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Singing Prettily: Lena Horne in Hollywood 

Dyer, Richard

Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung, Bd. 1 (2010), Iss. 2: S. 12–26

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Dyer, Richard


Lena Horne was the first African-American woman to be signed to a contract to a major Hollywood studio, who did however not know what to do with her. Her >colour< – in her voice as well as her looks – meant that she did not fit into the racial hierarchies of the day and she was largely confined oppressively to the margins. However, she was also able to some degree, and in collaboration with other African-American figures in Hollywood, to use this to give a glimpse of African-American modernism in Hollywood cinema. This is thus a case study of cultural production as struggle.