Monday, May 10, 2010

De Musica Ligera: Rest in peace, Lena

Before we move on to our litany of posts today (with apologies for publishing them so late in the day) we would be remiss if we were to skip over the death of Lena Horne.

What does the late civil rights activist and singer have to do with Latin America and Latinos in the U.S.? Very little apart from a very interesting anecdote over her refusal to be typecast:
She was often told she could increase her stage and touring paychecks by "passing" as white or Hispanic, something she never did, and when she came to Hollywood she insisted she would never play a maid. As a result, most of her movie roles were limited to a few minutes of on-screen singing, with the explicit understanding that her performance would be snipped out for theaters in the American South.
She is best known for her rendition of "Stormy Weather", though it's very difficult to top her ethereal version of the classic "Moon River":

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