The Business of Beauty: 7 Black Beauty Queens Who Used Their Brains to Make a Difference

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Jayne Kennedy

Born in 1951, Jayne Kennedy enjoyed a long and successful string of firsts.  In 1970, she became the first black Miss Ohio USA. She placed in the top 15 in the Miss USA pageant, but may be remembered more for being one of the first black women to compete in the competition. In 1978, Kennedy became the first black female announcer on CBS’ NFL Today.  She was the first woman of any color to anchor a sports desk. In addition to her TV work, Kennedy starred in several movies, including Heart and Soul (with ex-husband Leon Kennedy), and had the third best-selling exercise video (behind Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons).  Always the pioneer, she was also the first black woman to secure a contract with Coca-Cola for Diet Coke and Tab soft drinks.

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