BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Lena Horne: Your memories

08:29 UK time, Monday, 10 May 2010

US singer and actress Lena Horne has died at the age of 92. Send us your memories.

With a singing career spanning 60 years, she became the first black sex symbol in the 1930s.

In 1943, she played Selina Rogers in the all-black musical film Stormy Weather. The title song from the film became a major hit and also her signature tune.

When actress Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Oscar in 2002, she cited Lena Horne as one of the pioneering entertainers who had paved the way for her breakthrough.

What are your memories of Lena Horne? Did you meet her? What is her legacy? How will she be remembered?

This debate is now closed. Thankyou for your comments.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Lena Horne was beautiful.
    I remember once seeing a wonderful war time documentary of a young Lena singing on stage with a 'white' orchestra, in front of an audience of WW2 fighting troops.
    I retrospectively shudder to think that in those days, Lena was not even allowed to book into the same hotel as the individual members of her orchestra. Thankfully, that world of bigotry has largely gone. It was the lifetime committment of wonderful people such as Lena Horne, who, by fighting against racial predjudice, all but elimenated the scourge.

  • Comment number 2.

    Never heard of her, however a death in someone's family is always sad.

  • Comment number 3.

    What an incredible lady, an extraordinary vocalist who brought pleasure to so many lovers of jazz and big band music. It is so sad that each year we are losing those entertainers who did not have the benefit of modern technology to advance their talents.

  • Comment number 4.

    She had a beautiful voice, of a quality rarely seen these days, when aesthetices rule over substance in popular music.

    Its very difficult for us in the UK to understand the barriers she had to overcome, America has a very different social history to the UK, its difficult for us to grasp just how oppressive the US segregation laws were, or the extent of the institutional & legally enforced racism which was the norm in the US in the early part of the 20th century.

    A remarkable lady.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Good voice!

  • Comment number 7.

    Came over to Britain in 1961 on the the Liberte. Lena Horne was on it too, and she was treated like royalty.
    Didn't get to hear her sing live, as I was in the bowels of the ship with all the other students!
    But have always loved her singing......she had a most wonderful voice.
    And to all those here who never heard of her, go listen. We need to know our history in every way, not just
    more words about politics.

  • Comment number 8.

    #5 - bit arrogant to assume very few have heard of her, just because you haven't. Not many under 50 I'll grant you, but I would bet that quite a high proportion over that have (and yes, we do know how to use this new-fangled interweb thingy thankyou).

    She was VERY famous in her heyday, and for more than being a singer as well, as I'm sure you will have gathered from reading the story (did you read it ?)

  • Comment number 9.

    >> 5. At 10:06am on 10 May 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:

    "I find it really odd that the BBC is actually devoting time to this, though. Old lady who very few listeners have heard of dies."


    Very many people are familiar with Lena Horne. She was a tremendous talent; working with the very best among her peers.
    True, she didn't achieve fame on 'The X Factor'.

  • Comment number 10.

    Do check out her film legacy, which goes back to the 1930's in black cast films like "The Duke Is Tops". She always did radiate something unique and special.

  • Comment number 11.

    Apple-Eater and Graham Harris Graham, you astonish me with your ignorance!
    Lena Horne, a fantastic voice - one of the greatest of the 20th century; real talent; and a career which spanned decades.
    Also stunningly beautiful - try to catch her in the film Death of a Gunfighter, with Richard Widmark, which is still shown occasionally on afternoon TV!
    1950s - persecuted during McCarthy witchhunts for her political views.
    1960s- one of the most visible celebrities in the civil rights movement, joined 250,000 others in the 1963 March on Washington (when Martin Luther King gave his I Have a Dream speech).

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    A great singer but your assertion she went to Hollywood at the arrival of sound is rubbish. The talkies arrived in 1927 when Lena was ten! She made her name a decade later.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well I am under 50 and I certainly know who she was. I grew up listening to her voice, along with many others of her genre because my parents were big fans of hers. She had one of those once heard never forgotten voices and a style that was unique in every way. To see her singing live on TV was a masterclass in communication. You can see where singers like Shirley Bassey got their inspiration from. A huge star in her heyday and a pioneer in so many other ways. As someone said in a previous post she didn't acheive fame via some sort of 'X Factor' process. Perhaps this, coupled with the fact that she had talent oozing from every pore, explains why her career lasted over 50 years. God Bless and keep you Lena x

  • Comment number 15.

