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Alfred Richard Fornay

Magazine beauty editor and consultant Alfred Fornay was born on June 8, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from high school, Fornay moved to New York City, where he attended the Wilfred Academy of Beauty and Hair Design. In 1966, Fornay went on to earn his A.A.S. degree from the City College of New York in merchandising and marketing, and another A.A.S. degree from the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

In 1971, after completing his education, Fornay was hired as the Assistant Ethnic Marketing Manager for Clairol Cosmetics. The next year, he moved to Essence magazine, where he was the Associate Beauty Editor. In 1973, he returned to cosmetics as Beauty/Training Director for Fashion Fair. Five years later, he was hired by Revlon and became Creative Director for Revlon’s “Polished Ambers” Collection.

In 1980, Fornay became an editor for Elan magazine’s beauty section. Two years later, he was hired as Ebony’s beauty and fashion editor. When Ebony expanded with a new magazine, Ebony Man, in 1985, Fornay served as the magazine’s first editor in chief, and worked with the publication in various capacities thereafter. He also wrote contributing pieces for other magazines and in 1989 wrote and published Fornay’s Guide to Skin Care and Makeup for Women of Color.

Fornay has been affiliated with a number of organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Boys and Girls Choirs of Harlem and the nonprofit styleWORKS. Beginning in 2000, he has taught evening classes on color, cosmetics and men’s grooming at the New Rochelle High School. He published two additional books, The African American Woman’s Guide to Successful Make-Up and Skin Care and Born Beautiful: The African American Teenager’s Complete Beauty Guide. From 2005 to 2006, he served as a special assistant to David Paterson, then a New York state senator. Fornay is developing a new magazine, Luxe Living and another book, Beauty for Life, for older women. Fornay opened the Image Connection Institute, a personal development company, purveyors of business protocol, etiquette, manners, courtesy, fashion, beauty, grooming programs for men, women, young people and children. His first clients were professional interns for the Bill Clinton Foundation.

Fornay was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 19, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.211

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/19/2007 |and| 7/23/2007

Last Name

Fornay

Maker Category
Middle Name

Richard

Schools

Fashion Institute of Technology

Pine Forge Academy

Avondale School

Shiloh Preparatory School

Hughes STEM High School

Wilfred's Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture

City University of New York

Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling

Clairol Institute of Hair Coloring

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Alfred

Birth City, State, Country

Cincinnati

HM ID

FOR09

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda; Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Develop A Skin As Thick As A Rhinoceros Hide.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/8/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Southern Style Garden Salad

Short Description

Magazine beauty editor Alfred Richard Fornay (1941 - ) was Ebony Man's first editor-in-chief and author of the book, "Fornay’s Guide to Skin Care and Makeup for Women of Color."

Employment

Losantiville Country Club

Essence Magazine

Elan Magazine

Ebony Magazine

Ebony Man Magazine

Jet magazine

Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Revlon, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Alfred Richard Fornay's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his father's experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his mother's upbringing in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about his maternal family's migration from Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his mother's religious background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his maternal grandmother's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his father's childhood in Union Mills, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about his paternal family's relocation to Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his father's religious background

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his father's professions

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his parents' siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his parents' marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his mother's conversion to Seventh-day Adventism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay lists his siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his home life

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers the entertainment of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls celebrating the holidays

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his uncle

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his early education

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers a play at the Avondale School in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his mother's influence on his education

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers the Shiloh Preparatory School in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his experiences at the Shiloh Preparatory School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his inquisitive personality

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about Seventh-day Adventism

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers the Pine Forge Institute in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his experiences at the Pine Forge Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his teachers at the Pine Forge Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his personal growth during high school

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the restrictions in Seventh-day Adventism

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls leaving the Pine Forge Institute in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls his position at the Losantiville Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Albert Richard Fornay describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls his decision to move to New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Albert Richard Fornay remembers his initial experiences in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls his decision to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls his parents' opinions of his studies

