My family never told me that I was ugly. So, I never thought that being Black meant something ugly. I still don’t think being Black is something ugly. When I go interested in writing and wanting to make movies, I met Dorothy Jean Dandridge.
I saw her during a late night movie session on AMC, and wanted to know everything about her. And I mean, everything! She was tall, gorgeous and completely talented. In watching Carmen Jones, I saw a blend of Eartha Kitt and Josephine Baker. She was–she was everything to me as a young 20ish-year-old Black woman.
Dorothy was confident. Dorothy was pretty. Dorothy was talented.
It was through the lens of her life that reminded me that I could do anything! I mean, I have BabyBoomers as parents, aunts and uncles! I know who Fredi Washington, Steppin Fetchit, Amos & Andy, Ethel Water and Lena Horne are! I had to! But Dorothy was different. I saw myself in her.
I saw myself in her.
In seeing myself, all Black and all woman, gave me a confidence to keep going. In seeing her, it gave me–she gave me the freedom to strive, to survive and even dream a little harder.
Thank you, Dorothy. Thank you.