Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Lessons Learned From....Josephine Baker
Freda Josephine McDonald, aka Josephine Baker, was my kind of woman. She was fierce, talented, passionate, generous and behind that coy smile and Eton crop was one bad mamajama who did what she liked when she liked. She adopted her own "Rainbow Tribe" long before African babies were the new black and when her own country would not treat her with the respect and dignity she deserved she split! Here are a few lessons we can learn from the woman who put the Art in des Arts Decoratifs (Art Deco).
1. A banana hammock is a sin but a banana skirt is couture!
2. Being a cat lady isn't all that bad when your cat is a cheetah.
3. If you don't like the hand you're dealt get a new one...Josephine wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth but with hard work, dedication and a lotta bit of gumption she went from a street shild dancing on the corner to the "highest paid chorus girl in vaudeville" to the most successful American (notice I said American not African-American) entertainer working in France.
4. Stand for something. Josephine was more than a nice set of legs and a pretty face, she worked with the French underground during World War II earning the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Resistance and was made Chevalier of the Legion d'honneur by Charles de Gaulle. She also a HUGE supporter of the Civil Rights movement although she stayed in France where her marriage to a white Frenchman was not illegal--look up anti-miscegenation laws, interracial marriages were the first marriage equality fights--and she cared for her Rainbow Tribe consisting of 12 multi-racial orphans. Oh and JB refused to play to segregated audiences in the US.
5. "The things we truly love stay with us always. Locked in our hearts as long as life remains"