Photo 'MA' archive Roxanna Floyd (left) with Angela Bassett

Updated Feb. 5, 2010

Artist Roxanna Floyd, whose beauty, fashion, film and TV work was described by one colleague as “lean and elegant,” died unexpectedly from as-yet undetermined causes on Jan. 28, 2010 in New York. She was 49 years old.

Floyd worked with celebrities including Whitney Houston, Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry and Queen Latifah, often as a personal make-up artist. Working with celebrities had its ups and downs; Houston chose Floyd to work on a recent world tour, although in 2009, Floyd and another stylist filed a lawsuit against Latifah to claim unpaid back wages.

In addition to working on famous faces, Floyd lent her talents to film and TV productions including Waiting to Exhale, Brown Sugar, Beauty Shop, Last Holiday, Cinderella and America’s Next Top Model. Many publications—among them Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Mademoiselle, Essence, Ebony, InStyle, Redbook and Today’s Black Woman—showcased her style, described by colleague Sue Cabral-Ebert as “lean and elegant.”

Floyd was also the subject of a Make-Up Artist magazine cover story in 2000 (see Issue 24). “I think, at least for me, just to be doing make-up still opens up the opportunity to meet people,” she said at the time.

As creative beauty director, Floyd spearheaded the brand makeover of Fashion Fair Cosmetics; she also served as a consultant to Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Proctor & Gamble. She was recently the creative consultant for the CoverGirl Queen Collection and just prior to her death, she worked with Gabourey Sidibe, Oscar®-nominated star of Precious.

“Floyd’s artistry has influenced every era since the 1980s and she leaves behind a legacy of work covering every medium, from music videos to feature films, album covers to book jackets, the Internet and more than 200 magazine covers and fashion articles,” said Cabral-Ebert, president of Local 706, the West Coast union of make-up artists and hairstylists to which Floyd belonged.

“She possessed a wonderful gift of creating, accentuating and transforming beauty. Her innovation, creativity and flair will be missed—but her legacy and spirit will continue to live.”

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Floyd died in her sleep at her home. She is survived by her husband, Rick E. Ramos; her mother, Alberta “Bertha” Floyd; her cousin and long-time assistant, Anisha Gennario, and several family members and friends.

A viewing will be held 3-6 p.m. Feb. 5, followed by a wake from 6-7 p.m. A funeral will be held 10 a.m. Feb. 6; all services take place at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 279 Lafayette Ave. in Brooklyn, New York. Interment will follow at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Putnam Valley, New York. Flowers may be sent to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 36 St. James Place, Brooklyn, New York 11238 and cards may be sent to Floyds family in care of Jelani Bandele,  P.O. Box 266, Brooklyn, New York 11205.