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3 items from 2010


Lena Horne obituary

10 May 2010 10:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Velvet-voiced singer, actor and activist who broke new ground for black performers

A handful of decades ago the roles for black performers in Hollywood movies were deliberately kept peripheral to the plots, so that their appearances could easily be edited out for screenings in the American south. Black singers and musicians were barred from taking rooms in the same hotels in which they were performing. Partners in an interracial marriage might decide to leave the Us and move to more hospitable locations, such as Paris, to avoid hate mail and threats. All this and more happened to the singer and actor Lena Horne, who has died aged 92.

Horne not only rose above it all, but also significantly contributed to changing the situation. The velvet-voiced, multi-talented Horne first negotiated, and then resisted, the worst that a racist entertainment industry could throw at her. She rose to its summit as an original »

- John Fordham

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Lena Horne obituary

10 May 2010 10:19 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Velvet-voiced singer, actor and activist who broke new ground for black performers

A handful of decades ago the roles for black performers in Hollywood movies were deliberately kept peripheral to the plots, so that their appearances could easily be edited out for screenings in the American south. Black singers and musicians were barred from taking rooms in the same hotels in which they were performing. Partners in an interracial marriage might decide to leave the Us and move to more hospitable locations, such as Paris, to avoid hate mail and threats. All this and more happened to the singer and actor Lena Horne, who has died aged 92.

Horne not only rose above it all, but also significantly contributed to changing the situation. The velvet-voiced, multi-talented Horne first negotiated, and then resisted, the worst that a racist entertainment industry could throw at her. She rose to its summit as an original »

- John Fordham

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Lena Horne - a lady not for turning

10 May 2010 7:50 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Throughout a career that brought international acclaim, the showbiz legend never softened her firm stance against racism

If she could have swallowed her pride, Lena Horne could have had an easy life. Born into a middle-class African-American family in New York in 1917, she was beautiful, talented and ambitious. At the age of 16, much to her family's disapproval, she auditioned as a chorus dancer at the famous Cotton Club, and got the job. She followed this up by taking voice lessons, sang with the black "society" band of Noble Sissle and appeared on Broadway in Blackbirds of 1939 and 1940.

The first jolt in her hitherto smooth showbiz career occured when she became the singer with the top-flight white band of Charlie Barnet and suffered the indignity of having to use the tradesmen's entrance and goods elevator when working at smart hotels. She left Barnet to concentrate on cabaret work and found herself »

- Dave Gelly

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3 items from 2010


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