For an hedonist, Mr. Hefner was surprisingly progressive and ahead of the curve when it came to racial matters in the US.
He allowed his Playboy magazine to interview (and hire) people as diverse as Alex Haley, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Sammy Davis Jr., Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Jesse Jackson, cartoonist Robert “Buck” Brown, Jim Brown and Dick Gregory.
Mr. Hefner was a lifetime lover of music, so allowed black musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ike & Tina Turner and so on play at either his mansion, or on his Playboy After Dark series.
And, he allowed Black women to pose nude in his magazine years before non-nude female African American models were in the mainstream of magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal or Sports Illustrated.
He was also an early advocate for reproductive rights, marijuana reform and the abolition of sodomy laws, and overall, was one of many that helped show White Americans that African Americans were people too.
So, for all of his many faults, (like his stated preference for Blond women) in which others have documented in the past, and will so in the future, Mr. Hugh Hefner was an ally of African Americans