Talented, beautiful, entertaining and inspiring. Those are just a few words used to describe all around entertainer Josephine Baker. But did you know the NAACP named May 20th after the performer? Josephine Baker worked with Dr. Martin Luther King to improve race relations by participating in demonstrations and by boycotting segregated clubs & venues. Her efforts during the civil rights era proved to be an invaluable asset in aiding the advancement of African Americans.
"When New York's popular Stork Club refused her service, she engaged a head-on media battle with pro-segregation columnist Walter Winchell. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named May 20 Josephine Baker Day in honor of her efforts."
While delving more into Josephine's history I discovered patterns of greatness that without a doubt led her to massive success. In honor of Josephine Baker Day I share with you: Success Strategies of Josephine Baker.
1. She Trusted Her Intuition - Josephine Baker honed her craft by dancing in clubs and in street performances. When she peaked in the US Josephine took a leap of faith, and embarked on a new venture which landed her in Europe where she became an overnight sensation after her dazzling performance of 'Danse Sauvage' (Wild Dance). After the successful performance of ‘La Folie du Jour’ - where the infamous "banana skirt" emerged, Josephine expanded her artistry by trying her hand at singing professionally. This bold move would later land her two film roles.
2. She Used Her Celebrity for Good - Its been said that during the 1920's - Josephine Baker was one of the most photographed women in the world. In fact many African Americans refer to Josephine as the 1st Black Female Celebrity. As she was the 1st black woman to star in a major motion picture! She used her celebrity to bring civil rights awareness to the spotlight, even using her children as a teaching lesson of sorts. Josephine adopted children from all around the world and dubbed her kids the ‘Experiment in Brotherhood’, also known as her ‘Rainbow Tribe’. Not only that but she tended to invite people to her home to see her children hoping that guests would take away that it was possible to live, love and thrive with people of other races and nationalities.
3. Bravery Trumped It All - Maya Angelou once said that courage was the most important virtue, because without courage you cannot practice any other virtue. I like to think that Josephine Baker thought similarly. Seeing as she was a pioneer as far as black female celebrities are concerned. Watching her take one leap after another, satisfying her dreams of stardom and luxury.