Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Black Pearl

Josephine Baker
June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975
 

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The Black Pearl, Bronze Goddess, and Creole Goddess  were a few of the many nicknames of Josephine Baker. She was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer.

Baker and her pet cheetah, Chiquita.
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Not only did she sing, dance, and star in major motion pictures, she contributed to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and inspired female entertainers worldwide as well as the fashion. 
Baker in one of her elaborate costumes made of feathers.
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Her style included a lot of feathers, headdresses, sparkling jewelry and skin baring ensembles. With her scantily-clad dances, she often wore little more than a few strings of pearls and giant chandelier earrings. 



Ernest Hemingway named her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”
Baker in her most famous outfit, the banana skirt, for the Danse banane from the Folies Bergeres production Un Vent de Folie in Paris in 1927. 
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Beyonce honored Josephine Baker at the 2006 Fashion Rocks in a modern day banana skirt while performing her single, "Deja Vu." The dancing in the music video was inspired by Baker. 
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Tyra Banks as Baker on the television show, Gossip Girl, in 2009. She played a fictional character who was an award-winning actress playing Baker in an Oscar-worthy movie about the French Resistance during World War II. 
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Keri Hilson payed homage to Baker in her 2010 girl anthem video, "Pretty Girl Rock."
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Diana Ross, who was inspired by Baker, often performed in Bob Mackie-designed outfits similar to Baker's and reenacted similar poses during her photo shoots.  
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Whitney Houston payed tribute to Baker in her "I'm Your Baby Tonight" music video to represent the Harlem Renaissance. 
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XO Wil Harris