Monday, March 12, 2007
Is Angelina Jolie Channeling Josephine Baker?
I know I’ve spent a lot of Meltingpot space talking about Angelina Jolie but I can’t help it. Whatever your opinion on her politics, sexuality, acting abilities or mothering habits, the truth is she brings attention to the needy wherever she goes.
She recently bought a home in New Orleans, toured refugee camps in Chad and reportedly is about to adopt another child for her United Nations family, this one from Vietnam. Even while I secretly worry about her children missing their frenetically paced mother, I applaud her efforts to try to the save the world by using her famous face (and that of her Sexiest Man Alive partner to boot!). And that’s when I realized she reminded me of another hero of mine, Josephine Baker.
After fleeing the virulent racism of the United States for France around 1925, La Baker fought back the best way she knew how by achieving great success on the stages of Europe and then by doing things like only performing to integrated audiences, adopting the original Rainbow Coalition (she dubbed them the Rainbow Tribe) of children, raising all 12 of them in a castle and in her spare time working for the French Résistance during WW II. The sad thing is, Josephine was so determined to rid the world of those nasty –isms (racism, fascism, etc) that it consumed her (the –isms did too) she wore herself and those who loved her out. Although her career had just begun to rebound in 1975 when she died, she was mostly broke and broken at age 68.
I hope Angelina continues her fight to heal the world of pain and suffering but I also hopes she remembers to take care of herself and her own along the way.
Vive La Baker!