‘Lovecraft Country’: The True Story of Josephine Baker

“Lovecraft Country” Episode 7 saw Hippolyta blasted through time and space, including a passage that saw her dancing with the real-life icon Josephine Baker.

Lovecraft Country Episode 7 was the trippiest episode yet of the HBO show, with Hippolyta Freeman (played by Aunjanue Ellis) heading through a crack in time and space and into what seemed to be a very Afrofuturist future. Just as she got used to this strange new future, however, she found herself on stage with none other than Josephine Baker (Carra Paterson), the 1920s screen icon.

In the latest episode of Lovecraft Country, we see Baker on stage in a nightclub in Paris, but dancing was just one of the many things the Missouri-born woman did in her 68 years on this earth. She was also the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture, a medal-winning French Resistance agent and a civil rights activist.

The most enduring image of Josephine Baker in the popular culture is the costume she used to wear while dancing in Paris’ Folies Bergère in 1927 (the same year she made her movie debut): a skirt of artificial bananas and a beaded brasserie. This outfit caused a sensation in Paris, where she had moved in 1925 after a successful career in the U.S.

In America, she was named, “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville” for her act, which saw her pretending to mess up the routine throughout the night before perfecting a more complex version of the dance at the encore. Continue reading “‘Lovecraft Country’: The True Story of Josephine Baker”