Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Inimitable Miss Horne

Lena Horne was one of the greatest Hollywood entertainers ever. A fabulous, gorgeous, smoldering, funny, earthy, talented woman; and in her heyday especially, dragged down by idiotic racists.

Miss Horne, I'm glad you were out there, brilliant, funny, and wonderful. Thank you for illuminating our lives and showing us just how incredible you could be. (And what you could inspire...you even inspired fictional characters. I remember a genie in a sci-fi story who venerated you above anything he could have invented!!).

To your family I send my deepest sympathies; I'm sorry you lost her on Mother's Day. Thanks for sharing her with the rest of us.

1 comment:

CLARISSA SMITH said...

At the age of about 25, I tried to have Lena as my idol #1 as a singer myself. But I couldn't find CDs of her - I just had seen her on TV several times. She impressed me deeply, as still today, although my 'home' mostly has been the repertoire of white showgirls in the years 1933-37.

The „brown sugar“ item is a bit problematic. But we can't reject great talents, because of misbehaving white consumers. Same goes for Louis Armstrong, who is still accused of having adjusted to the white audience (if you hear his irony in the 30s, you know he hasn't!). Another fascinating woman, but most tragic case, is Valaida Snow, an African-American singer and trumpeter.

Sometimes I wonder, why Ella Fitzgerald had much more success than Lena Horne. Maybe it was Lena's great beautiful face, as her rather sweet voice too (in a way female beauty is discriminated too). This made her interesting for commercial projects and many jazz-fans don't forgive that. But in my opinion nothing is duller and flater than plain jazz (when they improvise 50 choruses over the same tune). The most genius jazz-productions are somewhere between jazz and commercial music. Therefore I like Lena. She was never flat. She was just brilliant.