All Articles Tagged "josephine baker"

Deborah Cox To Star In “Josephine”, An Original Broadway Musical

March 7th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we have some pretty exciting news to report.

The Asolo Repertory Theatre announced “Josephine,” an original Broadway-bound musical starring Deborah Cox will debut in April! The musical will follow the life of the legendary African American performer, Josephine Baker, from 1939-1945.

The musical will be produced and directed by the big dogs of Broadway, including veteran 2-time Tony Award-winner Kenneth Waissman. According to a press release by Asolo Repertory Theatre,

Inspired by Stephen Papich’s book “Remembering Josephine,” the musical revolves around Baker’s stint as the star of the Folies Bergere in Paris between 1939-45, her scandalous affair with Swedish Crown Prince Gustav VI, and her heroic service in the French Resistance during World War II. She was hailed as the “Black Pearl.” Picasso dubbed her the “Nefertiti of Now.” Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.” The entrancing Josephine Baker was beautiful, ambitious, and the toast of Europe at the height of her fame in the 1920s-30s. Born into poverty in St. Louis, she rose to become an icon of the Jazz Age, captivating Paris audiences as a dancer, singer, actress and the twentieth-century’s first international black female sex symbol.

“We are excited to present the world premiere of this extraordinary original musical, brimming with unparalleled Broadway talent,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “JOSEPHINE vividly brings to life the story of a beloved American icon – one of the most magnetic and fascinating women in history. This celebration ofJosephine Baker is a remarkably evocative work of art and a brilliant addition to our five-year American Character Project.”

“For a number of years, I had been intrigued with the idea of recreating the glamorous and exotic world of Josephine Baker in a stage musical,” said Kenneth Waissman. “She was a larger than life African-American expatriate who transcended her color, her gender and her times. Her exotic looks, fabulous gowns and feathered headdresses, her obsession with her royal lover and her life-risking exploits in the French underground during WWII provide the sex, romance and intrigue of this original new musical. I’m thrilled to be working with Asolo Repertory Theatre on the world premiere of this Broadway-bound dream.”

How many of our followers will be attending?

Get Your Popcorn Ready: The 13 Best Biopics About Women

March 10th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Over the years Hollywood has paid homage to some of the most influential, and sometimes controversial, women of our time and in honor of Women’s History month, we take a look at some of the best movies about these important figures.

Biopics About Women

The Josephine Baker Story

Dancer/singer Josephine Baker was the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture film and become a world famous entertainer. Known for performing the banana dance, Baker would wear the fruit covering her bottom while remaining topless. She was also known for her contributions to the Civil Rights movement. Actress Lynn Whitfield stepped into the shoes of Baker for the 1991 HBO biopic The Josephine Baker Story. Unlike most biographical films, this one dug as deep into Baker’s personal life as her public one. Whitfield took home an Emmy and an NAACP award for her role in the film.

Precious Pooches: Our Favorite Celebrities And Their Pets

December 19th, 2013 - By M A
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Judy Eddy/

Judy Eddy/

Though celebrity couples seem to come and go every day, pets are without a doubt the constant loving presence in many famous folks’ lives. With that said, here’s a look at some of our favorite celebrities and their pets.

Celebrities Who’ve Been Banned And Blacklisted For Dressing, Acting, Or Talking Crazy

September 18th, 2013 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Political stances, personal history, dress codes and opinions are only some of the reasons why people have been banished, exiled, blacklisted and banned from different countries. There are countries where if it is assumed that you may have done something slightly undesirable, they’d just expel you -no proof needed. While banishment sounds hella old school, prohibition and ejections are just as alive and well as racism, and, if you thought that celebrities weren’t vulnerable to these type of exclusions, you’re dead wrong. Miley Cyrus, Alec Baldwin, The Dixie Chicks, Lil Wayne, Justin Beiber, Lindsay Lohan and Nicki Minaj only represent a shortlist of celebrities who’ve been banned from countries, corporations, businesses and industries for their behavior.

Beyonce performs at the Chime for Change concert. Danny Clifford/

Danny Clifford/


The reigning queen of rump-shaking (only bested by Madame Tina Turner, herself) was prohibited from entering the Southeast Asian country, Malaysia, not once…but twice. Malaysian government dictates that female performers must be clothed from shoulders to knees, showing no cleavage. And, everyone who has seen Beyoncé’s last twenty-odd music videos knows that isn’t her forte. The skin-bearing diva performed in Indonesia instead of Malaysia because Islamic conservative groups planned to protest the Malaysian concert if she had even tried to perform. –Malaysia also banned Lady Gaga for using pro-gay lyrics.

Ummm What? Rihanna To Play Josephine Baker In Biopic

May 10th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Remember earlier this week when I said my faith in biopics was being restored? Scratch that.

EurWeb is reporting that a production company by the name of Noosa Films has a Josephine Baker biopic in the works and guess who’s the first choice to play the lead role? Rihanna.

Noosa Films reportedly won the rights to the iconic American and French dancer’s autobiography “Josephine” from French Publishers Editions Robert Laffont, and according to WENN, producer W. Lance Reynolds is praying Rihanna will accept the lead role. Reynolds said in a statement:

“Rihanna is one of the most talented performers of this millennium and with her unique acting and performing abilities I have no doubt she will bring Josephine back to life on the big screen”

Let the shade begin.

Though “Battleship” is the only work we have to judge Rihanna’s acting ability on, this part seems like a rather large undertaking for someone who is not an actor by trade. And let’s be real, Ri Ri didn’t exactly impress anyone with her 2012 debut movie role.

