Personalities | Josephine Baker | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
(Vocals, dancer, 1906–75)
Born Freda Josephine McDonald, the St. Louis-born entertainer danced in the 1921 Sissle/Blake musical Shuffle Along before gaining a bigger role in their Chocolate Dandies in 1924, leading to appearances at the Cotton Club. The following year, she introduced ‘le jazz hot’ to Paris in La Revue Négre (also featuring Sidney Bechet) with her exotic dancing and uninhibited onstage sexuality. After working with the Red Cross and French Resistance during the Second World War – and adopting 12 children – she staged a major comeback in 1973, culminating in a 1975 performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
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