    To see and hear Ms Horne in her prime, check out her films, many of which are on youtube as well as on video:

    The Duke Is Tops (1938)
    Panama Hattie (1942)
    Cabin In the Sky (1943)
    Stormy Weather (1943)
    Thousands Cheer (1943)
    I Dood It (1943)
    Swing Fever (1943)
    Boogie Woogie Dream (1944)
    Broadway Rhythm (1944)
    Two Girls and A Sailor (1944)
    Studio Visit (1946)
    Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)
    Ziegfield Follies (1946)
    Words And Music (1948)
    Some Of the Best (1949)
    Duchess Of Idaho (1950)
    Meet Me In Las Vegas (1956)
    The Heart Of Show Business (1957)
    Now (1965)
    Death Of A Gunfighter (1969)
    The Wiz (1978)
    That's Entertainment III (1994)


    Enjoy watching these films and researching her life. She will never be forgotten. She fought hard for the acceptance that she did get in film in the 40's, and is almost a civil rights icon.

  • Comment number 16.

    I was in my early teens when i listened to this wonderful voice singing a new fangled tango, i was converted for life, she was gorgeous, had a unique and super voice with a hint of devilment in it. Thanks for the wonderful talent and entertainment Lena RIP, sympathy to her family.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.


    Some people's ignorance really ticks me off. I'm 45 and I've heard of Lena Horne. I grow up listening to music my parent's played at home, as will anyone who grow up in the 60's or 70's. Is it because the great lady herself wasn't famous for being on X-factor! She was way too classy for that. Start educating yourselves, there is really no excuse for ignorance!

  • Comment number 19.

    I suspect that no 5, who made the comment that 'very few' have ever heard of Lena Horne,, has not even heard of the Beatles. As for the German elections, most of us are literally sick of elections and the devious scheming lying politicians who are normally only out to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers.. The expressed thoughts of people that mourn the passing of this fine old lady and wonderful singer Lena Horne, is far more important to most people.

  • Comment number 20.

    Lena Horne very much of her time.She lead the way for female black entertainers. It's sad to hear of her death, and perhaps sadder still that some people wrote in to HYS just to say they hadn't heard of her. If it's any consolation to them she probably hadn't heard of them either.

  • Comment number 21.

    My late mother liked her very much. Meant nothing to my generation though

  • Comment number 22.

    “Old lady who very few listeners have heard of dies.” #5

    And one day someone will type that same comment about, say, Shirley Bassey, Julie Andrews or Eartha Kitt; or of some of today’s young, famous singers such as Alicia Keys or Beyonce.

    Your lack of a musical education is your loss; but please don’t assume it applies to everyone else.

    Below is Lena Horne singing Stormy Weather.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCG3kJtQBKo

  • Comment number 23.

    I am 40 and have not only heard of Lena Horne but loved her voice all my life. Yes this is perhaps because she was my Mum's favourite singer. I lost my beloved mother a year ago..... so Lena now you can entertain one of your biggest fans. RIP

  • Comment number 24.

    #2, #5 (and,no doubt, many more to come) "Never heard of her"

    Until today, neither had I. But rather than display my ignorance by making an inane and utterly pointless comment, I used this wonderful thing called the internet to find out who she was and what she did. And I'm very glad that I did.

  • Comment number 25.

