Barbara Elaine Smith parlayed a modeling career into an entrepreneurial empire and became a role model for the black community. Better known as B. Smith, the restaurateur, model, author and television host passed away at 70-years-old on Feb. 26, 2020. She was often referred to as “the black Martha Stewart.”
She was initially known as a model and the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine. Smith then turned her career into an inspiration for African Americans when she invested in her own restaurants, furniture collections, entertainment, and more. She also had her own talk show, B. Smith with Style that aired on NBC for several years. One of her biggest accomplishments was her restaurant located in Manhattan called B. Smith’s. The who’s who of the black community gathered at her stylish restaurant that she dedicated to the needs of local black people. B. Smith was able to run three restaurants until she closed them due to her illness.
Along with being an entrepreneur, B.Smith was an author who wrote many novels, including Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s, where she addressed her battle with Alzheimer’s and her struggles in life. Alzheimer’s, a disease she had been fighting with since she was 50, took her life.
B. Smith is most remembered as an inspiration for the black community and a pioneer for the overall advancement of black women especially.