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Josephine Baker La Review Negre

Theater des Champs-Eleysees, Paris
Fall 1925 JB2510

   Nude with pink flamingo feather.


   New Yorker reviewer Janet Flanner describes Josephine Baker's opening night in Paris (1), "She made her entry entirely nude except for a pink flamingo feather between her limbs; she was being carried upside down and doing the splits on the shoulders of a black giant [Joe Alex]. Mid-stage he paused, and with his long fingers holding her basket-wise around her waist, swung her in a slow cartwheel to the stage floor, where she stood.... She was an unforgettable female ebony statue. A scream of salutation spread through the theater. Whatever happened next was unimportant. The two specific elements had been established and were unforgettable--her magnificent dark body, a new model that to the French proved for the first time that black was beautiful, and the acute response of the white masculine public in the capital of hedonism of all Europe--Paris."

   The tradition of nudity and toplessness in the Parisian musical theater follows a tradition begun with the anatomie vivante and continuing with the introduction of toplessness in the 1910s.

   Description from essays.cc. 1 picture.