Sunday, February 28, 2021

That's Black Entertainment!

Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, in a scene from Carmen Jones (1954)

What better way to end Black History Month than a celebration (via TCM) of song and dance from Hollywood's most iconic Black performers of the 1940s-1950s. None of the great stars in this video were openly gay or lesbian back in those days almost everyone was in the closet but a few were known to be "in the life".

It's been said many times that all the great show singers were gay or bisexual:
Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, all of them. The men in their professional lives, such as producers, were sexually demanding but showed no tenderness, and the showgirls roomed together. They risked being mocked as “bulldaggers,” but lesbianism was so common in that era it was almost accepted: for gay men, it was far, far worse.
As we dig through the historical archives it's important to embrace our queer kin but respect that many, if they were alive today, still might not identify as LGBTQ because of the rigid values thrusted upon them by a very judgmental society. Enjoy the video below!

The performers featured in this compilation clip are: 

Pearl Bailey, Max Roach, Lena Horne, Hazel Scott, Josephine Baker, Fats Waller, Zutty Singleton, Ella Fitzgerald, John W. Bubbles, Louis Armstrong, Bill Robinson, Ethel Waters, Dorothy Dandridge, Nicholas Brothers.

The Movies Featured Are:
Siren of the Tropics (1927)
I Dood It (1943)
Stormy Weather (1943)
Cabin In The Sky (1943)
Words & Music (1948)
High Society (1954)
Carmen Jones (1954)
Pete Kelly's Blues (1955)
Look for these films on TCM.

WATCH: That's Black Entertainment 

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