I’m sure you’ve all heard the News of Playboy Founder, Hugh Hefner’s death at 91 last week…Hef is a Pop culture icon, so love him or hate him its only right we pay tribute.
Hefner was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 1926, and served in the US Army from 1944 to 1946 as a writer for a military newspaper. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Creative writing
In January 1952, Hefner left his job as a copywriter for Esquire Magazine after he was denied a $5 raise and launched Playboy, which was initially going to be called Stag Party. The first issue, published in December 1953 sold over 50,000 copies.
Hefner’s influence continued to grow, and in 1961, he helped overcome the Colour Bar in Entertainment as the Playboy Club was one of the first establishments to feature Black Entertainers like stand-up Comedian Dick Gregory. During the Civil Rights era in 1966, Hefner also hired Alex Haley the Author of ‘Roots’ to do an Interview Column which was instrumental in canvassing the Race issues confronting America at the time.
The insightful documentary Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, was released on July 30, 2010 and is available for viewing on our YouTube Channel’s ‘Music, Sports & Culture’ Playlist…Highly recommended for a more complete understanding of the man beyond the Glitz and Glam.
Ultimately, Hefner was a polarising figure, regarded as a Revolutionary in some circles, and nothing short of a glorified ‘Pimp’ in others..The conflicting tributes following his death bear testament to his contested legacy.
You can peep the links below to articles offering conflicting views on his legacy, including the 1963 article by former Playmate Gloria Steinem, ‘A Bunny’s Tale’ which depicts an insiders view of the Playboy Empire which isnt so glamorous.
Either way, Hef’s Cultural impact cannot be denied, and so we tip our hat to Hef and play off with out featured Music Video of the week, Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’ as a fitting tribute.
Links & Credits
Gloria Steinem: A Bunny’s Tale: http://sites.dlib.nyu.edu/undercover/sites/dlib.nyu.edu.undercover/files/documents/uploads/editors/Show-A%20Bunny%27s%20Tale-Part%20One-May%201963.pdf