Al Roker, Ava DuVernay and Viola Davis are just some of the Hollywood stars remembering model turned lifestyle guru B. Smith, who died at the age of 70 on Saturday, after a battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Smith, a top black model, went on to launch a home products line and three successful restaurants, including an eponymous eatery in Manhattan, New York, that opened in 1986, as well as write cookbooks and host the nationally syndicated TV show, B. Smith With Style, which aired on NBC stations for nearly a decade. Described by some as a “black Martha Stewart,” Smith was the second black model to grace the cover of Mademoiselle magazine.
“You epitomized class, true beauty and dignity. Rest well Queen,” Davis wrote on Twitter.
DuVernay, meanwhile, posted a video of the “one-of-a-kind” Smith, praising, “The elegance. The grace. The style.” She added, “May God rest and bless her soul.”
Roker shared his “love” for Smith’s family and acknowledged that Smith and her husband “were at the forefront of Alzheimer’s research for people of color.”
And Waiting to Exhale author Terry McMillan called Smith “beautiful inside and out,” recalling Smith hosting a book party at her restaurant for Exhale where the pair, “sat in a tub of hot water in blue jeans so they would shrink to our size as she interviewed me.”
Dr. Oz, Tamron Hall and Mike Bloomberg were among the public figures who also took to social media to mourn Smith. Read what they and others have to say below.
We lost legendary fashion model, chef, restaurateur, lifestyle icon and magazine publisher, B Smith today. 70 years old, she and her husband, Dan Gasby were at the forefront of #alzheimers #research for people of color. Love to them and daughter, Dana. #bsmithwithstyle pic.twitter.com/pqFOpa9oxs
— Al Roker (@alroker) February 23, 2020
B. Smith represented style, culture, beauty, and sophistication. She wore so many hats & wore them well! From books and restaurants – to her own home collections and TV show, she was a true renaissance woman who set the stage & standard for so many others to follow! https://t.co/7SbkTtqhHX
— Tenikka Smith Hughes (@TenikkaANjax) February 23, 2020
I only met B. Smith once or twice at her restaurant in New York City.
She was beautiful, graceful and welcoming each time. As a model, a TV personality, a business owner and an entrepreneur, she was always a trailblazer.
May she rest in peace. https://t.co/YqyxUZKMrB
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 23, 2020
The elegance. The grace. The style. May God rest and bless her soul. #BSmith was one-of-a-kind.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 23, 2020
RIP B. Smith. You epitomized class, true beauty and dignity. Rest well Queen pic.twitter.com/uJlWb9aapG
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) February 23, 2020
It’s not often you meet someone like B. Smith.
The daughter of a maid and a steelworker, B.’s entrepreneurial spirit made her into a pioneer of the modeling, restaurant and style industries.
I’ll miss her. My condolences to her husband & family. https://t.co/DYzCXYtpMl
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 23, 2020
All of these things so true. Thank you B. Smith. https://t.co/Fmi0QJNviu
— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) February 23, 2020
RIP B. Smith. My thoughts & prayers are with her family. B. was special to many people — I’m honored to have spent time with her. B.’s fight with Alzheimer’s was one far too many face, but she approached it with a spirit that made her light shine bright. (IG: thankyoudan) pic.twitter.com/L01V4oS1lj
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) February 23, 2020
Awww. I’m so sorry to learn that B. Smith has passed. She was beautiful inside and out. She had a book party at her restaurant for EXHALE and she and I sat in a tub of hot water in blue jeans so they would shrink to our size as she interviewed me. Love lasts. #ripbsmith
— Terry McMillan (@MsTerryMcMillan) February 23, 2020
“I want to give people the license to not be perfect,” Smith told the Sun-Times in 1999. “I want you to break the rules. It’s not about perfection.” #bsmith
— Terry McMillan (@MsTerryMcMillan) February 23, 2020
RIP to a beautiful soul. True pioneer. Trailblazer. B. Smith. https://t.co/jJWvs0Ud85
— Shaun Robinson (@shaunrobinson) February 23, 2020
#BSmith was a woman of valor. Her style will long be remembered for showing that Black women have good taste.
May her memory be a blessing for us all. Goodbye sweet heart. You made us all shine. https://t.co/n0oEWIW4RF
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) February 23, 2020
#bsmith was inspirational and aspirational at same time… I was lucky to have met her early on, got a chance to work with her a few times. She was truly a ground breaker and she will be missed https://t.co/BQJXcOfeFF
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) February 23, 2020
– Oh, no. What a loving, elegant, brilliant woman. So kind to me since the ‘80s in Time Square at her spot. This runaway rag-a-muffin appreciated her for over 30 years. Peace to you #BSmith https://t.co/hYb10JpYRa
— loripetty (@loripetty) February 23, 2020
— Vivica A. Fox (@MsVivicaFox) February 23, 2020
— Greg Proops (@GregProops) February 23, 2020
Say it ain’t so…New York icon w/such warmth, beauty & class..her smile could make u feel like you were the only person in the room. -much love to her family & friends. #bsmith #ripbsmith #NYC https://t.co/tLg4tSqmSF
— Jill Hennessy (@JillHennessy) February 23, 2020
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) February 23, 2020