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Black Voices in Cabaret — Josephine Baker

August 3 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

A crowd on the lawn listens to a Prelude Concert outside the Linde Center at Tanglewood. Press photo courtesy of the BSO
Photo by Hilary Scott

Tanglewood Learning Institute Presents: “Black Voices in Cabaret – Josephine Baker,” a celebration of an internationally acclaimed dancer, vocalist and performer.

The event will take place at the Linde Center.

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Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 3, 1906, Josephine Baker toured the United States with The Jones Family Band and The Dixie Steppers in 1919, performing various comical skits.

By the 1920s she had crossed the Atlantic, and der career thrived in the integrated Paris society; when La Revue Nègreclosed, Josephine starred in La Folie du Jour at the Follies-Bergère Theater. …

Josephine rivaled Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford as the most photographed woman in the world, and by 1927, she earned more than any entertainer in Europe. She starred in two movies in the early 1930s, Zou-Zou and Princesse Tam-Tam, and moved her family from St. Louis to Les Milandes, her estate in Castelnaud-Fayrac, France.

Josephine served France during World War II in several ways. She performed for the troops and was an honorable correspondent for the French Resistance (undercover work included smuggling secret messages written on her music sheets) and a sub-lieutenant in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. She was later awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government for hard work and dedication.

Josephine visited the United States during the ‘50s and ‘60s with renewed vigor to fight racism. When New York’s popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts.

Josephine agreed to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1973. Due to previous experience, she was nervous about how the audience and critics would receive her. This time, however, cultural and racial growth was evident. Josephine received a standing ovation before the concert even began. The enthusiastic welcome was so touching that she wept onstage.

On April 8, 1975, Josephine premiered at the Bobino Theater in Paris. Celebrities such as Princess Grace of Monaco and Sophia Loren were in attendance to see 68-year-old Josephine perform a medley of routines from her 50-year career.

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Event Details

Details

Date:
August 3
Time:
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Event Categories:
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Event Location

Tanglewood
297 West St.
Lenox, MA
413-637-1666

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