Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Classic BG: Dorothy Dandridge

I’ve always been fascinated by old Hollywood glamour. However, when I was younger I only knew about white actresses from that period. That was until I was in 8th grade and had to watch the groundbreaking opera, Porgy & Bess for a class assignment and saw Dorothy Dandridge.

Prior to viewing this pioneering film, I never saw African-Americans in roles from the 1940s and 1950s that weren’t mammies or minstrels.

So after that assignment I wanted to know more about the film’s leading lady. After seeing old photographs of Dorothy in magazines I immediately admired her style! To me, Dorothy exuded class and sophistication. Her fashion sense was impeccably chic.

Even decades after her death, she’s still a fashion icon to many. So, for those young BGs who only know about Carmen Jones from seeing Beyonce’s portrayal from MTV’s hip-hopera a few years ago, it was Dorothy who first brought the feisty character to life!

5 Facts About Dorothy Dandridge:

1. She was born in Cleveland, OH in 1922

2. First African-American actress to be Oscar-nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role."

3. She loved soul food. Her favorite was chitterlings and greens, which she ate only once a week.

4. First black woman to grace the cover of Life Magazine.

5. She was first choice for the role of Cleopatra but ultimately the role went to Elizabeth Taylor.


K-Bear said...

BGG, I agree with you. Dorothy was certainly to be admired. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for BGs back then and yet Dorothy managed to rise straight to the top. If I'm not mistaken, Halle portrayed Dorothy in the movie/biography. She did a great job and looked a lot like her. Dorothy had some issues but was a true natural beauty!

Nemesis said...

Janet looks so much like her in this pic..she was a beautiful woman...

Anonymous said...

I ♥ your blog!

MeMe said...

Like you, I have much respect and appreciation for BG Dorothy Dandridge. She did indeed help change the image of African American women in American society and in film. Because of her and many other BGs like her, the world now can recognize and appreciate the many faces of African American women. Since so many BGs who came before us have sacrificed so much so that we can get the respect we deserve, I think BGs today have a responsibility to make sure we keep what so many of our foremothers worked hard for us to have. In other words, BGs of the world must unite and work to preserve/return to the image of dignity, grace, respect, and beauty that Dandridge would want us to have.

bam said...

Ms. Dandridge had a undeniable beauty and talent that is inspirational for young bgs aspiring to be actresses today.

KreativeMix said...


BellaGirl said...

I love Dorothy Dandridge and thought Halle Berry did an awesome job portraying her! I nominate Billie Holiday as a future "Classic BG". Also, I just realized we share the same blogging initials :) Love your site and appreciate your comments. Keep up the great work!

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