Stuff for Next Week (Josephine Baker, James Baldwin)


We’re going to talk a little more about Langston Hughes on Tuesday, April 19, but I would like to contrast his work with the work of another major figure of the Harlem Renaissance — Josephine Baker. It’d be great if you could watch a few of her videos. There are a lot of things available on Youtube, with a number of them collected into this Youtube mix.

One video you should make sure to watch is her “infamous Banana Dance” video:

There is also a documentary about Baker online, titled “Josephine Baker: The First Black Superstar,” starting with this video. (The rest of the videos in the series are linked in the sidebar on Youtube.) I haven’t seen it yet, but I bet it has lots of interesting stuff. I’ll try get to it before our discussion on Tuesday, and I hope you can too.

I also said I would post James Baldwin’s essay Stranger in the Village, which discussed the differences in experiences of racism (or of attitudes towards his race) that Baldwin had as an African-American in Switzerland, and in America. You can read the essay here, and it’s well worth your time.

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