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Albert Richard Fornay recalls his experiences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Albert Richard Fornay describes his coursework at the Fashion Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Albert Richard Fornay remembers the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his stylistic influences

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his internship with Rose Morgan

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the Wilfred Academy of Hair and Beauty Culture in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers Rose Morgan

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls working as a makeup artist for Libra Cosmetics

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers becoming the ethnic marketing manager of Clairol, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the expansion of African American cosmetics

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his training under Naomi Stern at Revlon, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls becoming an associate beauty editor for Essence magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his colleagues at Essence magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the college issue of Essence magazine

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers his interview with John H. Johnson

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his position at the Johnson Publishing Company, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his position at the Johnson Publishing Company, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers joining Revlon, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about Reverend Dr. Gregory Smith

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the theft of Johnson Products' formulas by Revlon, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about Johnson Products

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls working with Iman at Revlon, Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers Beverly Johnson's Vogue cover

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the beauty industry

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes the history of the black beauty industry

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the media's representation of black beauty, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the media's representation of black beauty, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the changing images of black beauty

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes the early black beauty products, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes the early black beauty products, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his experiences as a beauty editor at Elan magazine

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers Marie Brown

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his mentorship of younger makeup artists

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his role as Ebony's beauty and fashion editor

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the launch of Ebony Man magazine

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about his beauty manuals

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his beauty book for teenagers

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls his work with the Boys Choir of Harlem

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his celebrity clientele

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay remembers Stephen Burrows

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls a white photographer's discriminatory remarks, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay recalls a white photographer's discriminatory remarks, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes the importance of depicting black beauty

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the Procter and Gamble Company's approach to the beauty industry

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about the future of black glamour

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Alfred Richard Fornay reflects upon in his legacy

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about his magazine, Luxe Living

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his plans for the future

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his current book project

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about skin color bias in the black community, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Alfred Richard Fornay talks about skin color bias in the black community, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Alfred Richard Fornay describes his role at StyleWorks

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Alfred Richard Fornay narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Alfred Richard Fornay narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$2

