The world of celebrity makeup artists suffered a tremendous loss in February – the legendary Roxanna Floyd passed away at her home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. To many, her name may be unknown. But to fans of black celebrity makeup, Roxanna Floyd was a legend. Her first celebrity client was Yoko Ono. After Ono started recommending her to friends, Floyd’s career went into hyperdrive. Her first cover for Essence magazine featured Halle Berry, and Roxanna went on to beautify faces for 60 more Essence magazine cover stars.
Roxanna forged close working relationships with some of the most celebrated contemporary icons of black beauty, including Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, and Halle Berry. In the wake of her passing, some amazing tributes have appeared online.
Roxanna Floyd was the Creative Beauty Director for venerable cosmetics brand Fashion Fair. Brand Manager Basheerah Enahora offered the following quote: "We are truly overwhelmed by the unfortunate news of Roxanna Floyd’s untimely passing. Not only was Roxanna our creative beauty director, she was a friend…a sister…she was Fashion Fair® Cosmetics family. She possessed a wonderful gift of creating, accentuating and transforming beauty. Her innovation, creativity and flair will be missed – but her legacy and spirit will continue to live.”
Makeup artist Sam Fine rhapsodized about Roxanna in a touching tribute for Essence magazine:
“The makeup industry seems vast, but actually it's quite small. There are very few artists that reach a level where you recognize their name, identify their work at a glance, or rattle off celebrity clients that they've beautified. Roxanna Floyd was one of those artists. However, her artistry is not what I'll remember most. I'll always remember Roxanna as an artist who paved the way for many "artists of color" to reach new heights by setting a standard of excellence with her work on numerous magazine covers, music videos and celebrity clients. In an industry that isn't always welcoming to artists of color, Roxanna became a beacon of light, showing us how brightly our lights could shine.”
Harriet Cole, Editor in Chief of Ebony Magazine, shared her personal recollections as a friend of Roxanna’s: “She was a genius with a set of makeup brushes. And she appreciated brown skin so much that she learned how to blend colors perfectly to ensure that a woman of any and every skin tone would be flawless before the camera. Roxanna was a perfectionist. Anyone who knew her will tell you that she was the queen of the eyebrow. She spent as much time as it took to sculpt a brow, so much so that you felt like even if you didn’t have anything but foundation and a brow, you were ready for anything!”
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Roxanna at an Oprah related event in Miami some years back. Even though I was but a young writer and a fan – I’d barely just started my blog, Afrobella -- she took the time to be gracious and friendly to me. I spent more than an hour watching her at her craft – making women look beautiful. She was like a hummingbird – flitting from side to side, deftly blending with her makeup brushes, absolutely in command of the moment. It was extremely inspiring. Rest in peace, Roxanna. Your legend will live on, and your work will forever be admired.
Thanks Afrobella for sharing your insights on Roxanna....