LSDivas PRESENTS TRACEY ‘AFRICA’ NORMAN FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

image

Long before Caitlyn Jenner shocked the world when she transitioned from male, Olympic superstar; and before Laverne Cox began giving groundbreaking performances on Orange Is The New Black, Tracey ‘Africa’ Norman was the first Transgender model to be featured in major magazines and score lucrative product endorsements.

In the 1970s, Newark, New Jersey native, Tracey Norman quietly began transitioning after high school. As part of her “training” on becoming more feminine, Norman would pose as a fashion student and sneak into modelling casting calls to watch black models walk and copy their mannerisms. One day, she followed a group of black models into a building in what turned out to be a casting call for Italian Vogue.

Photographer, Irving Penn was ecstatic that he had just discovered the next Beverly Johnson. Tracey ended up working in Italy and Europe for years and even scored major product endorsement deals with Clairol and Ultra Sheen makeup. It wasn’t until many years later that the industry ‘caught on’ and her modelling career abruptly ended. But still stunning in her 60s, Tracey Norman paved the way for Trans women working in film, television and fashion today… Even if they never knew it!

#TraceyAfricaNorman #BlackHistoryMonth

Advertisements

LSDivas PRESENTS ALTHEA GIBSON FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

image

Long before Venus and Serena Williams began dominating the world of women’s tennis, Althea Gibson became the first woman of color to win a Grand Slam Championship. The year was 1956 and Gibson not only won the French Open singles and doubles titles, but was a singles finalist at Wimbledon and won the doubles there as well.

It was through the support of her community and affluent and educated black men and women that served as mentors who helped Gibson achieve greatness in a sport that had been dominated by whites.

In 1957 Althea followed up her success with singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open. At the time she would become not only the first black champion in Wimbledon’s 80 year history, but the first ever to have the trophy presented by the Queen of England.

During her illustrious career, Althea Gibson won 5 Grand Slam singles titles, 5 Grand Slam doubles titles, 1 mixed Grand Slam title and an additional 45 National and International titles. She was and always will be tennis’ first black superstar!

#BlackHistoryMonth #AltheaGibson #LSDivas

LSDivas PRESENTS ERTHA KITT FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

image

LSDivas PRESENTS ERTHA KITT FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

Orson Welles once referred to her as the most exciting woman in the world. Ertha Kitt, singer,  actress, cabaret star and dancer is best known for her performance as Cat Woman in the 1960s television series, ‘Batman and Robin’.

Kitt had a promising and successful career but when invited to the White House by Lady Bird Johnson, Ertha was asked about the Vietnam War to which she replied, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.” After that, Kitt’s career faltered.

She eventually returned to stardom in the United States WITH Broadway roles and acting roles in major motion pictures. But she also be came an activist for causes supporting HIV/AIDS research.

Ertha  Kitt acted up until her death and is credited with opening doors for many of the black entertainers and actresses of our time. She will be remembered for her signature growl and singing style that separated from all other performers.

#ErthaKitt #BlackHistoryMonth

Published in: on February 7, 2016 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

LSDivas PRESENTS JOSEPHINE BAKER FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

Screenshot_2016-02-04-23-30-16-1
Josephine Baker, the famous cabaret dancer of the 1920s, should be remembered for more than just that scantily clad banana costume. She was, at one point, the highest paid vaudeville dancer on Broadway.

Baker’s career took off in America when she began performing in blackface. Though popular at the time, Josephine’s mother did not approve of her daughter’s performances. However, Josephine quickly landed an opportunity to tour the stages of Paris and Europe which is where she would become a star.

During her years in Paris, Baker became a muse to such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior, among others. In 1934 she became the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, ‘Zouzou’.

