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Josephine Baker

Naughty Innovators| Naughty Guide

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker was one of the 20th century's most interesting and famous women.

She was an American who became a French citizen, a spy for the Allies during WWII, a civil rights activist and perhaps the most well-known African American erotic dancer in the world.

Her famous striptease in a banana peel costume helped coin the term "Art Deco." She appeared practically nude in her stage performances in the 1920's.

Also a singer and actress, Baker appeared in three films and was the highest paid American working in France.

Baker was famous for her dresses that were very revealing, her provocative style of dance and the exoticness of her beauty.

She was nicknamed the "Black Pearl," the "Black Venus," and the "Creole Goddess."

Naughty Innovators| Naughty Guide

Baker identified as bisexual. She married 4 men and had relationships with several women over the course of her life including the famous writer Colette.

She had lesbian relationships with women while she was single and married.

But her sexual orientation is not what made Josephine Baker a great sexual thinker.

Rather it was her ability to live life on her own terms. She was an independent woman and although married four times and divorced three, she never relied on a man for financial support.

This allowed her the freedom to leave a relationship when it soured, unlike so many women who were forced to stay out of financial dependence.

Baker also learned the lesson that sex sells early in life and was able to transform her natural beauty and sensuality into her erotic dancing, captivating audiences and selling out venues. Baker did more than shake her money maker; she took the audience on a sensual journey.

Baker also had the financial freedom to stick to her guns.

She refused to play segregated venues in Las Vegas and walked out of the Stork Club after shoddy treatment based on her race.

Baker's confidence in herself as a woman of color, a performer, and as a sexual person makes her one of the original naughty girls and a great sexual thinker.

Learn more about Josephine Baker with these books:

• Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart

• Josephine

• Josephine Baker Story

• Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and The Image

• Jazz Cleopatra: Josephine Baker in Her Time

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