I can't afford a fancy-smancy Legends Ball like Oprah, but in honor of Black History Month, I'd like to give a shout out to one of my favorite living legends, Ms. Lena Horne.

As the first African-American woman to secure a long-term contract with a major studio (MGM), she broke ground in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, the south still was not ready to see an actress play anything more than a maid. Many of Lena's film roles were cut, left on the editing floor to please audiences below the Mason Dixie Line.

Nevertheless, she had film success in the all black musicals, CABIN IN THE SKY and STORMY WEATHER, in which she sang the title song.

Her career started at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem when she was 16. Over the years she has recorded over 25 albums. Her sultry jazz vocals and acting skills earned her 4 Grammy Awards, an Emmy, a Tony, and numerous other awards. As an activist, Lena made noteworthy contributions to the Civil Rights movement.

Born in 1917 (you do the math), Lena is still kicking it with her family and close friends. She no longer makes public appearances, but I have a hunch she's one good-looking senior citizen. Indeed, this classy sister from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn was one of the first to change Hollywood into Hollyhood. All hail to the queen.

Avon Books will publish my first novel, HOLLYHOOD in ’09.

Valerie Joyner


Blogger Michelle said:

I love Lena. Thanks for giving her a nod for BHM. Congrats on your book. I cannot wait to get my SIGNED copy.

9:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So cool. Cannot wait to read HOLLYHOOD. Already on my must read list for 2009.

12:14 AM  

Anonymous Alison said:

I like Lena too, her voice is gorgeous.

7:08 AM  

Blogger Mary B. said:

Cabin in the Sky is a great movie. Good job Val!

10:12 PM  

Anonymous raymondm said:

SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL. (caps intended)
And she carried herself in a dignified manner. I wish that pride in self carried to "some" of our women today.

3:14 PM  

Anonymous Dutch!! said:

Im on the waiting list for HOLLYHOOD!

8:24 PM  

Anonymous Dionne said:

Ms. Horne, a class act in deed, poise and grace. Hollywood will never be the same. I simply cannot wait to read your book. Congratulations my friend!!

9:29 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Val,
Great shout out for Lena! Congratualations again on your book contract. Can't wait to attend our first reading and get my copy signed by the author.

10:35 AM  

Blogger LaShaunda said:

Lena is a beautiful woman and a great actress. She opened doors for many.

Congrats on your new book. Let me know what month it comes out and I'll help promote on SORMAG.

11:29 AM  

Anonymous Monica said:

Lena certainly opened the door for other aspiring and talented black women, and I imagine that your contribution to the arts, Hollyhood, will do the same for up and coming young and not so young women. Congratulations.

1:39 PM  

Blogger Urban Reviews said:

Hello Valerie.

We have the galley to Hollyhood and plan to review your book for May 2009. We will be in touch with your publicist Christine in April to set up an online Q&A and any additional promotional opportunities. We will also add the Amazon link to our sister site www.BlackBookReleases.com this weekend so people can start pre-ordering your title. Please let me know when the bookcover image is available so that we can update the releases page accordingly.

Radiah of Urban-Reviews.com

2:21 AM  

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