    ABC announced that Janet Jackson would star as Horne in a television biopic. In 2004 came Jackson's "wardrobe malfunctioned".
    Lena Horne demanded Jackson be dropped. ABC executives resisted, but ultimately, Jackson left willingly after Horne and her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, asked Jackson personally that she not take part.
    Horne wanted to be considered for the role of Julie LaVerne in Show Boat but lost the role to Ava Gardner. Why?
    The Production Code banned on interracial relationships in films. In the documentary That's Entertainment! Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using Horne's recordings. Talk about insensitive!
    Lena Horne broke racial barriers and saw huge success in her professional life. She paved the way for persons such as Hale Berry.
    In 1947, she married white conductor and bandleader Lennie Hayton. Why?
    Because, she said, "he could get me into places no black manager could".
    During her long life, Lena Horne came through “Stormy Weather” to finally arrive at her place in the sun.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    #2, #5 (and,no doubt, many more to come) "Never heard of her" and especially that spiteful individual #26 you are a disgraceful and your parents must be embarrassed! these are comments from people who live in their own myopic little world. What the BBC put out a article on someone i never heard of how ghastly!! Not willing to learn, not willing to even consider, the ultimate little englander mentality. no doubt they sit at their computers all day looking for things to complain about.

  • Comment number 28.

    I never met Lena Horne but in 1970 I was the Entertainment manager at Batley Variety Club in Yorkshire and Leslie Grade rang me to say he had booked Lena Horne into The Talk of the Town in London and would I be interested booking her for a week or two at Batley. I replied that I didn't think she would be right for Yorkshire even though I acknowledged she was a famous international star.
    Sometime later when Johnny Mathis was appearing for me - I mentioned that I had turned down Lena Horne. He was devastated. " Derek - you turned DOWN Lena Horne - how could you - she is the mother of us all!!!!"
    I saw her later in Las Vegas with Rich Little. I think I made the right decision. She was an aquired taste - a bit like Eartha Kitt.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    "The New Fangled Tango" etc. I still have one of her LPs.

  • Comment number 31.

    Lena Horne was my Dad's favourite singer. He met her once in the early 50s (I think) when she sang at the Palace in Manchester. He and a group of others were waiting at the stage door for her autograph and she invited them into her dressing room. He thought she was a lovely lady. Strangely my Dad died on May 1st and we've arranged to play Lena singing "Every time we say goodbye" at his funeral on Wednesday. RIP Lena and RIP Dad.

  • Comment number 32.

    5. At 10:06am on 10 May 2010, Apple-Eater wrote:

    "I find it really odd that the BBC is actually devoting time to this, though. Old lady who very few listeners have heard of dies."

    *********************************************

    What a cold and uncalled for comment.

    I suppose, when most younger people listen to is c**p music, they wouldn't know "class" would they?

    She was a brilliant performer, and beautiful to boot. And.....she stood up politically when things were really tough, not the fluffy PC stuff of today's 'idols' - she didn't go off and adopt babies to make herself look good! She indeed had some "stormy weather" in her life.
    I'm sure now that she has had a safe journey with smooth sailing!



  • Comment number 33.

    Dear Lena Horne.A total legend. We have just lost one of the last truely great jazz singers from the era when tj msuic was created. Lena was so much more than 'Stormy Weather' and as she and her voice grew in maturity, even in recent times, she produced some truely wonderful music. My favourite is Sondheims 'Old Friends' which was released on what I believe was her very last release. Gone but never forgotten by me. If the first you heard of Lena Horne was that she died, well maybe she did, but her music lives on. Go and discover her for yourself. She would be delighted to count you as a 'new friend' I'm sure.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's inevitable that someone should not know who she was. In every generational group, there are people who don't know of anything that happened before their time, which occured outside of their cultural familiarity or outside of their pop-cultural influences. Being cultured is the antithesis of all that. I know of many young people who know a great deal about things before their time, including many of the stars of long ago.


    I'm glad and thankful to the BBC for helping us to beomce more informed about not just current events, but for commemorating the passing of a legendary performer like her. That is culture!

  • Comment number 37.

    I met Lena in Harlem in the winter of 1963. We were both appearing on the same bill - her at the top and me firmly at the bottom. She had heard that I was doing Stormy Weather as part of my act and cornered me in make up: 'lissen up wise ass, da weather is ma gig, ain't no white boy gonna steal my thunder!'
    A force of nature and she killed that night.
    What a lady what a night.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm too young to really understand the barriers and social pressures she faced but oh, that voice.

  • Comment number 39.

    She was a beautiful, talented and civic person. She used her fame to fight for an end of racial discrimination in the US. She is on the same platform as Harry Belafonte.

  • Comment number 40.

