Josephine’s Story

image credits: mental floss, you plus me equals, bowery boys history

 

Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw”.

Time Magazine called her a “Negro wench”.

Most people just call her Josephine Baker.

After leaving the US at 19, she rose to fame in the City of Lights, eventually becoming the most famous American entertainers in Europe. While she was at the right place at the right time, Art Deco influences and interest in non-European art, Josephine’s willingness to take risks, to step out before conditions were perfect, was what allowed her to free herself from the painful experiences she had back home.

The Ziegfeld Follies came calling in 1936, and Josephine returned to the US, only to encounter virulent racism, as expressed in the quote above. What else could she do but return to France?

She fought for her country of adoption, working as a spy for the Free French during WWII. Her efforts gained her one of France’s highest honors, the Legion of Honor. But her allegiance to the difficulties faced by American blacks remained. She supported the Civil Rights Movement, even speaking beside Martin Luther King, Jr. Though France remained her home until her passing.

Josephine is an inspiration as an artist, an expat, a philanthropist and a mother.

If you should find yourself in Paris, don’t forget to stop by Josephine Baker Square in the 14th arrondissement, or go for a swim in her piscine in the 13th.

Learn a little more about her here.

Here.

And here.

 

Bad Words

If you spend a little time on my site, or getting to know me, you’ll discover something.

I kind of have a potty mouth.

Well, that’s what some might think, but I don’t.

In my opinion, there are only two “bad words” in the English language:

Should and Have to.

Words only have the meaning we collectively give them. So on the face of it, there isn’t anything wrong about ‘should’ or ‘have to’.

However, these two seem to be directed at us from our earliest age. And more often than not, the direction is not coming from within.

When we do only what we should or what we have to, instead of what we want or need to do, we may believe that we are being honorable or doing what’s right.

But in reality, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment. And creating amazing opportunities for pain and frustration.

It’s taken me years to shake off the shoulds and the have tos that have been holding me back. And they still catch up with me a lot. Fortunately, I’ve learned to use other “bad” words to tell them where they can go.