Joséphine Baker: The 1st Black Superstar

© Forget About It Film & TV, for BBC Wales. 2006. Narrated by Josette Simon. Directed by Suzanne Phillips.

**I encourage everyone to watch this interview with Julie Menin where Jean-Claude Baker discusses Joséphine’s children (part 1) –…

**This documentary features a few over-eager commentators with hyperbole that knows no bounds. The opening comments verge on the ridiculous, like “Her body was democracy’s body…”

**Dixon-Gottshild’s analysis of La Baker’s “Banana dance” @ 16:42 is typical of most modern-day historians who feel they must read deeper meaning into the whole thing. To suggest that Baker was “making fun” of a stereotype, or that the fact that Baker left the stage quickly after her performance was a testament to some “attitude” is really not at all the case. La Baker was a young, beautiful girl who just enjoyed showing off. That’s really it.

**I have always found it unfortunate that the issues of race, “rainbow children” & banana girdles always cloud the magnificent artist that Baker became in her later years. I personally prefer the 1986 documentary “Chasing a Rainbow” far better than this, but both taken together offer a better glimpse of the real Joséphine. Still, a complete look at the real Joséphine – the good the bad & the ugly – has never been achieved except by Jean-Claude Baker in his book “The Hungry Heart”.


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