    As a young child, when I first saw Lena Horne on television, I thought she was white. My parents pointed out that she was black yet she was lighter skinned than I was despite my mixed white and black parentage. But she was so beautiful and seeing the likes of Dean Martin affectionately fawning over her in his 1960s TV show in the midst of the racial and civil rights issues that blighted the United States at the time, would have engendered a hope for common sense and rightly push boundaries in the same way that Petula Clarke did when she hugged Harry Belafonte on American TV, when Captain Kirk kissed Uhura in Star Trek and when Sydney Pottier met with Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn, his future in-laws in the film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Lena was, whether consciously or unconsciously, an African American who partly bucked the trend of the shackles of segregation. She was part of a group that included Sammy Davis Junior, Nat King Cole and Paul Robeson. Today’s generation may or may not fully understand the significance of people like Lena Horne in her hey-day but she was significant nonetheless. A beautiful and talented icon of the age to which she belonged.

  • Comment number 41.

    I had the privilege of meeting Lena Horne in 1980 in the Fairmont Hotel in Denver, Co. She was performing in the show room.I was the piano player in the lounge. When I told her how much I admired her talent, she was extremely
    humble. When she took the stage she OWNED the audience.Not only could she sing and SWING,she was an elegant Lady! Those who have never heard of her, owe it to themselves to find film or TV performances by this princess of jazz.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lena Horne: Your memories - None whatsoever. I guess that makes a racist.

  • Comment number 43.

    Apple-Eater wrote: Never heard of her, but she had a good, long life, so good for her.

    I find it really odd that the BBC is actually devoting time to this, though. Old lady who very few listeners have heard of dies.


    No, what is really odd is someone who has a compulsion to comment on something/someone they know nothing about.

  • Comment number 44.

    My parents were born in the 1930's and so I grew up hearing great music from the likes of Lena Horne. An artist never fully recognised for here great talents. It is a shame the rappers and so called musicians of today don't appreciate what she did for them and taint the music world with their crude lyrics. She represents a class act and generation.

  • Comment number 45.

    A Class Act from another time, the voice, the looks, the total package. She came of age at a time when America really was still unjust and she made the best of it.

  • Comment number 46.

    Pass!I haven't heard of her.

  • Comment number 47.

    46. At 6:03pm on 10 May 2010, ian cheese wrote:

    Pass!I haven't heard of her
    ********************************
    Well, you didn't pass did you, you posted something quite useless.

    ********************************
    42. At 5:24pm on 10 May 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lena Horne: Your memories - None whatsoever. I guess that makes a racist.

    ********************************

    No, what you said certainly does not make a/you a racist. But your last few words give me reason to doubt? You really didn't need to say that......

  • Comment number 48.

    "
    42. At 5:24pm on 10 May 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lena Horne: Your memories - None whatsoever. I guess that makes a racist.

    ********************************

    No, what you said certainly does not make a/you a racist. But your last few words give me reason to doubt? You really didn't need to say that......
    "

    Say what?

  • Comment number 49.

    At the age of 59 I am of an age when I can remember her as a child, as part of my musical diet. Oh what a voice- smooth rich syrupy.She , Louis Armstrong and others sadly missed. Where has music Gone?

  • Comment number 50.

    Dear leoRoverman,


    When you ask where the music has gone, I say that although tastes have changed, modern technology immortalises almost every style and era and makes it accessible in a way that wasn't possible before. People like her and the greats you have mentioned live on, on DVD, websites, downloads and youtube, making them more available than ever before. A younger generation can access these things for all time to come and become "fans"!

  • Comment number 51.

    #48 Toad

    I do apologise if I misunderstood your post, please forgive me.

    your post
    Lena Horne: Your memories - None whatsoever. I guess that makes a racist.

    I thought you were applying the statement to yourself and the last part meaning "does that make me a racist?"

    Again, I beg your pardon if I read too much into your post.




  • Comment number 52.

    The internet is a great thing but, alas, it also provides a platform for society's saddest, most ignorant, and most tedious people.

  • Comment number 53.

    So pleased she made it to 92. I saw her perform twice in the 1980's and she sang beautifully. I just wish I could have seen her in the 40's and 50's too. The angels just gained another voice.

  • Comment number 54.

