B. Smith—who broke down barriers with beauty and determination as a restaurateur, interior designer, model and author, died on February 22—in her Long Island home following a battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, her husband Dan Gasby announced on Facebook. Smith was 70 years old. "Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile," Gasby wrote in the post.
Born Barbara Smith on August 24, 1949, the multi-faceted talent who was inducted into the American Chef Corps in 2012 embodied her slogan, "Whatever you do, do it with style," especially when she advocated for increased Black presence in the culinary world. "African Americans are underrepresented but so are women and many other ethnic groups. You know what I am hearing is that more African Americans are attending cooking school," Smith told PBS during an interview in 2012. "They just need a greater quantity of opportunities to break into the culinary world. Let’s face it, if the United States can have a Black president there must be room for more African Americans as executive chefs and in other major positions in the hospitality industry."
Below, admirers react to Smith’s passing via social media:
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
rn— Al Roker (@alroker) February 23, 2020
rn— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 23, 2020
rn— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 23, 2020
B. Smith was a role model for millions of black women. She inspired so many to reach for the stars and fight for a cure for Alzheimer’s. It was a privilege to know her. My prayers are with her family and loved ones today. May she Rest In Power. #BSmith https://t.co/NJuZIdyf5R
rn— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) February 24, 2020
#BSmith had a dazzling, unforgettable smile. She passed away over the weekend after valiantly facing Alzheimer’s. She was a multi-faceted, multi-talented trailblazer who embodied determination saying: “I have stood… https://t.co/4di6D5m0rf
rn— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) February 24, 2020
rn— Kenneth Moton (@KennethMoton) February 24, 2020