EurWeb points out that Diana Ross has “long lobbied to bring Baker’s life in a biopic but to no avail,” I think some are hoping this push for Rihanna follows the same route. This is the second biopic in recent years that Rihanna’s name has been attached to. Immediately following Whitney Houston’s death last year, sources said the Bajan singer could be in the running to play her in a potential biopic in the future.

Do you think Rihanna can pull off the role of Josephine Baker? What actresses would you like to see come up for the part?

Who’da Thunk It? 15 Black Women We’re Surprised Dated/Married White Men

December 12th, 2012 - By M A
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We did the men, now it’s on to the women. We scoured the interwebs and our own treasure trove of celebrity knowledge to bring you 15 women who shocked us just a bit when they stepped out with white men.

A Final Word on The Potent Power of the “N” Word

June 8th, 2012 - By Stephanie Guerilus
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As you know, Gwyneth Paltrow has been catching a lot of heat for tweeting ‘Ni**as in Paris for real’ during Jay Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne concert in Paris. I’m here to jump up and down on my soapbox and throw the last bit of gasoline on that raging fire. I’m also going to light up a few of her co-signers in the process.

Russell Simmons recently wrote a blog about how we shouldn’t take offense to Gwennie using the “N” word because it’s a badge of honor. He wrote,

“And in the case of “N*ggas in Paris,” it is clear that these two poets are celebrating the fact that they now travel the world and are literally ballin’ in Paris … it started as a badge of honor, something to be proud of, something to poke their chests out at. Because for them, when they were kids, Paris was a million miles away and now it’s a private jet ride. The idea of being in Paris with a movie star, whether she’s black or white, is incredible!

At the risk of sounding uppity, the life story of Josephine Baker never made Paris seem that far away to me. It seemed within my reach because of her. She was a woman of color living in Paris and broke down many a barrier during her lifetime. So as a little girl, the validation of an actress referring to me as a “n*gga for real” didn’t cross my mind. But Russell isn’t the only one who has given Gwen cover for her a** to fall on. Gayle King stated on the CBS Early Morning Show that the song “N****s In Paris” is the reason why she goes to Paris. Oprah’s BFF obviously caught amnesia and forgot about the time she and Lady O weren’t allowed in the store Hermes for literally being n****s in Paris. The-Dream, who was at the concert, even took responsibility for the offensive tweet and then promptly told Twitter to pretty much get over it because it was all about context. If it’s all about the way you say it, where did the “for real” part come from? That’s not in the song’s title.

The biggest offenders in this rush to defend Gwen for getting just a little bit too comfortable are her besties: Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Their silence is just as incendiary as the “N” word. It even speaks louder. They don’t have to denounce her, but friends check each other.

The Bible speaks on the power of the tongue. It holds life and death. Our history has left too many of us dead just because of the color of our skin. From the slave ships of yesteryear to the Trayvon Martin’s of today, we are being killed because our lives are being seen as having less value and that perception is built around the reality that we are just seen as “n****s” to many. Too many.  A single word has damned the black community, but yet a lot of us want to change the meaning behind it. I suppose, but I don’t see Hispanics in a rush to reclaim any of the slur people use against them. GLAAD will fly down like a pack of locusts against those who throw around offensive language to gays and no exceptions or context is accepted. There are repercussions for others when insults of this manner happen in their community, but there’s always one of us leading the charge to absolve those that offend. What’s that about?

The default rationale is that we use the “N” word and so it’s permissible for universal use. In this instance, it’s the name of the song and therefore it’s okay. The word is littered in so many rap songs that you’ve come to expect it after the first beat drops. The use of the “N” word has become so commonplace that people just shrug when they hear it and that’s a Joe Clark Code 10 situation!  It’s time to get out of the house and burn it to the damn ground.

Blacks who are in a position of power have got to use their influence. Their platforms shouldn’t be used to make a mockery as to why there is outrage over the flippant use of the “N” word. Their silence and apathy in lieu of some emotion shouldn’t be either.  A lot of these celebrities shouldn’t act too surprised when they hear crickets at the cash register. If anyone can be that removed from how potent the “N” word still is and always will be, I can keep my hard earned dollars to myself. And that’s for real.

Follow Stephanie Guerilus @qsteph

More on Madame Noire!

“JET” Magazine Over the Years

October 31st, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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This year marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic, JET magazine. The African American weekly has chronicled culture, fashion, politics and entertainment over the past six decades. (And how could we forget the beauties of the week?) In many ways the book has documented the African American life. Check out this gallery to see which issues were pressing and who was hot with each passing decade.

1951- Josephine Baker was dubbed “the world’s best dressed” woman in this issue. We know Josephine liked to prance around in the nude on stage but apparently when she did wear clothes she shut it down.

Deborah Cox to Play Josephine Baker on Broadway

June 3rd, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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Josephine is coming to Broadway…by way of Deborah Cox. The R&B artist will play the deceased diva in a production that’s about two decades in the making.

Director, Kenneth Waissman received a script nearly 20 years ago from Suzanne de Passe and Motown. Diana Ross was the first leading lady they had in mind but she couldn’t fulfill to the two year time commitment.

Deborah Cox will star in the play which debuts in the Spring of next year.

For more about Josephine Baker and the play check out the

Waving the Rainbow Flag: Famous Gay & Bisexual Women

March 11th, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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Mainstream America hasn’t been particularly accepting of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community, and that goes double in the African American community. With strong “traditional church” backgrounds and the fear of the down- low brother choosing to express your homosexuality can be detrimental or even dangerous in some situations. Despite this fact, there are some celebrities who’ve decided to endure the inevitable criticism and come out, some publicly, some not so publicly, sharing just one part of who they really are.