Spreading Knowledge

Spreading knowledge amongst the women of the world.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Black History Inspiration: Josephine Baker

Many apologies for my absence, dolls. But to make up for my time gone, I have a little history to share. Many of you many know that February is known as Black History Month. For today, I would like to dedicate this post to an influential African American who helped change the nation with her wit, beauty, and heart!

Josephine Baker

Photo Credit
Josephine Baker, born Freda Josephine McDonald, was an African American French dancer, actress, singer, and activist. She was born on June 3, 1906 in St. Louis Missouri. Growing up, she waitress and babysat for wealthy families and soon married her first husband, Jean-Claude Baker.

Josephine was known for her energetic personality, independence, beauty, and barely-there ensembles. She began preforming in 1919 with the Jones Family Band and the Dixie Steppers where she traveled across the United States preforming various comical skits and performances.

Josephine got her big break in the musical Shuffle Along, which also featured Adelaide Hall and Paul Robeson. However, the turning point in Josephine's career was when she traveled to Paris and preformed in La Revue Nègre.

Josephine was also a major figure during World War II. She sang for the troops and worked as a spy, composing secret messages on her music sheets. She was also a sub-lieutenant in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. She was honored with the Medal of the Resistance and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government.

Visiting the states in the 50's and 60's, Josephine sought to fight against racism and segregation. She adopted twelve children, known as The Rainbow Tribe, where she stated that "children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers." Josephine later died from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1975, and was buried in France.

Fashion's Inspired by Josephine

Photo Credit
Josephine's style was seductive, exotic, and typical 20's glam. She was offered diamonds and pearls, as well as numerous marriage proposals. She was nicknamed "Black Venus," "Black Pearl," and "Creole Goddess" for her beauty and energy. Her beauty advice was "Dance a lot and sweat a lot, because that makes you sleep," and it proved to worked for this lovely lady.

Josephine had a very wild style composed of pieces that showed off her long legs and slim figure. The 1920's was a time for short dresses, diamonds, and pearls. As well as good dancing shoes!

Dance and Sweat

Get inspired by the 1920's flapper style with this drop waist, pocket dress and sheer cardigan. Complete the look with adorable kitten heels and chain, fringe earrings.

Tally Me Bananas

Josephine took over the fashion world in the 20's and 30's with her satin gowns, dramatic makeup, and her iconic Banana costume. As she put it, "I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on." Get this iconic look with a yellow, pleated skater skirt and a crochet, crop top. Finish it off with T-strap sandals, bangles, and a banana pendant necklace.


Chiquita, one of Josephine's numerous pets, was one pretty kitty...er, cheetah. Be pampered and glamorous with a cheetah print dress and brown boots. Finish the look, and mimic Chiquita, with a gold choker.

View one of Josephine's dances from Princess Tam Tam and her famous Banana Dance
 That's all for now dolls!
~~ReneA P.
Information found on The Official Josephine Baker Website