BY Michelle Garcia
September 23 2009 5:45 PM ET
Josephine Baker (1906–1975)
This St. Louis native got her start when she escaped her May-December marriage (her first marriage) in 1920 to join a black vaudeville touring company. The legendary dancer and singer is well known for challenging racism and sexual repression. While she found herself restricted by segregation in the United States, she found a more accepting atmosphere in France. During World War II she worked with underground anti-Nazi resistance forces and entertained Allied troops. As her career went on, Baker also perfected the style of performance that would later be known as vogueing. While the performer was known for her sexual conquests of men, she also had lady lovers through her life, including French novelist Colette and possibly Frida Kahlo.
Listen to her sing "Bye Bye Blackbird" (1927).
- Dance NYC Boylesque Fest Teases Return 6:00 AM
- Artist Spotlight Artist Spotlight: Taylor Smith 4:00 AM
- Women WATCH: Trans Man Has Vagina Pride March 07 2014 7:51 PM
- Hot Sheet Hot Sheet: History Boys March 07 2014 7:25 PM
- Marriage Equality Here's The Most Absurd Thing You Missed in Michigan's Marriage Equality Trial March 07 2014 7:20 PM
- Uganda As Aid Cuts Continue, Ugandan Officials Not Concerned March 07 2014 6:57 PM
- Religion Fired Gay Administrator Sues Wash. Catholic School March 07 2014 6:55 PM