Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Renauld White, first African American ‘GQ’ cover model, dies at 80

Model Renauld White attends the third annual Thurgood Marshall College Fund FRONT ROW fashion show at Roseland Ballroom on Oct. 25, 2008, in New York City.  (Getty Images)
By Karu F. Daniels New York Daily News

The fashion world is mourning the death of a true trailblazer. Renauld White, the first African American model to grace the cover of GQ magazine, has died. He was 80.

Longtime friend and fashion designer Jeffrey Banks confirmed White’s death Wednesday. He was under hospice care in New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital. No cause of death was given.

White broke ground for American Black male models when he appeared on the cover of the men’s magazine in November 1979. The Newark native was the second Black man to appear on the title’s cover and worked in shows for designers including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace, Armani and Cerutti.

The Rutgers University alum branched into acting with a two-year stint on the soap opera “The Guiding Light” and counted the movies “Gun Hill” and “Central Park” among his screen credits. In 1998, he played the titular role in “Julius Caesar Set in Africa” at Nuyorican Poets Cafe and appeared on the covers of Essence and Ebony during a career that began in the 1970s.

White, who was featured in Dolce & Gabbana’s 2023 campaign shot by Steven Meisel, closed out his long career on a high note, gracing the February 2024 cover of Ambassador Digital Magazine.

“We celebrated our 80th issue with Renauld on the cover for his 80th birthday,” Ambassador’s Editor-In-Chief Musa Jackson said. “He and I were longtime friends but it was a true honor for him to do his last cover shoot with us. He was so graceful and still at the top of his game in his latter years. A true gentleman and a consummate professional to the very end.”

Funeral arrangements for White will be held on July 12 at Whigham Funeral Home in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.