I had thought to launch my new blog with a photo of the exciting art form I have recently undertaken, but that will have to wait. Lena Horne, a great vocal artist, passed away today and I must pay my respects.
Lena Horne is best known for her signature song, "Stormy Weather", which she performed on stage and screen, but also to the troops overseas during World War II. She was a talented black singer with a contract at MGM at a time when, as she said herself, "the studio didn't know what to do with me". She was a first rate performer, but could never have a starring role in a film because her performances had to be edited out of prints sent to states that didn't allow black performers on screen. The most notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky. Even then, one of her most charming performances, "Ain't It the Truth", was cut from the final film because censors thought it too risque to show a black girl in a bubble bath. She was a strong voice in the civil rights movement and refused to perform for segregated audiences.
Lena Horne will be sorely missed in the music world, but at least now her beautiful voice will be heard in a place where they don't care what color she is. God bless you, Ms. Horne.