Starry night

Starry night

These black women put the world to its knees.


“” continues to acquaint readers with famous women of the past century, opinion leaders and style icons. One of them — Aretha Franklin “the greatest singer in history” according to Rolling Stone magazine, died recently. “” recalls Aretha and, with it, the other prominent black women of the twentieth century.

Josephine Baker

Black dancer Josephine Baker are familiar even to those who are never interested in the history of American and Parisian music halls. The name she had pictures of her prohibitively extravagant costumes: in one photo she poses wearing only pearl beads, patch wings of feather and marabou high heels, a personal friend of her nakedness covers only an improvised skirt made of bananas. Equally unusual was the origin of Josephine: mother she was an African-American father (he was a drummer in a jazz band) — Jewish.

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It is believed that Josephine was introduced to Paris’s popular in America salon dance the Charleston, which was a kind of personification of the spirit of the roaring 1920’s. Starting in Paris with the show La Revue Nègre, who played on tour throughout Europe (in Berlin, impressed by the naked Breasts of a dancer and her banana skirt nudists asked her to come into their company, but Josephine refused), 1926-1927 Baker rose to the music HOLLEN of Olympus — the Folies Bergere. However, the extravagant half-naked dancer is not accepted everywhere — moralists in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Munich, had considered her persona non grata.

Baker is considered one of the muses of the architect Le Corbusier, whom she met during a sea cruise. He painted a naked African-American woman, and then, according to him, the memories of Josephine inspired architect on the design of the famous Villa Savoye in Poissy, the masterpiece of constructivism.

Baker loved to dress up in feathers — so, in the late 1950s, she performed on the stage of the Olympia theatre in a headdress, decorated with four thousands of feathers and cost a Grand for those times the sum — £ 600.

However, the stage and this week the dancer was not enough: she was a personality scale. During the Second world war, she spoke to French troops, and the information collected informed the Resistance movement. She got a pilot license, Lieutenant shoulder straps, medal of the Resistance (with socket) and Release, sign of the Military cross and the Legion of honor. After the war, she fought for equality for blacks. Died Baker, as befits a star of her magnitude — she noted the 50th anniversary of his artistic career with a premiere show of Joséphine and shortly after died from a stroke.

Angela Davis

American activist and a human rights activist Angela Davis is known, perhaps, to any ex-Soviet person — she was the Lenin prize “For strengthening peace among peoples” and a unique haircut — a spherical lush hair, which tried to imitate all curly and seeking to pass the original Soviet-minded students.

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This hairstyle made her a kind of underground icon could forget, what was the name of the last Secretary General of the GDR (by the way, Davis was awards and the socialist countries), and how many stars the Hero was Brezhnev, but looks like Angela Davis — remember all who have seen her on TV in 1970-1980-ies, even if the TV they watched, sitting on the pot.

Did Davis image-makers, is not known, but her hair (its monumentality is not inferior to what now bears on his head the Deputy of the Russian Parliament Valentina Petrenko) imidzhmeykera worthy of the highest awards. It was, as it is called, is a meme in the flesh. But the one hairstyle for the formation of your image of the activist was not the limit of it is very bad for the oppressed freedom fighter dressed and picked up jewelry.

So, in the early seventies, Angela appeared in the chronicle newspaper with the leader of the struggle for Indian rights, leader of the people of Onondaga and Iroquois Confederacy Oren Lyons — it was a Cape-Cape, inspired by traditional Indian quilts that native Americans wore as outerwear.

On the neck of the activist reporters regularly noticed jewelry with meaning — a Golden pendant with the hammer and sickle, signifying her affiliation with the Communist party, and pendant of ivory with a dragon — this fantastic character Davies interpreted as the embodiment of strength and a precursor of the revolution. Pictures of American life Soviet citizens were shown infrequently, but Communist Angela, oppressed capitalist regime, did not descend from TV screens and pages of color magazines, Willy-nilly, instilling Soviet women a taste for jackets with wide lapels and large buttons, bright sweaters-“jumpers” with a mini-skirt and tights in the same tone (a terrible shortage!), already mentioned the capes and bell-bottom trousers with arrows.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Elizabeth — the so-called future famous pop singer at birth, her parents — not the poor-poor, but with hard black girl, pierced their way to the stage and to fame unknown from the bottom. Quite the contrary — Whitney luck with a musical career from birth. Her mother Cissy and aunt Dionne Warwick was a singer — singing rhythm-and-Blues, soul and gospel.

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The mother brought the daughter up on stage — gave in in the Junior gospel choir Baptist Church New Hope in Newark — when Whitney was only eleven, and at twenty she is offered a contract with Arista Records and was invited to the popular TV show Merv Griffin. It was a success — and only the beginning of success.

