Author Topic: Josephine Baker's centenary  (Read 1912 times)


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Josephine Baker's centenary
« on: June 01, 2006, 08:21:57 PM »
One of the first Black stars (she was also of Amerindian descent), and probably even more popular in France than in the US. She was subjected to racism and stereotyping, but also played with them and turned them on their head. This diva was also active in the Resistance and the Civil Rights movement, and adopted a big family of kids of all colours and backgrounds. She would have been 100 on 3 June 2006.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

brebis noire

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Josephine Baker's centenary
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 10:08:10 PM »
I just bought a Josephine Baker CD for 2$ the other day!  :shock: I didn't know it would've been her 100th this year.

I'm still trying to understand the words from this song - they are transcribed here, but I can't make much sense of it.
Apparently La Baker was quite the performer, not such a great singer (allô Madonna!) but I guess you had to be there...

(Bobby Falk / Leo Lelièvre / Henri Varna)

Josephine Baker - 1932

Je voudrais être blanche
Pour moi quel bonheur
Si mes seins et mes hanches changent de couleur
Les Parisiens à Juan-les-Pins se faisaient droit
Au soleil
D’exposer leur amour un peu noir

Moi pour être blanche
J’allais me roulant
Parmi les avalanches
En haut du Mont Blanc
Ce stratagème donne un petit… ???
J’avais l’air dans la g’renne d’un petit mulot

Etant petite avec chagrin
J’admirais dans les magasins
Le teint se farde pour les blancs
J’aurais voulu leur ressembler
Et je disais l’air accablé
Me croyant toute seule brune au monde

Au soleil c’est par l’extérieur
Qu’il lance l’or
Moi c’est la flamme de mon cœur qui me colore

Bon signe que je sois blanche
Pour vous faire vieux ???

(Transcribed by Jean-Marie Del Fabbro - July 2005)


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Josephine Baker's centenary
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2006, 06:57:14 AM »
Well, it's ...  suggestive. Of what? I hear you cry. Dunno, but the references to Juan-les-Pins and Mont Blanc suggest elite resorts to me. And then there is the interesting comparison of herself and the sun, how they project their colour, or where it comes from. She didn't write it, though, so hard to know ...

From the stills at that second link you can see what a performer she was. And one line I ran into somewhere -- "You have to fight every day" -- suggests where that performing drive came from.

I remember knowing about the mansion filled with adopted children. I think immediately of interviews ...

brebis noire

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Josephine Baker's centenary
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 09:42:50 AM »
This made me laugh (not the part about the bananas, but the leopard):

"Already a star, she performed in a skirt made only of bananas, often accompanied by her pet leopard, Chiquita, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The leopard frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians, adding yet another element of excitement to the show."

From the wiki link - wow, what a life, eh? I take her lack of financial success as showing just how interesting, combative and rich her life turned out to be.


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