Eunice W. Johnson
As many people rang in the New Year with heartfelt cheer and glee, others mourned the loss of a legend, just two days after January 1st.
During the first weekend of 2010, Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson died of renal failure, at the age of 93 years old. She was the widow of John H. Johnson, founder of Johnson Publications (which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines). She also founded the Ebony Fashion Fair, a yearly event that gauged the interest and awareness of Black men and women and strengthened their connection to -and- involvement with the international fashion industry; launching the careers of icons such as supermodel Pat Cleveland and actor Richard Roundtree. The Ebony Fashion Fair came about at a time when Blacks had very limited to no-access to the high-fashion market(s), but through Mrs. Johnson's determination for equality and deep passion for the fashion industry, she became close to many couturiers and formed life-long relationships with industry icons such as the late Yves Saint Laurent, whom -along with other European designers- later allowed her to borrow clothing (and whatever else she needed), for her extravagant Fashion Fair events!
I remember (and still have the ticket from), my first Ebony Fashion Fair experience... I was a sophomore in high school, and my friends and I belonged to the fashion club there. We knew the Ebony Fashion Fair was coming to town, so we all bought our tickets in advance, and we all agreed to be super-dressed up, and we did... we turned up the most fashionable bunch in attendance that night, amidst a slew of baby boomers and -un-appreciative of fashion- teenagers. Nonetheless, it was an experience I will never forget as the Ebony Fashion Fair has become an iconic figure/event within itself.
Mrs. Eunice W. Johnson will be missed, and may God Bless/Rest Her Soul.
(Aug. 15, 2005 AP photo, former President Bill Clinton escorts Eunice Johnson into the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago for her husband's funeral.)
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