#FBF: Celebrate Josephine Baker, Beyoncé of the Jazz Age
May 20, 2016

PEOPLE. We made it. It’s finally Friday. (More like Fri-YAY, amirite?) We have a special #FlashBackFriday for you today: The NAACP named today, May 20, Josephine Baker Day.

And before Bob Mackie’s costumes, there were Jojo’s outfits. Photo courtesy of Dance Magazine archives.

Before Marilyn, before Madonna, before Beyoncé, there was Josephine Baker, the international It Girl of the Jazz Age. The girl had major moves (and quads):

Josephine Baker, high kick queen.

Famous for her beauty, risqué performances (and costumes!)—not to mention her pet leopard—Baker became a Parisian star. Today, we credit her with challenging the social perceptions of black women and paving the way for modern-day black female superstars.

If you think that’s a bit of stretch, then you haven’t seen Beyoncé’s performance at Fashion Rocks in 2006, where she decked herself out in a banana skirt as an homage to Baker.

Now watch a vintage video of Baker performing at the Folies Bergère for comparison (she enters on the giant tree branch):

So if you plan on doing any kind of dancing tonight—at the studio, out with friends or in the privacy of your own home—channel Josephine!

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