In 1937 Josephine Baker became a French Citizen and later joined the French resistance during World War II. Her assistance was such that after the War she was awarded the Croix de guerre and the Rosette de la Résistance. She was ultimately made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

#JosephineBaker #BlackHistoryMonth

 

David Jerod Tolbert

Published in: on February 5, 2016 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

LSDivas PRESENTS ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, HATTIE McDANIEL FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Screenshot_2016-02-04-02-10-41-1
Hattie McDaniel was the first black person to win an Oscar. Her portrayal of Mammy in the epic film, ‘Gone With The Wind’ saw her receive the Academy’s highest honor in a supporting actress role. But many don’t realize that McDaniel was also a professional singer and songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star.

In another first, Hattie was also the first black woman to sing on the radio in the United States. And she is one of the few to have more than one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for radio and another for film.

During her long career, McDaniel appeared in more than 300 films. But with success came criticism. Many in the black community chided her for not being more involved in the civil rights movement. But regardless of her political leanings, Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar win and recognition with her own postage stamp in 2006 is still worth celebrating, decades later.

#HattieMcDaniel #BlackHistoryMonth

LSDivas PRESENTS SYLVESTER: THE DISCO DIVA WHO MADE US ALL FEAL MIGHTY REAL!

Screenshot_2016-02-03-01-14-15-1.jpg
Black History Month is so much more than just the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Harriet Tubman. There are many black contemporaries who deserve recognition for paving the way for today’s group of black entertainers.

Sylvester, born Sylvester James, Jr. 6 September 1947, is best remembered for his 1970s Disco smash ‘You Make Me Feal (Mighty Real’). The song and it’s follow up from Sylvester’s second album were hugely successful stateside and in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Sylvester became so popular he was often referred to as the Queen of Disco. He was even given the key to the city of San Francisco. Openly gay throughout his career, Sylvester became a spokesperson for Gay rights and an AIDS activist. After succumbing to the disease in 1988, a will stipulated that all future royalties from his music be donated to HIV/AIDS charities.

Before there was RuPaul, Janet Mock or Laverne Cox, there was Sylvester. The Queen of Disco who made straights and gays alike revel in the idea of what it meant to feel Mighty Real!

#Sylvester #BlackHistoryMonth

LSDivas PRESENTS DONYALE LUNA! THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO APPEAR ON A VOGUE MAGAZINE COVER!

Screenshot_2016-02-02-13-45-50-1.jpg
Donyale Luna was an American model and actress born in Detroit Michigan in 1945. In 1966, Luna became the first black woman to cover any Vogue Magazine when she was featured on the March edition of British Vogue. But in 1965, a sketch of the 6’2″ beauty covered Harper’s Bazaar.

In April of 1966 Time Magazine ran a story on Donyale Luna, describing her as “a new heavenly body…” Luna continued with a very successful modeling career and went on to star in films by Andy Warhol and Federico Fellini.

Unfortunately, Luna’s career and life were cut short when she died of a heroine overdose in 1979. But she will live on in the many fashion editorials, covers and images that saw her as the first black woman to cover a major fashion magazine.

#LSDivas #BlackHistoryMonth

Published in: on February 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

THE DRAGGING OF STACEY DASH CONTINUES… COUSIN DAMON WEIGHS IN

Screenshot_2016-01-23-16-07-27-1.jpg
If there’s one person relieved at the comments Stacey Dash made on FOX News, it has to be Raven-Symoné. Raven must be thinking, “See, y’all… I aint that bad after all.” Dash’s comments about getting rid of BET, BET and NAACP Award shows and Black History Month has caused a backlash within the black community that hasn’t wavered in days.

Now, Stacey’s cousin, former business partner of Jay-Z, Damon Dash, says she’s just “coonin'” for FOX. Interestingly enough, Stacey claimed back in 2014 that her commentary on Fox had caused such a rift in her family that neither Damon nor her brother were speaking to her.

Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion. After all, she does live in the land of free speech. But it just seems hypocritical that Stacey had such harsh words to say about BET and NAACP. Especially, since she’s been a presenter at an NAACP Theater awards ceremony and was featured on BET’s ‘The Game’.

#Coon