During his career, Houston has collected so many awards that it was enough for an entry in the Guinness book of records: six Grammy awards, two Emmy, 15 Billboard Music Awards, 21 American Music Awards, BET Awards and a lot of statues of smaller rank. But much more than all these awards, Whitney praised the film, 1992’s “the Bodyguard,” in which the actress, who was under thirty, played a major role.

The strongest voice of Houston with a wide range and velvet voice, her beautiful figure in garish costumes (like a shiny dress-“chain mail”, “space” helmet and a glittering headdress in Egyptian style) and an interesting face with regular features along with understated masculinity of her on-screen partner Kevin costner made the film terribly popular.

Even in Russia, it saw half of the country: someone in cinemas, someone in eclipsing pirated videotapes. Later, Whitney starred in several films, but they were far from a resounding success “Bodyguard”.

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Unfortunately, personal life, black star was not as successful as her pop career. Her only marriage to musician R&B group New Edition, Bobby brown ended in a scandalous divorce, which was preceded by numerous problems brown with the law — he drank, brawled (rumored to beat his wife), was accused of sexual harassment (before his marriage to Whitney he already had three children from different women) and, most regrettably, he used banned substances and engaged in this nefarious business spouse. Marriage problems, scandals, trials and addiction have led to the premature death of Whitney — she died in 2012, before reaching his fiftieth birthday. The only daughter of singer and brown tragically died three years later, was injured during a fight with her boyfriend.

How fashionable and stylish was slim and beautiful Whitney became clear to everyone after the auction of her costumes.

At a posthumous auction put bustier from Mark Bauer, in which she received one of his Grammy (by the way, the same designer for more than twenty years of their collaboration made the singer dress for wedding with brown and hundreds of things), grey velvet dress the other party and Grammy jewelry — pearl earrings and white satin vest from “the Bodyguard” and other things. Almost all items went for 10-20 thousand dollars to grateful fans and collectors of things of celebrities.

Aretha Franklin

Who recently left his old fans of soul singer Aretha Franklin started her career, as well as later started her Whitney Houston — with the Church choir. After a brief period of relative obscurity in cooperation with Columbia Records Aretha was in a tenacious and skillful hands of producer Jerry Wexler (he is credited with the title of inventor of the term “rhythm and Blues” and called the “father of soul music”). Wexler made the singer a star.

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The photos of the young Aretha is possible to trace the evolution of fashion in 1960s-1970s, adjusted for features of African American appearance. She wore curls and Babette, rack with laconically on the cheeks and loose black hair. With age it plump and changed dresses in the waist more merciful to the shortcomings of your figure satin and velvet “boxes” of bright colors with patterns, feathers, embroidery, faux pearls and appliqués. Despite all the indignant cries of the “green” she loved and always wore natural fur jackets, capes, Boas. Left them on the stage proudly as the Royal robe worthy of her title “Queen of soul”. Had the right: in 1987, Franklin became the first woman whose name was written in the Hall of fame rock-n-roll.

And no wonder — Aretha was a decent rock-and-roll fame not only for his acting skills, but also the ability to change the image. So, speaking with George Michael, she cut her hair short, dyed her hair red and wearing a leather jacket with studs, something reminiscent of biker jackets. Did she look under a formal occasion — so she sang at Obama’s inauguration in a simple grey coat, gloves and hat to match with a bow, similar to a traditional headwear of African women.

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The relationship with his race, she did not deny and did not try to hide: even Martin Luther king awarded her as “the soul of black America,” award for young leaders of African American civil rights movement, and in 1968, her portrait was printed on the cover of Time.

To what extent, if valid so voluntary parallel with Aretha “Queen of soul”, her style and stage manner had a career major Soviet pop “Queen”, all-Soviet superstar Alla Pugacheva.

Her flowing silk in the 1970’s, mini dresses in the 1980s, and tight outfits in the 1990s is very similar to the costumes of Aretha, what, exactly, unites with the now deceased Franklin even those Russian retro music lovers who are not too fond of her work.

Michelle Obama

Michelle, the wife of the first black President of the United States Barack Obama, is known not only for its superb education and a legal career, but also great taste in clothing.

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His triumphant exit Michelle made after the first election of President husband in a dress from the us (this is the tradition in presidential inaugurations) fashion designer Jason Wu. It was layered chiffon dress with one shoulder embroidered with beads and somewhat reminiscent of cake — but in America love it and are first prom night. Outfit eventually ended up in the Museum collection of the Smithsonian institution, like many other dresses the first lady. For the second inauguration, she again picked an outfit from Woo, and again off-the-shoulder — this time bright red.

In the usual life, Michelle is quite a touching way he changed the style of the first high school student (all those dresses in the box and clothes that resembles mass-market) with busily-sexy costumes prosperous advokatessy. The first option was used for informal “outputs” and informal TV, the other for diplomatic events and gala dinners.