It is April 9, 1975. We forget that she is 69 years old when Joséphine Baker languidly descends the grand staircase of Bobino’s music hall, perched on stiletto heels, in a large slit dress with sequins that emphasizes her tapered dancer body.

Under her hat adorned with huge white feathers, Josephine Baker bestows a seductive gaze on the dancers who follow her before letting go of their hand to grab that of their neighbor. She is beautiful, she is feline, she is charismatic. It is obvious: the one we nickname “The Black Pearl” is indeed the queen in this colorful magazine which tells the story of her life and celebrates her 50 years of career, directed by André Levasseur. Josephine Baker hadn’t been on stage since 1959.

In his box, a telegram from President Valéry Giscard’Estaing expressing “the gratitude of France, whose heart has beaten so often with yours”. At the premiere, we noted the presence of Prince Rainier III and his wife Grace Kelly, Charles de Gaulle, and designer Pierre Balmain… This evening is his 14th performance.

What everyone ignores at this point is that the star will collapse overnight, having a stroke that will plunge her into a deep coma from which she will never wake up. Josephine Baker will bow out at dawn on April 12 at 5 a.m. Her grandiose funeral, which will take place 3 days later in the Madeleine Church in Paris, will testify to France’s gratitude to her who has done so much for her adopted country.

Because, if the feline Joséphine has conducted unforgettable reviews, she has also and above all conducted fights. For children, against racism, for women. Joséphine Baker, it’s a harsh life of courage and indocility, from misery in New York to fortune in Paris, a belt of bananas that she will wear without naivety at her beginnings in the Revue Nègre and hanging medals to his chest which will testify to his commitment during the war.

As she enters the Pantheon tomorrow, November 30, 2021, back tonight in D-Day on the life and story of the world’s first black star. Our guest will be Virginie Girod, Doctor of History, specialist in women and sexuality, author of the ambitious women – 40 women who have marked history by their desire to exist.

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