    A nice youtube tribute that covers her career from the earliest days:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYE8fp8kHdw

  • Comment number 55.

    A voice that was completely satisfying to listen to. Lena's singing was sheer, pure joy, a sound like warm syrup flowing over pebbles.
    A huge loss to the world.

  • Comment number 56.

    Many from the current generation now don't remember her but what a rare talent and special gift she was. A bright star who shines much brighter in the heavens now.

  • Comment number 57.

    A great lady with a very distinctive voice, style and personality. I, amongst many others, will miss her but I am not without her recordings.
    Peter D South Carolina.

  • Comment number 58.

    What a tragedy when I read comments by so many who never had heard of her. When I grew up, I became familiar with all the great musicians in Jazz and also the great classical masters. It seems that today the young only know about those perpetrators of noise who have poor command of their instruments and can't sing. I would suggest they research the field and listen to some of the greats on YouTube and Napster.
    Peter D South Carolina

  • Comment number 59.

    58 messages in 24 hours, a lot of them saying 'never heard of her'
    I've never heard of her either.
    I guess the number of messages is a measure of how important she was and what her contribution was to music and anything else.

  • Comment number 60.

    To those who have never heard of Lena Horne have probably never heard of Sarah Vaughan either. Two great ladies of song. Listen to them now and try and find anyone today who can match them.

  • Comment number 61.

    59. At 06:55am on 11 May 2010, Mike from Brum wrote:
    58 messages in 24 hours, a lot of them saying 'never heard of her'
    I've never heard of her either.
    I guess the number of messages is a measure of how important she was and what her contribution was to music and anything else.

    ----

    There's an old but apposite saying.

    'those who ignore history are basically self absorbed idiots.'

  • Comment number 62.

    get a copy of Lena Horne singing "Stormy Weather" and hear a voice that had to fight racial discrimination just to be on the same stage as white people.

  • Comment number 63.

    "22. At 12:41pm on 10 May 2010, jayfurneaux wrote:
    “Old lady who very few listeners have heard of dies.” #5

    "And one day someone will type that same comment about, say, Shirley Bassey, Julie Andrews or Eartha Kitt; or of some of today’s young, famous singers such as Alicia Keys or Beyonce.

    Your lack of a musical education is your loss; but please don’t assume it applies to everyone else."

    Yeah, you tell him, the ignorant so-and-so. Although I would like to add that unfortunately Eartha Kitt has passed on; she died the Christmas before last.

  • Comment number 64.

    Yeah, I remember the name. What did she used to sing?

  • Comment number 65.

    My Father was part of Bomber Command during the War and he always argued that for him Lena Horne was his vocal sweetheart during the war, he loved her singing and taught me the love of jazz. What a great lady

  • Comment number 66.

    A very courageous lady and very great entertainer.

  • Comment number 67.

    Her memories, her songs, her style linger on, she hasn't gone away as long as her music is here to stay. People who have never heard of her shouldn't have commented, telling us that is simply narcissistic and totally out of tune.

  • Comment number 68.

    How sad....another great talent no longer with us.....
    My mother and I adored Lena Horne....she was such a beautiful and elegant lady....and what a wonderful songstress...91 amazing...

  • Comment number 69.

    Not sure if my first comment got 'lost'......
    Just wanted to say how sad mum and I both adored her....
    She was so beautiful and elegant....and what a vioce...such style....

  • Comment number 70.

    If anyone wants to know what a REAL singer sounds like listen to a Lena Horne recording---wonderful singer wonderful songs and what a beauty those cheekbones to die for we will miss you Lena for you were the best.

  • Comment number 71.

    My first exposure to her was in college, when I visited a theater in lower Manhattan that showed old films exclusively, the Bleeker St. Cinema at St. Mark's Square. (A favorite hangout for Woody allen)


    I was visting from a much smaller town, where you generally don't have revival movie theaters, and eagerly seized the opportunity. Every day at Bleeker St. they showed a different old movie double feature. I had no idea what was playing, but when I went there they happened to be showing a double feature of Lena Horne's two great classic films, Stormy Weather and Cabin In the Sky. I had never heard of her until then, but going there changed that for good!


