Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mother of the Rainbow: Josephine Baker

Black Pearl - Creole Goddess - Black Venus - Josephine Baker is the mother of black sensuality. Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri. Baker began as a maid and a nanny before she started singing and waitressing in night clubs at 13 years old. Baker would continue to perform on screen and stage and was known for her comedic dance and eye rolling. 

Baker's style and performaces will influence modern day celebrity, pop and R&B artists like Beyonce, Keri Hilson and Halle Berry.

Baker was constantly haunted by bigotry and couldn't find fame in the United States. So the entertainer moved to Paris in the 1920's. At that point in her life, she was famed as the most photographed woman in the world. Baker would try to return to the US but was run off of American soil because of her fight and protest against racism. Baker ultimately stayed in Paris where she performed for the Armed Forces and served as a spy for the French Army during World War II. She was not welcome by American society until the seventies.

Baker, who was proposed marriage over 1500 times, was married and divorced three times. But her biggest feat in her personal life was the adoption of her "Rainbow Tribe"; her 12 adopted children from different ethnicities.

Baker died April 12, 1975 of a cerebral hemorage.

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