Josephine Baker


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Baker, Josephine,

1906–75, African-American dancer and singer, b. St. Louis, Mo., as Freda Josephine McDonald. In 1923 and 1924 she appeared in Broadway chorus lines. She became a sensation in Paris in La Revue Nègre (1925), renowned for her jazz singing, dancing, and exotically skimpy costumes. By 1927 she was one of Europe's most famous and highly paid entertainers. Naturalized as a French citizen in 1937, she worked for the Resistance in World War II and was awarded (1961) the Legion of Honor. She died in Paris after 14 triumphant performances of Josephine, celebrating her 50 years as a performer in Paris.

Bibliography

See P. Rose, Jazz Cleopatra (1989); J.-C. Baker and C. Chase, Josephine (1994); B. Jules-Rosette, Josephine Baker in Art and Life (2007); J. Mackrell, Flappers (2014).

Baker, Josephine (b. Freda Josephine McDonald)

(1906–75) dancer, entertainer; born in St. Louis, Mo. An amateur singer and dancer by age eight, she ran off at age 13 to tour with a vaudeville show. In 1921 she made her Broadway debut in Shuffle Along and also began to sing in Harlem's Plantation Club. In 1925 she went to Paris with a show called La Revue Nègre, but the show failed and she and many cast members were stranded there. She was hired to appear in an all-black act at the Folies Bergère and became an instant success with her scanty costume, lively dancing, scat singing, and uninhibited cavorting. As the epitome of "le jazz hot, " "Josephine" would remain the toast of France for five decades and also gain an international status that reached her homeland largely as a reputation; she would never accept the second-class status assigned to most blacks in America, so she long boycotted the U.S.A., becoming a French citizen in 1937. Her appearances on stage and in public were distinguished by her exotic costumes and outrageous behavior. During World War II she cooperated with the French Resistance movement by providing intelligence she was able to pick up through her privileged travels abroad. After the war she took up the cause of world brotherhood, adopting 12 children of various races and religions and raising them at her estate in France. In 1951, while touring in the States, she was refused service in the Stork Club and this led to false charges by columnist Walter Winchell that she was a communist and had consorted with Nazis during World War II. In the 1950s she took up the cause of racial equality in America, forcing the integration of several theaters and night clubs, and she was among those who addressed the crowds before the Lincoln Memorial at the 1963 March on Washington. Her plans for a "world village" at her estate, meanwhile, collapsed under financial debt and in order to raise money she made a comeback in 1973–75.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
The exhibition at The Met includes de Meyer's innovative fashion photography as well as captivating portraits of well-known individuals of his time including the iconic entertainer Josephine Baker.
Josephine Baker was a woman with lots of surprises up her sleeve; in World War II, she even smuggled secret messages for the French Resistance on her sheet music.
Caravantess biography of Josephine Baker does a good job of presenting the different sides of Baker's life as a dancer, spy, and activist.
Guterl also takes pains to track the overall impact that Josephine Baker had on her adopted children and her own birth family (primarily her mother), and argues effectively that these effects ought to be as important to any evaluation of her true legacy as her impact on the adoring public that her fantastical performances and persona commanded.
Josephine Baker, egg ala coquette, Eden Paradis, Valrohna hot chocolate
Guterl cites six previous biographies of Baker, including Lynn Haney's Naked at the Feast: The Biography of Josephine Baker (1981) and Benetta Jules Rossette's Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and the Image (2007).
Su arte le permitio conocer y alternar con figurones de la talla de Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Josephine Baker, Orson Welles, Gilbert Becaud, Frank Pourcel, Paul Mauriat, Frank Sinatra, Pedro Vargas, Lola Beltran, Oiga Guillot y Armando Manzanero, entre otros, casi hasta su muerte en Mexico, donde residia, acaecida a finales de 2005.
The singer will be accompanied by French pianist Franck Monbaylet and the performance will cover popular cabaret songs from the 20th century including choices by Josephine Baker, Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour and others.
Growing up, Stevenson remembers going with her to Los Angeles to see Josephine Baker, and James Baldwin in the '60s when he spoke at Stanford University.
COQUETRY, debauchery, celebrity might be the most descriptive words to evoke the Paris that Josephine Baker encountered when she arrived there in the 1920's.
Mark Fitzpatrick, GVA Grimley; Paul Brocklehurst, Catesby Property Group; Carl Durrant, GVA Grimley; Chris Maxim, King Sturge; Kenny Allan, CBRE; John Sambrooks, DTZ; Steve Rowan, Atis Real; Nathan Cumberlidge, DTZ; Peter Monks, Atis Real; Alex Hanna, Lambert Smith Hampton; Andy Hartwright, Savills; Carl Durrant, GVA Grimley; Ranjit Gill, Atis Real; Andrew Southern, Catesby; Les Balla, Bigwood; Geoffrey Burcher, Chivers; Mark Fitzpatrick, GVA Grimley, with Caroline Mills, Atis Real; Steve Smith, Benniman Group; Richard Meering, M3; Andy Lee, Catesby Property Group; Josephine Baker, M3; David Willmer and Tesni Rutherford, both GVA Grimley
Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Josephine Baker, Henry O.