Collection: Virginia Slims Black
In targeting black women, tobacco companies often portray an image of a strong, independent black woman. Increasingly, in the 1960s and 1970s, models wearing “naturals” or Afros began popping up in ads for Newport, L&M, Kent, Kool, and many more. A Kent ad from 1968 features a glamorous black woman wearing an Afro and luxurious jewelry next to the slogan, “Kent smokes… and that’s where it’s at.” Recent Salem ads from the 2000s feature the slogan, “Stir the senses,” and each ad depicts a sexy black woman smoking in green, mentholated ecstasy. A Camel ad from 2001 portrays a beautiful black woman singing in a nightclub in the “diva” tradition of Whitney Houston and Beyoncé Knowles. A Virginia Slims campaign from roughly the same time used the slogan “Find Your Voice” coupled with images of strong African women. For example, an ad from the campaign in 2000 features a woman in traditional clothing, balancing bolts of fabric on her head. The text beside her, half in Swahili, reads,”Kila mtu ana uzuri wake – No single institution owns the copyright for BEAUTY.” In this way, Virginia Slims portrays an image of accepting diverse standards of beauty.