Monday, February 7, 2011

Inspiration: Joyce Walker-Joseph and Barbara Summers

Actress/Model Joyce Walker-Joseph

Author/Model Barbara Summers

Anyone who was a teenager in 1976 should remember these advertisements of Joyce Walker-Joseph and
Barbara Summers from the late '70s. As a teenager I remember them quite vividly because these two ladies were some of my favorite models and anything which featured Joyce on the cover was in my possession and still is. I was digging through my archives until two in the morning having no idea how late it was looking for certain magazines and came across these two photos. I read all the time about women looking for inspiration in women who resembles them in the media, well I had these two women and a host of other's that I was elated to see featured in mainstream publications. It's different today because the imagery that their now selling is that of the unattainable...basically the look of someone else.

The Seventeen magazines featuring Joyce and Whitney Houston were some of their #1 Bestsellers.

I went out and bought that carved rose necklace and earrings that Barbara was wearing because I wanted to look like her. My friend and I copied the whole look from the makeup to the Afro.Today Joyce works as an theater actress and is an activist. Barbara Summers is a highly noted author and historian, especially of the fashion industry with several well known books in publication. Skin Deep:Inside the World of Black Fashion Models is a large coffee table-book that has it's place alongside my other fashion books and is deffinitely worth a read.


Anonymous said...

I remember very well the above issue of Seventeen Magazine with Joyce Walker on the cover. One of the stories inside was about a fashion show at the Jordan Marsh Store in Boston, Massachusetts. I was one of the three black teen models, we were called Marsha Jordans. It was not until I saw this website did I realize the influence Joyce Walker has had on me. For years, I have alternated between letting my hair grow then cutting it and wearing a short afro. I have never forgotten meeting her. I always wondered what happened to Joyce Walker. Thank you

Jae Walker said...

... I'm a little late in responding to this post because I came across it by mistake - which is how most good experiences go. Just wanted to let you know that Joyce Walker is alive & well, living the good life in Harlem, NY ... married with children but not defined by these parameters. It would do her good to hear about your experiences as a model in Boston. Although it's been a while since she modeled or done an major motion pictures, her ife is gratifying knowing she accomplished so much. The Seventeen mag cover is iconic in it's origins as there were not as many African-American women (young or old) still to grace the magazines we built, I bask in the glow of how she has affected so many women - and men - of color. I say these things with certainty because I've lived with her image all my life because she was a big influence in my life.. I'm her younger brother, Joseph. And again, I thank you for sharing your experiences.

Divalocity said...

Mr. Walker I know I'm super late to respond to your comment, so please forgive me.

I'm a child of the 60's who grew up in the "Black Is Beautiful" 70's and I can honestly say your sister was also an influence to many of us who had the opportunities to buy magazines that presented images of your sister and various women like her.

I'm truly thankful for the affirmative images your sister showed my fifteen years old self--that I too could be just as beautiful with my short Afro.

Reflections of your sister's beauty was all around me while growing up.
And once again, I thank her.


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