Lena Horne left us over the weekend at age 92.  I'm guessing there are younger folks reading this who don't even know who she was.  She began her career at the legendary Cotton Club when she was just a teenager. She moved on to Broadway until Hollywood came a-calling. M-G-M signed her with the hope that they could pass her off as a Latina, but Miss Horne would not play along and other than a few "all black" productions, she was doomed to a series of guest-starring roles which could easily be cut out lest  certain audiences should be offended by a beautiful African-American woman interacting with Caucasians. In the 50s she went back to Broadway and headlined at the swankest nightclubs (back when there was such a thing as a swank nightclub).  She also took some heat for marrying a white guy in a time when interracial marriage and "miscegenation" was illegal in many states. In the 50s and 60s there was this thing on TV called "variety shows" and she was on all of them. She also made some swingin' albums.  She had more attitude, and was fiercer than any drag queen could ever hope to be.  In the 80s her one-woman show on Broadway played to packed houses.  If you have never seen a Lena Horne performance you must consult YouTube.  We will never see like her again.


midnight said…
She was fantastic and will be missed.
Pitbullshark said…
A documentary I saw about Las Vegas said that Lena Horne was the first black entertainer ever to be allowed to actually stay in the hotel in which she performed...but the maids were instructed to burn the sheets she slept in so that they would never be used by a white guest. (It's hard to imagine such prejudice...well, I guess maybe not, but that really does take the cake.)

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