Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Josephine Baker: The Original Bubbly Girl

I wanted to take a minute to ponder the amazing life of Josephine Baker. She would have turned 100 last month and I've decided she was definitely one of the original Bubbly Girls.

At a time when racism was rampant in the US, she cast off her poor childhood in St. Louis, Missouri and escaped to France. There, she reinvented herself as this sexy-comical character, eventually going on to become the first Black international superstar.

Besides just enthralling France and the rest of the world, she was daring too: she became a lieutenant in the French resistance by smuggling secret messages in her sheet music. She also helped the families of several Jewish musicians escape the Nazis. And later in life she adopted many orphaned children.

But the thing I love the most is the way she wasn't afraid to be herself -- no matter what others thought. She ran around Paris with a pet leopard, and she wasn't afraid to dance around in a skirt made of nothing but bananas. I'm sure she didn't sit around worrying whether her cellulite was showing. And of course, she drank lots of champagne --supposedly her favorite brand was Montaudon, a family-owned brand that's still available today in Europe.

The next time I drink a glass, I'll be thinking: Vive La Josephine!