Mar 23, 2009

Fierce woman in Time

From time to time I like to spotlight different woman in history who inspire me and make me proud to be a W-O-M-A-N. This month I would like to spotlight the exotic beauty Ms. Josephine Baker (June 3rd, 1906 to April 12, 1975). Most people might know of her for the infamous banana skirt outfit she wore for a performance in Paris in 1927. Here is a little bio I found on her website:

Josephine Baker sashayed onto a Paris stage during the 1920s with a comic, yet sensual appeal that took Europe by storm. Famous for barely-there dresses and no-holds-barred dance routines, her exotic beauty generated nicknames "Black Venus," "Black Pearl" and "Creole Goddess." Admirers bestowed a plethora of gifts, including diamonds and cars, and she received approximately 1,500 marriage proposals. She maintained energetic performances and a celebrity status for 50 years until her death in 1975. Unfortunately, racism prevented her talents from being wholly accepted in the United States until 1973.

What inspires me about this woman is that she dropped out of school at the age of 12 and lived on the streets, eating food from garbage cans and sleeping in cardboard shelters. She would perform on the streets which is where she was discovered and recruited at age 15. She later traveled to Paris to perform and became an instant success, appearing almost nude on stage and tantalizing the audience with her exotic dancing. Not only did she grace Paris with her presence but her style also represented one aspect of the "Art Deco" fashion that was popular at the time.

She was the most successful American entertainer working in France in her prime. In addition to being a musical star, Baker also starred in three films which found success only in Europe because of how prominent racism was in America at the time. The three films are Siren of the Tropics (1927), Zouzou (1934) and Princesse Tam Tam (1935). Now if that's not FIERCE I don't know what is!! So I wanna take this time to salute Josephine Baker for her charisma, her originality and for the legend that she became!

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