Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A TRUE FASHION ICON: Happy Birthday Ms. Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born November 9, 1922 at Cleveland's City Hospital.
Carmen Jones (1954) was her breakthrough role (and one of my favorite movies).

She became the first black woman to appear on the cover of Life magazine (November 1954) and Ebony magazine called her ''Hollywood's New Glamour Queen.”  Her success began to break typecasts that relegated black actresses to subservient roles (1,2).

The movie earned her an Oscar nomination. She was the first black performer to receive a nomination in the category of best actor or actress (2,3).

Unfortunately, Dandridge’s career declined quickly and drastically after experiencing a short and intense time in the limelight.  Apparently, Hollywood was not ready to accommodate an African American leading lady.  Of this revelation Dandridge said, “If I were white, I could capture the world” ( She died tragically on September 8, 1965 (2,3).

Halle Berry, the first African American woman to receive an Oscar, dedicates her win to several African American actresses and among them is Dorothy Dandridge.

Dandridge is the contemporary of Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Liz Taylor – three cult fashion icons. However, today I pay homage to Dorothy Jean Dandridge, a true style icon, who maintained beauty, style, and grace despite racial indignities.
CREDITS: (1) Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography, By Donald Bogle, Amistad.
(2) “Crashing the Gates: The tragic life of Dorothy Dandridge, Hollywood's first black female star,” (New York Times Book Review),
,by MEL WATKINS. (3) (4) Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS,


  1. I have always admired Dorothy Dandridge every since I was a little girl. I am working on a collection inspired by her. This is a lovely post. Come by my blog sometime, I hope you get inspired.

  2. Thank you so much! I really enjoyed your blog. You are beautiful and incredibly talented. Keep me updated on the collection.


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