Pioneering black model Naomi Sims dies, aged 61: reports


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2009 at 1:12 PM EDT

Naomi Sims, a black model who opened the white-dominated fashion industry to African Americans in the 1960s, has died, reports said Tuesday. She was 61.

Sims, sometimes dubbed the first black supermodel, died of cancer Saturday in Newark, New Jersey, the New York Times and TheFashionInsider.com reported.

Born in racially segregated Mississippi in 1948, Sims made history in August 1967 as the first black model on the cover of Fashion of the Times, a supplement to the New York Times.

She scored another first when she made the cover of Ladies Home Journal and went on to feature on the covers of Life Magazine and Cosmopolitan.

"Thanks to her proven personal initiatives as a true pioneer, she succeeded in creating a real place for black women in the modeling industry," said Marcellous Jones, chief editor at TheFashionInsider.com.

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