DATape

5$9

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Albert Richard Fornay recalls his parents' opinions of his studies
Alfred Richard Fornay recalls the launch of Ebony Man magazine
Transcript
So you're hooked at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York]. What's so fantastic about there?$$Oh, Lord, I went bananas at FIT. I mean that was to me utopia, you know. And of course all my religious friends or whatever, they'd say, "You're supposed to be at Oakwood College [Oakwood University] in Huntsville, Alabama." I said, "No, I'm at FIT at 27th Street and 7th Avenue in New York City," you know. And that's when I joined the church here in Harlem [New York, New York], and I've been a member there for forty-two years.$$And this is the Seventh-day Adventist church?$$Yes, it's the Ephesus Church [Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church] here at 123rd [Street] and Lenox Avenue [Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, New York].$$Would you repeat the name of the church?$$Ephesus, E-P-H-E-S-U-S, Seventh-day Adventist Church. And that's been my support. And I spoke to the minister there who is now deceased, who was a high achiever himself. He was the first union black president in the structure of the church. And I went to him, and I said, "Can I be a Seventh-day Adventist and be in fashion, beauty, or whatever?" He said, "Mr. Fornay [HistoryMaker Alfred Richard Fornay], this morning--I got up this morning and I had to put deodorant under my arms. I had to shave, I had to put on clothes; I had to do whatever." He said, "Who do you think made those things?" You know, he says, "Why can't you be?" And I said, "Oh, thank you so much." I was just so relieved. And that's all I needed.$$What was his name?$$Pastor Carter, Robert Carter. And he was oh, such a beautiful man, he and his wife. She was an accomplished musician and had studied to be a musician or whatever. They were beautiful people, but forward thinking and had a vision. And so, that was music to my ears. And so I enrolled in FIT. And--$$And what do your parents [Marguerite Weatherford Fornay and Alfred Fornay] think about these--$$They didn't know what to think.$$Okay.$$My father didn't know what to think. He said, "Oh, you're going to be sitting in a salon rolling up hair, you know, or whatever." I said, "What?" (Laughter) He said, "I thought you were going to--." And my mother said, "I don't, I don't understand." (Laughter) She kept saying, "I don't understand." She said, "I thought you wanted to be a teacher. I thought you wanted to be a, whatever." I said, "I am, I am going to teach, but I'm going to be a teacher in the area of fashion, beauty, grooming, or whatever." And she said, "How?" I said, "There are companies that need training directors. There are companies--." She said, "Oh, I didn't know that." I said, "Yeah." So I found that I had to educate them, because they didn't know the world that I was entering. So, every opportunity I got to share with them, they started really understanding what I was trying to do, you know. And then my mother became one of my strongest supporters, because she just didn't see that other side, you know. And then I realized that she didn't know about it, you know, so how could she? So, I became a model student at FIT. I became the first black vice president of student council. I had won all kinds of awards from the institution and whatever. It was just wonderful for me.$And how does Ebony Man magazine come about?$$We started doing a column for men in Ebony called Ebony Man, and the response was just tremendous. I mean, the inquiries--Mr. Johnson [HistoryMaker John H. Johnson] was just surprised of the response. And I was just doing it to keep everybody happy, you know. I really--my interest was female beauty; it wasn't really in the male spectrum at the time. And Mr. Johnson said, "We're going to expand your one page to a couple of pages. We'll do editorial spreads four times a year." So, I started doing formalwear, because black men were big in formalwear around the graduation times, et cetera. So, we attracted the formalwear industry as advertisers in the publication for the first time. We started doing fragrances for men, until Mr. Johnson brought out with his own fragrance and we had to kill that for a while. So, it was that kind of trend. And the momentum started building and I was called into Chicago [Illinois], because I was back and forth between New York [New York] and Chicago at the time. And Linda [HistoryMaker Linda Johnson Rice], his daughter, and Mr. Johnson met with me. And he said, "Mr. Fornay [HistoryMaker Alfred Richard Fornay], we're going to start a men's publication. And we can't think of anyone better to head the publication but you." Well, my mouth fell open, I just couldn't believe it. I mean, this is a dream come true. And that's how it got started. And then the plum was that we were going to do it out of New York. And so, I was able to work out of the New York office on this new publication. Developed the logo, developed the tagline, hired all the editors, hired all the creative help, and launched the publication.$$You said that you were doing some small--first just one column, and then the quarterly pieces. What were you including in the magazine to inform men about beauty in Ebony Man?$$We were talking about the problems that black men have, like razor bumps for example. We did things on shaving and what products were available, what methods were available. We would include interviews with doctors who specialized in problems with black men. And to my knowledge, that wasn't being done on a regular basis with a major black publication. We got the attention of the toiletry industry and the shaving industry, which was Gillette [The Gillette Company], that came in as advertisers at that time. We even got the Gold American Express card to come into Ebony Man, which had never come into Ebony. We got it first, before they even went into Ebony, because they liked the segment of the market that we were targeting at the time. We even got a complimentary letter from GQ and Esquire, complimenting us and welcoming us to the industry, you know. So it was--the kinds of articles were dressing, dieting, good health. We were talking about--we were ahead of our time, talking about some of the health issues with black men and grooming tips, et cetera, that kind of stuff.$$How long did you remain the editor of Ebony Man?$$Three years.$$And is the magazine still in existence?$$No, they moved it back to Chicago. And now, this is my personal opinion and assessment. They started putting centerfolds of--how can I say it? They weren't nude, but sort of like the Jet calendar, you know. And it was a turnoff for that segment of the market. They started talking about where to meet women in the bars, you know. We were beyond bars; we were talking about the elegant places that men who were spending money on good suits and fine wine were going to meet women, et cetera, you know. And in my opinion, I think that was the demise of the publication, because in my opinion it lacked the sophistication that we were trying to establish.