Classic Ladies of Color

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Actress Waheeda Rehman in Solva Saal (1958). 

Actress Waheeda Rehman in Solva Saal (1958). 

(Source: mrandmrs55.com)

Publicity photos of singer/actress Ida James taken in 1945.

(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

Actress and dancer Nancy Kwan

Actress and dancer Nancy Kwan

(Source: morainestudents.com)

Just recently, maybe in the last four or five years I began listening again to the music I recorded back then and have a much finer appreciation for the results. All three of the albums I’ve mentioned are now favorites. I listen now and think, ‘Toni, you really sounded good.’ I love it. Now, of course, I wish I had recorded more.

"Which probably makes you wonder why I quit the music business at age 29. From age 4 to 29, I constantly was told where to be and what to do. When I turned 29, I thought, ‘I don’t have to do what anybody says anymore. I am tired of traveling the world alone. No one helps me, and they take all of the money. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ So I stopped.

"When I made my decision, everyone flipped—my agent, manager, parents and friends. But it was just too bad. I had made my decision and, as life unfolded going forward, my decision was a great one.

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Toni Harper on why she retired from the entertainment industry at age 29 (as told to Marc Myers for his blog, Jazz Wax,in 2011) 

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Toni Harper is a former child singer who recorded three albums and performed on radio, the stage, and in film. 

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Ella.

allthroughthenightb:

Ella.

Philippa Schuyler’s parents, journalist George S. Schuyler, and Josephine Cogdell, a Texas heiress and beauty queen, believed mixed-race children inherited the “strengths” of their parents’ races and grew up to be extraordinary people with the power to ease racial tension. They raised their daughter to be a genius—or a prodigy, rather—by educating her at an early age and feeding her only raw food (her mother believed that cooking food—including meat—destroyed its vitamin content). By the time she was two years old, Philippa was able to read and write, and by the time she was four, she was a skilled pianist who even composed her own music.
Throughout her childhood, Philippa performed all over the country for radio and on the stage. Her parents shielded her from the media coverage she’d received to keep her from being self-conscious. As Philippa got older, she became disillusioned with the American entertainment industry. After much shielding by her parents, she was now old enough to understand and recognize racial prejudice in America and had been rejected by America’s classical music elite because of her race and her gender, as well.
Also, Philippa had finally gone through scrapbooks that her parents kept to document her career. When she read her parents’ quotes about their beliefs and her upbringing, she’d come to an unfortunate realization that her conception, her talent, and her success were all results of a “genetic and behavioral experiment”. Throughout the rest of her life, Philippa would struggle with her identity. 
Read more on Wikipedia, On An Overgrown Path (Blogspot), the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale), and in Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler (Biography)

Philippa Schuyler’s parents, journalist George S. Schuyler, and Josephine Cogdell, a Texas heiress and beauty queen, believed mixed-race children inherited the “strengths” of their parents’ races and grew up to be extraordinary people with the power to ease racial tension. They raised their daughter to be a genius—or a prodigy, rather—by educating her at an early age and feeding her only raw food (her mother believed that cooking food—including meat—destroyed its vitamin content). By the time she was two years old, Philippa was able to read and write, and by the time she was four, she was a skilled pianist who even composed her own music.

Throughout her childhood, Philippa performed all over the country for radio and on the stage. Her parents shielded her from the media coverage she’d received to keep her from being self-conscious. As Philippa got older, she became disillusioned with the American entertainment industry. After much shielding by her parents, she was now old enough to understand and recognize racial prejudice in America and had been rejected by America’s classical music elite because of her race and her gender, as well.

Also, Philippa had finally gone through scrapbooks that her parents kept to document her career. When she read her parents’ quotes about their beliefs and her upbringing, she’d come to an unfortunate realization that her conception, her talent, and her success were all results of a “genetic and behavioral experiment”. Throughout the rest of her life, Philippa would struggle with her identity. 

Read more on Wikipedia, On An Overgrown Path (Blogspot), the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale), and in Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler (Biography)

Moms Mabley and Pearl Bailey performing on The Pearl Bailey Show in 1971.

Moms Mabley and Pearl Bailey performing on The Pearl Bailey Show in 1971.

(Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

Autographed photo of Jackée Harry available on Ebay.

Autographed photo of Jackée Harry available on Ebay.

Dancer and actress Roshan Kumari as she appeared in The Music Room (1958).

Dancer and actress Roshan Kumari as she appeared in The Music Room (1958).

(Source: apotpourriofvestiges.com)

A close-up photo of Lena Horne at the March on Washington (1963).

A close-up photo of Lena Horne at the March on Washington (1963).