Ja’Net DuBois is shown in 1964 at the time she shared the Broadway stage with none other than Sammy Davis in “Golden Boy.” The Brooklyn-born diva co-wrote and sang the theme from “The Jeffersons” and of course, you know that she was “Willona” on “Good Times” in the 1970s. She is also a co-founder (with Danny Glover and Ayuko Babu) of the Pan African Film & Arts Festival. Photo: John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images.
Dorothy Dandridge was born 92 years ago today in Cleveland, Ohio. You know I’m having an off (quiet!) Sunday if it takes me this long to put her up - but here she is in one of my favorite photos from my book, Vintage Black Glamour. I saw this picture in the Schomburg library at least ten years ago and KNEW it had to be in my book: Ms. Dandridge taking a dance lesson in the 1950s with Russian-born dance instructor Olga Lunick in Hollywood.
This iconic image of the one and only Eartha Kitt appears in my book Vintage Black Glamour. It was taken by Moneta Sleet, Jr., the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ebony photographer, in 1956 at the opening of Roxanne’s Dressmakng Shop in New York City, co-owned by Ms. Kitt.
The great Redd Foxx (1922-1991) was born John Elroy Sanford 92 years ago today in St. Louis, Missouri. This photo of Mr. Foxx with Nina Simone in 1959 is one of my favorites. Photo: G. Marshall Wilson.
Tony Orlando and Dawn: Tony Orlando, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson in the early 1970s. Their best known hit was “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” in 1973 and they starred in a short-lived variety show the next year on CBS. Telma Hopkins would go on to a successful acting career on various shows including, of course, “Family Matters.” Photo: Joel Brodsky/Corbis.
A member of the African Choir, London Stereoscopic Company, 1891. From The Guardian: The African Choir were a group of young South African singers that toured Britain between 1891 and 1893. At some point during their stay, they had group and individual portraits made on plate-glass negatives. That long-lost series of photographs, unseen for 120 years, is the dramatic centrepiece of an illuminating new exhibition called Black Chronicles II. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Missy Elliott’s Super Bowl takeover reminded me of this: If she acts, this could be a great role for her. Gladys Bentley (1907-1960) She was a 16-year-old renegade when she arrived in Harlem in the 1920s and was an immediate success singing at rent parties and clubs. Unapologetically masculine onstage, she was known for her signature top hat and tails and her gleefully obscene set drew large crowds to her shows at The Clam House, the famous gay club, and other hot Harlem venues of the day.
"Vintage Black Glamour, a hefty, handsome new coffee-table book, is full of such stories, with photographs of those shunned by the spotlight, as well as idiosyncratic, unseen shots of those who weren’t. It begins with an 1891 picture of French horsewoman Selika Lazevski, and ends in 1981 with Sister Sledge." Very pleased with this Vintage Black Glamour feature in The Guardian's Observer Sunday magazine.