Hugh Hefner has always been a unique personality. A man who built an empire on the erotic form of women, Hefner will easily go down as one of the most controversial figures of the 20th Century. While many articles have been written about the life and times of Mr Playboy, I would like to highlight an article from Damon Brown of Inc Magazine discussing Hefner’s accomplishments outside of nude photography. In an odd way, Playboy’s controversial nature has actually impacted more than just photography. For example, did you know that Playboy Magazine was one of the first publications to cover Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and even Jimmy Carter’s “adultery” admission?
In addition to famous and unpopular ideals, Playboy also released one of the first African-American newsstand covers when highlighting “Darine Stern on the October 1971 cover. Nude in a strategically placed Playboy bunny chair, Stern represented the beauty of African-American women at a time when she (and her large afro) were fighting for respect in mainstream culture. The American Society of Magazine Editors called it one of the 40 most important magazine covers of the previous 40 years.” Playboy also ushered in the rise of the female CEO when Hefner’s daughter took the helm in 1988.
The life of Hefner will always be mixed in controversy, but in an odd spin, the Playboy mogul also helped to change the way we view beauty, politics, and mainstream media.