Today’s Dope Queen is singer and actress Dorothy Dandridge! She was the first African American Woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Dandridge was born Nov 9th 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio.As a young child Dandridge and her sister Vivian performed thoughout the south in a song and dance team billed as “The Wonder Children”. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1930, and found success as a musical trio called “The Dandridge Sisters”.
The trio consisted of Dorothy, Vivian and Etta Jones. They toured with big band such as Cab Calloway and performed at pretigous venues The Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre. Dandridge began taking roles in films, she appeared in “A Night at the Races, and tapped danced with the Nicholas Brothers in “Sun Valley Serenade”. She married Harold Nicholas, and retired for 10 years to be wife. After divorcing Nicholas in 1951, Dandridge started performing again. She became an international star on as a solo singer and won her first leading role in 1953’s Bright Road.
In 1954 Dandridge was cast in Carmen Jones which catapulted her into stardom. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first African American woman to receive the honor. Despite all these accolades, Dandridge’s career stalled. The only roles she was being offered were stereotypes and limited. She engaged in tumultuous relationships with director Otto Preminger and Jack Denison, who she married. The relationship with Denison ended in divorce and bankruptcy. Dandridge descended into drug and alcohol abuse.
On September 8th 1965 Dandridge died of a drug overdose at the age of 42. She was a talent who was before her time. In 1999 Halle Berry played Dandridge in the HBO film “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” to much acclaim. Berry later became the first Black women to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Dandridge’s legacy lives on. #blackhistorymonth #blackexcellence #blackgirlsrock #28daysofblackcosplay