Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

(1906-1975) Nowadays it is rather normal for celebrities to be socially and politically active, but it was Josephine Baker who was one of the very first to use her popularity to address issues she didn’t agree with. A strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, she refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States, and instead focussed on her career in Europe, primarily France. Also in her adoptive country she fought against what she thought was wrong, for instance by helping the resistance during World War II. Baker adopted eleven children, calling her family The Rainbow Tribe. Her aim was to prove that "children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers." Due to her lifelong activism, people tend to forget her artistic influence. Shirley Bassey claimed: “I swear in all my life I have never seen, and probably never shall see again, such a spectacular singer and performer.”