Friday, May 14, 2010
My Weekend Crush
In Hollywood , beauty has a way of making everything better. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it’s a universal truth as matter of fact as gravity. So what one does with that beauty, that instead becomes the measure of a person. For a person like Lena Horne, her beauty was a tool – a way in and a way up. A way to open that door so countless others behind her could walk through behind her. As the first black star to be signed to a long-term contract with a major motion picture studio, Lena led the way. Her beauty made her acceptable to white audiences at a time when African Americans were not seen in mainstream entertainment, let alone allowed to sit at the same table. Still in the South the studios snipped her scenes from films. Yet there was just something about Lena – gorgeous, talented, undeniable. As she rose to fame in the 1940s she received that most insidious of compliments, that she was “a credit to her race.” That ugly qualifier, that sickly racism, that unbelievable burden that she endured took its toll. She famously called herself “a butterfly pinned to a pillar.” But she handled all of it through her six-decade career with uncommon grace and unimaginable strength. And for that reason, she will always be a thing of beauty to behold. May she rest in peace, eternally a credit to humanity. Happy weekend, all.