May 9, 2013

The Influencer: Dorothy Dandridge

     Dorothy Jean Dandridge is often described as “our Marilyn Monroe.” I’ve never agreed with that statement. Dorothy Dandridge was our Dorothy Dandridge. Simple as that.

 I remember watching Carmen Jones when I was younger and always thought who is this radiant women. My great grandparents told me about this gorgeous beauty all the time.  If anyone is unsure as to why we should pay homage to the screen legend, here are a few reasons why : Dandridge was the first Black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones in 1954. She was also the first Black woman to grace the cover of Life Magazine. By breaking these barriers, she helped to pave the way for all Black actresses today in Hollywood. . There was always a certain innocence and vulnerability about her that made her authentic.  Without Dandridge, there wouldn’t be a Halle Berry. Period. Dandridge was Hollywood’s first Black female movie star and sex symbol.  Many of us have even forgotten Halle's major star turn in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, an early career production by none other than the ever-powerful Shonda Rhimes. As Dandridge once said, “If I were White, I could capture the world” and frankly, she was right. The world wasn’t ready for all that she had to offer; she was the right woman at the wrong time. I truly am influenced Dorothy and I thank her for breaking those barriers.

Discover Island in the Sun, Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess and Tamango. Check out historian Donald Bogle's definitive Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography. We must as a generation not forget about her and let our future generations know who this woman is!


  1. Thank you so much for addressing the "Marilyn Monroe" comparisons. She was an amazing woman, hard-working, dedicated...and lovely!

    Krystal K.
    The Feisty House


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