Jody Watley Classic Photo of The Day. Celebrating Josephine Baker.

Jody Watley in Essence Magazine 1989

Jody Watley in Essence Magazine


I had the opportunity to see Josephine Baker when I was a little girl. My mother took my brother and I to see her at The Regal Theatre. Later, after becoming an artist myself, I nearly won the role to play her on the HBO movie “The Josephine Baker Story” ultimately the role went to actress Lynn Whitfield. Ms. Baker was obviously much older when I saw her, but I’ll never forget how mesmerizing she was and thinking back on it now – I also realize what a blessing it was to witness this icon while she was alive. I’ve read many books on her fascinating life – and what a life she lived through it all.  What a trailblazer.


Josephine_Baker_1950Josephine Baker; Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975) was an American-born dancer, singer, and actress who came to be known in various circles as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess”. Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine later became a citizen of France in 1937. She was fluent in both English and French.

Baker was the first African-American woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) or to become a world-famous entertainer. Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in America, is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. She was once offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King in 1968, following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. Baker, however, turned down the offer. She was also known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and received the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.


Visit the Official Josephine Baker Website: HERE