Goff stated. “People would have every right to say that Jet is saying ‘I’m not beautiful.’” Indeed, Jet was social media before Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Going viral in pre-social media days meant being on the cover of Jet. Goff, whose background is brand marketing, understands that the Jet re-set is a challenging assignment. But he’s thrilled to take it on.

“I call this being re-fueled by Jet. We can be relevant to our audience in a world that’s different, and the way we consume information and get information is different,” he stated. “I also have to be relevant to an audience in a way that Ebony isn’t cannibalized. And we can do that.

“If we compare Ebony and Jet to iconic television characters, Ebony is Claire Huxtable, and Jet is Martin (Lawrence). They both speak to the Black experience but in a different way.”

Theresa Legg (October 1, 1970)

Annena Jones (October 22, 1970)

Deborah Newton (October 29, 1970)

Patricia Williams (November 5, 1970)

LaVerne Hall (December 3, 1970)

Patrice Channel (December 31, 1970)

Yolanda Chappelle (March 18, 1971)

Emily Baker (March 25, 1971)

Jayne Harrison (June 10, 1971)

Pam Grier (June 24, 1971)

Brenda L. Merriwether (September 23, 1971)

Diane Preacely (September 30, 1971)

Patricia Moore (October 14, 1971)

Tina Webb (October 21, 1971)

Beverly Chadwick (November 18, 1971)

Janice Ross (December 10, 1971)

Bernadette Cash (May 4, 1972)

Stella Hicks (June 8, 1972)

Charlene Thompson (June 15, 1972)

Deborah Boyd (March 8, 1973)

Bernice Taylor (April 26, 1973)

Marva Cook (July 5, 1973)

Maryse Larase (July 12, 1973)

Sylvia Anderson (November 22, 1973)

Brenda Moon (May 23, 1974)

Denise Causher (August 22, 1974)

Carol Nash (December 26, 1974)

Ruby Lewis (January 9, 1975)

Azizi Johari (February 13, 1975)

Rose Lewis (August 15, 1975)

Carolyn Beatty (February 5, 1976)

Maria Jackson (July 29, 1976)

Alesia Newman (August 19, 1976)

Denise Bouldin (October 14, 1976)

Deleores Vaughn (October 21, 1976)

Amanda Davis (February 19, 1977)

Cheryl Crumpler (March 17, 1977)

Michelle L. Strother (June 30, 1977)

Ming Toi Johnson (November 3, 1977)

Linda Heath (June 1, 1978)

Debbie Bell (June 22, 1978)

Danita Bolden (October 19, 1978)

LaVerne Angela Paterson (December 21, 1978)

Jackie Chambers (February 2, 1979)

Marilyn Dowden (June 14, 1979)

Sharon L. Williams (June 21, 1979)

Darlene Segovia (June 28, 1979)

BernNadette Stanis (November 1, 1979)

Lydia Basile (November 8, 1979)

Nivea Souffront (December 20, 1979)


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