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Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success takes Josephine to Paris where her semi-nude dancing causes an international sensation. Through her marriages to an Italian pseudo-count and orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a roller coaster ride of love and rejection from both her lovers and her country. But semi-nude, or head-to-toes in sequins; in battle fatigues or rags - her beauty and ambition ensured that Josephine Baker will always be remembered as the first, and possibly most loved, truly international star. Written by
HBO Home Video
Stop that man! You stop! You called me a nigger! You said you didn't want to sit alongside a nigger! Well, I don't know if you know it, but there are laws against that! Call the police and tell them I am making a citizen's arrest now!
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Josephine Baker (Lynn Whitfield) grew up in poverty and, at a very young age, displayed her talents on Vaudeville. Unhappy with the treatment of African Americans in the 1920's in her homeland, she travels to France and makes it big as an exotic dancer and singer. Loved by the Europeans, Josephine's manager/boyfriend (Rubin Blades) decides to have her return to Broadway. She fails miserably. Yet, Josephine remains a strong, outspoken person who soon takes her show on the road and turns heads. She also finds time to try to elevate the treatment of African Americans and to do acts of charitable worth. But, will Josephine ever be truly happy?
This is a brief look at a complex woman. Her indomitable spirit is brought to life in Whitfield's strong performance. Josephine is remembered for her scandalous costumes and risque dancing yet, as this movie proves, she had much more to contribute to humanity. The performance by Blades is also top-notch. As for the costumes, they are revealing yet always stunning. In summary, this movie deserves an audience and one wider than the African-American community. On the next trip to the video store or library, give it a try. Viewers will be entertained as well as enlightened by Baker's admirable life story.
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