Her name was Josephine Baker
When we think sex symbols I think our minds naturally go to Marilyn Monroe. The blonde hair, the curves, the body many are naturally after today. And while I love Marilyn I wanted to take the time to show the black women who were every bit if not more sex symbols but also women of integrity that fought for human rights and what they believed in. These women all prove to be more than just beauty and sex appeal. Something that should be taken into account today with many women choosing to dress how they want, post what they want on a large or small scale audience. Just because a woman has sex appeal doesn't mean she doesn't have a brain to go along with it. Just because someone is free with their body, choosing to show it in a light that maybe you would be uncomfortable showing yours in does not make them any less of a humanitarian or an educator or a civil rights activist. I've always found men to try and box me in. Like I couldn't be a sexual being and be smart or passionate about something else. I've also found women to try and box me in as well, I find these women to have somewhere along the line lost sense that we are on the same team. And just because I don't dress like you, or act like you, doesn't mean we can't support each other.
Introducing The Josephine Baker
The groundbreaking performer from the 20's through the 70's who rose to fame for her erotic performances and political activism. The first African American woman to star in a movie, Youzou in 1934.
She is my pin up dream as well as many others.
A black woman born in St. Louis slums in the early 20th century America..
She was one of the few to captivate Paris in such form. She also was one of the highest-paid performers in Europe at one point. For a Black woman in that time, that is major. When she passed away in 1975 people crowded the streets to watch her funeral procession.
Her appearance at 13 years old, was one of dark skin and a slender body, which was not appealing to white audiences, she was not even permitted to dance as a chorus girl. But with determination continued to learn the dances and songs, her charismatic charm and humor soon got her attention. Her sensual and decorative performances soon took her to Paris where her name spread and she rose to fame. She was an activist at heart. While she made Paris her home because she found more acceptance there, and since she was a valued performer she got more perks that were not available to Black Women at the time. When she returned to America she was reminded of segregation and ill treatment by media.
During WWII she worked for the French Resistance and her Chateau was used for operations by the army. When the war ended and her activism in the Civil Rights movement she became very involved in public media battles and due to her reputation for performing in segregated venues she was one of the first black performers to take the stage in front of an integrated audience.
Even backed by the Princess of Monaco the well known actress Grace Kelly, Baker was able to publicly boycott the celebrated and very popular Stork Club.
What I admire about Josephine was her ability to take on being one of the first Black women to appear on film and entertain with such a voice and sexual sensuality but still fight for the rights of black people. She was way more than just a beautiful face and figure. While she was unafraid to go bare and she also led a very public life with her personal life known through tabloids. She was raw, she was real, and unapologetically herself.