Miss Petaluma On…R.I.P Lena Horne

The black jazz singers and Hollywood stars of old will always receive much reverence from me.  There’s something to be said when you compare one to a contempoirary entertainer…let’s say Kelly Rowland and Halle Berry.   The difference?  Their history.  It’s the poinance of suceeding against the odds of institutionalised racism, sexism and poverty.  They shattered concrete ceilings with dignity and grace.

So, I really was quite sad to hear about Lena Horne’s death last night in New York.  She was always one of my favourites.  Partly because of her breath taking beauty but mainly because of her obvious zest for life, that beaming smile-laugh, those sparkly eyes that lasted right up through to her winter years.

Born in 1917 , she lived to a grand age of 92.  A pioneer in many ways, the legendary jazz singer and actress was one of the first black singers to sing with a major band and sign a Hollywood contract.  She was also one of the forerunners in the Civil Rights movement.  She once said,

“I was unique in that I was a kind of Black that white people could accept.  I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

Lena, we have so much to thank you for.  Here she is singing the song that soared her to the top, ‘Stormy Weather’  1943.


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