    It was a wonderful experience, seeing these movies the way they were meant to be seen, on a large screen and with an audience. Watching classic films on video, or on your computer with a small screen, by yourself, at home, is no substitute for the theater experience!


    I take this opportunity to encourage all of you to watch classic films, and to patronise theaters and venues where they are being shown! The experience will enrich you for life.

  • Comment number 72.

    I can not believe the hypocracy from some of Brits who have posted on this topic. They act as if the UK has never had any kind of racial mis-conduct when in fact there is a long history of racisim in the UK. And, continues today.

    The UK had racial crap on TV until as recently as 1978:
    The "N*gger Minstrel" entertainment tradition.
    http://www.sterlingtimes.org/memorable_images29.htm


    Also, might I remind you that we did not bring slavery and racism to the New World. That was a European Tradition that came with the 1st settlers.
    America did not magically invent racism.

    We became a nation in 1776. That's when the clock started ticking for us officially as Americans. By 1865 - slavery was abolished here in the US.
    Thats only 89 years, as compared to Europe and the rest of the world having it for millenniums.

    Why do some (not all) Brits insist on villifying the US with out looking in the mirror?


  • Comment number 73.

    Lena was a beautiful singer on a level with Ella in her day she is a sad loss but time catches up with us all

  • Comment number 74.

    Osric wrote:

    "Its very difficult for us in the UK to understand the barriers she had to overcome, America has a very different social history to the UK, its difficult for us to grasp just how oppressive the US segregation laws were, or the extent of the institutional & legally enforced racism which was the norm in the US in the early part of the 20th century."

    I'm sure you have an even worse picture of how it really was considering the way your anti-American media rehashes the same subject over and over again, including the BBC. It's as if so many of you want to find faults with America so you can feel good about yourselves and your own country. Sad.

  • Comment number 75.

    The BBC and many here dishonor this fine performer by constantly highlighting the fact that she is black. It's almost like a friendly version of racism. It's disgusting and very typical of what the left constantly does in supposed honor and support of minorities.

    Then again the BBC has its anti-American agenda in covering such stories from America in the first place in the way that it does.

  • Comment number 76.

    I met Lena horne when she came to england she was A Kind and Beautiful Person
    who was devoted to her art . and her views on racism were a joy to hear She was a great singer and a great Human being.

  • Comment number 77.

    "When actress Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Oscar in 2002"

    Uh... who ever does your fact checking is sleeping on the job because the first black woman to receive an Oscar was:

    Hattie McDaniel in 1939 for her role as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind."
    Great movie by the way.

    As for Lena, what can I say... a beautiful voice and a beautiful lady.
    She will be missed.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well I grew up in the late fifties and sixties with my parents listening to the BBC Home channel on a massive Valve Radio, that used to light up. I can remember the name Lena Horne, however cannot remember her work. So I have You Tubed her. How sad that this ladies great Talent was presented to the world in the Days of Shellac 78s and Wire recorded music that didnt have the 20k to 20khz Dynamic range of todays digital media. Albeit old 20s,30s and early 50s recordings can be cleaned to take the pop crackle and squeak they still sound abnormal and without depth quality and timbre. I seem to recollect after my father passed away he had some early 33 rpm records recorded in the middle fifties, that sounded fabulous. Poor Lena. A great talent let down by the technology of the day.

  • Comment number 79.

    Well done #24. A pity more people don't follow your example, instead the 'never heard of her' brigade seem to revel in their ignorance.

  • Comment number 80.

    75. At 9:29pm on 11 May 2010, AllenT2 wrote:
    "The BBC and many here dishonor this fine performer by constantly highlighting the fact that she is black. It's almost like a friendly version of racism. It's disgusting and very typical of what the left constantly does in supposed honor and support of minorities. "

    It is not racist to acknowledge someones ethnicity and in this case, the fact that she was black made her achievements more remarkable. Remember during her day, there was still complete segregation between the races, she wasn't allowed to stay in the same hotel as her white band. People like her helped to break down societies prejudices and it is because of that, that there is far greater racial equality now than even a generation ago.

    I agree that dropping race into stories where it is irrelevant, is distasteful, but this is not one of those stories.

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.