The legendary singer and actress Lena Horne died Sunday at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The 92 year-old entertainer started her six-decade career as a chorus girl at Harlem’s Cotton Club during the depression in 1933 and later went on to star in Hollywood musicals including “Stormy Weather,” in which she sang the signature song and became most known for.

She became the first black person to appear on the cover of a movie magazine, Motion Picture, as her appearance was deemed “safe” and “acceptable” by white Hollywood. “I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” Horne once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

Born in Brooklyn to a upward middle-class family, her grandmother, a prominent member of the Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, enrolled her in the NAACP at the young age of 2. But Horne did not play an active role in race relations until 1945 when she turned her back on POW German soldiers to sing to Black American soldiers who were seated in back of them.

In the early ’60s, Horne became more active in the civil-rights movement, participating in a meeting with prominent blacks in 1963 with then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the wake of violence in Birmingham, Ala., and singing at civil rights rallies.

Horne was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 1984, and received a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1998.

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Michael Jackson FuneralAfter passing away more than two months ago, Michael Jackson finally reached his fnal resting place on Thursday, at a private mausoleum at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Close friends of Jackson who didn’t attend the public memorial service on July 7 were in attendance invitation-only funeral service including Elizabeth Taylor, Lisa Marie Presley, and Macaulay Culkin.

The Jackson family paid $150 thousand dollars in advance to the Glendale police department to provide security and released the following statement after the 90-minute service: “Michael Jackson reached his final resting place tonight at 9:43 pm PST…At the beginning of the ceremony, Michael’s children placed a crown on their father’s coffin to signify the final resting place of the King of Pop.”

Michael Jackson Funeral
One of the funeral programs contained personal messages from Michael’s brother Jermaine and sister La Toya:

“Michael, I always think about the time when you and I were in our bedroom in Indiana and it was snowing outside, we had our faces pressed against the window singing x-mas songs. It was the innocence and joy that made us sing as the snow was falling,” Jermaine writes.

“Your dreams were so incredible that it made the world a much happier place to live, and the world wouldn’t let you rest because they demanded your dreams to transport them to another place. You’ve done your work here Michael, you’ve entertained us for decades and there’s nothing else that you can prove or accomplish here on earth. You taught us how to laugh, how to love, and how to believe,” La Toya writes.

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Naomi Sims, one of the first black supermodels of the 1960s and 70s, died this weekend from cancer at the age of 61.

Born in Mississippi and raised in Pittsburgh, Sims began modeling in her teens and was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Ladies Home Journal in 1968. She was a representation of the “black is beautiful” movement during the late sixties and would say “it’s ‘in’ to use me.” Sims also appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1969.

“Naomi was the first,” the designer Halston told The New York Times in 1974. “She was the great ambassador for all black people. She broke down all the social barriers.”

Sims’ 1967 Times fashion supplement photo was featured in the Spring 2009 exhibit at the Metrolitan Museum of Art called “The Model as Muse.”

As well as achieving international success as a model, Sims studied at New York’s Fashion Institute and New York University and later launched a line of skin products and wigs for African American women.

She also penned several books including “All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman,” “How to Be a Top Model” and “All About Success for the Black Woman, and wrote an advice column for Right On! magazine.

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Best-selling author E. Lynn Harris has died at the age of 54 during a West Coast book tour.

Harris, an openly gay writer, self-published his first novel “Invisible Life” in 1991, selling copies from the trunk of his car. He became known for his novels about young, urban professionals and the portrayal of black men living as closeted gay men or on the “down low”.

A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Harris was the school’s first black male cheerleader and the first black yearbook editor.

The Doubleday writer was promoting his eleventh novel, “Basketball Jones,” a story about a gay love affair with an NBA player. All of Harris’ previous novels including “Just As I Am” (1995), “And This Too Shall Pass” (1996), and “I Say a Little Prayer” (2006) have made it onto the New York Times bestseller list

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Although Janet Jackson was supposed to close the memorial service with parting words for the family, it was Michael’s 11-year-old daughter Paris Katherine who brought the world to tears.

“I just want to say ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” she said, as her relatives surrounded her. “And I just wanted to say I love him so much.”

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OK! magazine made a tacky decision to use one of the last images of Michael Jackson as he lay dying as the cover for their tribute issue, sparking outrage among fans and musicians (like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jay-Z), who have launched a petition to stop the publication of further copies.

The petition argues that the tabloid has violated Jackson’s right to privacy, while OK!‘s editorial director Sarah Ivens adamantly defends her cover:

“It’s a photo that captures the surprise and the upset and the moment of this breaking news story . . . I hope the cover will provoke readers. It celebrated the man, but it also does expose that he was an eccentric character who lived a very controversial life.”

Blindie finds the tabloid’s cover to be sensational, a ploy to sell covers rather than a celebration of the Jackson’s musical legacy.

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