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The Most Iconic Black Celebrity Home Tours From the Architectural Digest Archive

Joining the ranks of Tina Turner, who made a splash on the cover of Architectural Digest In 2000, a number of Black stars have filled our glossy pages and broken the Internet with their extraordinary homes. But if you go back even further, you’ll be surprised at who you might see in our archive. A casual visit to the late James Baldwin’s house in the South of France in 1987 led to one of his last published essays by him. (In 1992, Iman made a special appearance alongside David Bowie in his cover story for the September issue.) The tour of Janet Jackon’s Malibu beach house from the March 1998 issue remains one of my personal favorites, a childhood dream that ultimately came to fruition for the singer. (You can feel how proud she is to have achieved this in the photo where she smiles beside her four dogs in front of a fireplace.) For me, the most notable detail is the diversity of Jackson’s art collection, which she began curating during her earliest global concert tours.

Star Jones’s triplex apartment on the Upper East Side was channeling “Joan Crawford meets Coco Chanel, with a little Josephine Baker thrown in,” as the ultimate highlight in the October 2003 issue. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith graced the September cover of AD with their Malibu getaway back in 2011, an adobe-style residence with a striking exterior designed by the architects Stephen Samuelson and Harry Perez-Daple. (Come for the luxurious screening room, stay for the recording studio where Willow created her 2010 breakout single “Whip My Hair.”) John Legend and Chrissy Teigen invited us into their Los Angeles home in 2013, then opened the doors of their eclectic New York City apartment to us in 2017.

In recent years, we’ve even captured the Obama family during their stay in the White House. As if anyone could ever forget the trip to Lenny Kravitz’s compound deep in the forests of Brazil, which featured his own original furniture designs by him. Not only did Shonda Rhimes show off her Los Angeles home, but she also wrote the cover story herself because she’s a total boss. (For the record, we love the study as much as she does.) Kerry Washington got super cozy in her chic Upper West Side apartment, the same neighborhood where Misty Copeland played dress up with us.

Whatever your style preferences may be, there’s no denying the star power of the manor that Ferris Rafauli designed for Drake—it might have been the most talked-about house in 2020, but there were some other unforgettable gems too, like Laura Harrier’s glamorous LA pad where pink is a neutral, as seen on Clever. Last year, Serena Williams welcomed us into her waterfront retreat in Miami, designed by none other than her sister, Venus. The ultra-modern minimalist home is best described as “livable luxury.” Noted standout features in the space are Serena’s 620-square-foot closet, “a wine cellar the size of a small NYC apartment,” a sauna in the gym, an infinity pool with submerged chaise longues, and a private trophy room.

Another page-turner is the Los Angeles home of hamilton stars Emmy Raver-Lampman and Daveed Diggs, which is complete suburban bliss. long-time girlfriends fans will appreciate the private office turned oasis that belongs to screenwriter and television producer Mara Brock Akil. Without a doubt, Naomi Campbell’s villa in Kenya—on the cover of the May 2021 issue—is the definition of opulence. Prominent features of the seaside property include hand-carved doors by the award-winning artist Armando Tanzini, sculptural latika lanterns, vaulted cathedral ceilings, and a makuti roof made from the sun-dried leaves of the coconut palm.

Between the Togo sofa sectional and the sunken bath made out of LAX terminal tiles, actor Colman Domingo’s midcentury-modern home built in the 1960s, a Clever exclusive from 2021, is a moody Southern California dream. But inside Dreamland, the cliffside mansion belonging to music power couple Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats, it’s the impressive collection of work from Black artists that steals the spotlight with 1,000 pieces and counting.

While we can’t change experiences from the past, the door is wide open for even more Black stars to shine in AD home tours that take place in the present and future.

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