"Civilization has done its work Josephine is from now on assimilated by the western world"



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“The Ebon Venus – the banana dancer – let us gaze at this extraordinary example of rhythmic life - is it a youth? is it a girl? – She is swept by perpetual shakes – Her limbs have retained those thin, disproportionate lengths which ensure her the indispensable aspect of the monkey – Her voice on the radio is as dreamy as silken scarves that evoke not so much dancers as skies unknown – Her nostalgic melodies call up those distant landscapes where the menfolk eat bananas and the women wear them –

“But she has worked hard to please us – this cannibal beauty with her fetish face – She is anyway too exquisite for a Negress – she seems to whiten as we gaze at her – By far the best possible example of the perfecting of the black race by its intellectual contact with European civilization […]

“And what an exquisite way of prostrating herself at the white man’s feet – For she has remained as timid as a girl of last century –

“Civilization has done its work – Josephine is from now on assimilated by the western world”.



[…] These savage desopilations, etc., referred to, and so thoroughly misunderstood by this dreary gang of French critics were really the magnificent tornado, the wild-fire syncopation of Josephine Baker’s beautiful brown electric body when she first appeared in paris in 1925. […] That was before the days of the super-imposed Gaby Deslys plumes and diamond paraphernalia; the dancing could be compared to the purest of African plastic in motion – it was free, perfect and exact, it centred admirably in the spare gold bananas fronds round the dynamic hips.

[…] Josephine Baker is now playing at the Casino de Paris. The latest sketch is called “Josephine est blanche….” (Josephine is white)!


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