by Toulouse Editorial Board
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Eight months after Josephine Baker entered the Pantheon, residents of Toulouse can discover the life, struggles, and legacy of the St. Louis, Missouri native in three parts.
“Josephine Baker, A Life of Obligations,” in the Administrative Museum of Resistance and Deportation, includes rare (photographs, stage dresses, wigs, uniforms, records, newspapers, etc.) and unpublished pieces from the museum’s prestigious collections. (Centre Pompidou, Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, Cinémathèque de Toulouse and others) and private.
“Princess Tam Tam” from the 1920s
Part One, “Josephine Baker, Freelance Artist” traces the success of the Parisian cabaret star, “Princess Tam Tam” of the 1920s and an icon of women’s liberation. “I was the wild idol that Paris needed. After four years of violence, I symbolized the rediscovery of freedom, the discovery of negro art, and jazz. I represented the freedom to cut my hair, walk around naked, (in Josephine Baker, Folio 2021),” she told Jack Bessis. And send all the shackles to Satan, including the corset.”
In the time of human zoos and the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris, where Kanak dancers were presented as “cannibal warriors,” Josephine was beloved and confined to stereotypes of the “black savage.”
Committed to General de Gaulle…
A free woman – married five times, does not hide her bisexuality – she fascinates and shocks. The second part, “Woman Fighter”, begins with the request for naturalization, in 1937, of Josephine, as a true patriot, who joined the front in 1939 and in the resistance of General de Gaulle.
…and Martin Luther King, Jr.
After the war, he tirelessly pursues the star His struggle for equality and peace among peoples, against anti-Semitism, and committed to civil rights in the United States. On August 28, 1963, dressed in French Air Force uniform, I stood alongside Martin Luther King as he delivered the famous “I Have a Dream” speech and was the only woman speaking that day.
France’s “eternal recognition”
Finally, “Josephine’s Legacy” invites us to question the contribution and legend of Josephine Baker, inspirational, activist, mixed-race, foreign figure and republican…April 12, 1975. “France made me what I am, for which I will always be grateful. France is kind,” she said. And it’s good to live there for those of us of color, because there are no racial prejudices there…”.
Let’s run to see and review this show and live up to Josephine’s love.
52, Demoiselles Alley.
Information and reservations: 05 34 33 17 40. Entry is free.
More information on the museum’s website.
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