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The Three Bon Bunnies were one of the first African-American vocal performing girl trios. In 1945 the singers performed in the "Swing Session" All Negro USO Camp Shows.The singers went on to travel to Japan with one of the first "all-negro entertaining shows", to perform for the troops after World War II. The lead singer was Wilhelmina Barnett who won first prize singing at the Apollo Theater in New York with her rendition of Begin the Beguine . She also sang for Eleanor Roosevelt and on the New York City radio station WMCA.
The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is a nonprofit-charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of War, and later with the Department of Defense (DoD), relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Although it is congressionally-chartered, it is not a government agency.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Apollo Theater is a music hall located at 253 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It is a noted venue for African-American performers, and is the home of Showtime at the Apollo, a nationally syndicated television variety show which showcased new talent, from 1987 to 2008, encompassing 1,093 episodes; the show was rebooted in 2018.
The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".
Peter Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of the Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, Seeger re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture, and environmental causes.
Hazel Dorothy Scott was a Trinidadian-born jazz and classical pianist, singer and actor; she also performed as herself in several films.
Arthur "Dooley" Wilson was an American actor, singer and musician who is best remembered as Sam in the 1942 film, Casablanca; in the film, he also performed its theme song, "As Time Goes By".
The Virginia Minstrels or Virginia Serenaders was a group of 19th-century American entertainers who helped invent the entertainment form known as the minstrel show. Led by Dan Emmett, the original lineup consisted of Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower.
Lancelot Victor Edward Pinard was a calypso singer and actor who used the name Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot played a major role in popularizing calypso in North America, and Harry Belafonte has acknowledged him as an inspiration and major influence.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers are an African-American a cappella ensemble, consisting of students at Fisk University. The first group was organized in 1871 to tour and raise funds for college. Their early repertoire consisted mostly of traditional spirituals, but included some songs by Stephen Foster. The original group toured along the Underground Railroad path in the United States, as well as performing in England and Europe. Later 19th-century groups also toured in Europe.
Adelaide Louise Hall was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Hall's long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world's most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades. She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington and with Fats Waller.
African-American musical theater relates to the historic musical theater of the African American community, particularly prominent in New York City during the first half of the 20th Century.
Joshua Daniel White was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, actor and civil rights activist. He also recorded under the names Pinewood Tom and Tippy Barton in the 1930s.
William M. "Billy" Whitlock (1813–1878) was an American blackface performer. He began his career in entertainment doing blackface banjo routines in circuses and dime shows, and by 1843, he was well known in New York City. He is best known for his role in forming the original minstrel troupe, the Virginia Minstrels.
Charles Sidney Gilpin was one of the most highly regarded stage actors of the 1920s. He played in critical debuts in New York City: the 1919 premier of John Drinkwater’s Abraham Lincoln and the lead role of Brutus Jones in the 1920 premier of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, also touring with the play. In 1920 he was the first black American to receive The Drama League's annual award as one of the 10 people who had done the most that year for American theatre.
The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual, social, and artistic explosion centered in Harlem, New York, spanning the 1920s. During the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after The New Negro, the 1925 anthology edited by Alain Locke. The Movement also included the new African-American cultural expressions across the urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest United States affected by the African-American Great Migration, of which Harlem was the largest. The Harlem Renaissance was considered to be a rebirth of African-American arts. Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, many francophone black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance.
John Diamond, aka Jack or Johnny, was an Irish-American dancer and blackface minstrel performer. Diamond entered show business at age 17 and soon came to the attention of circus promoter P. T. Barnum. In less than a year, Diamond and Barnum had a falling-out, and Diamond left to perform with other blackface performers. Diamond's dance style merged elements of English, Irish, and African dance. For the most part, he performed in blackface and sang popular minstrel tunes or accompanied a singer or instrumentalist. Diamond's movements emphasized lower-body movements and rapid footwork with little movement above the waist.
Mercedes Gilbert was an African-American actress novelist, and poet. She was a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and attended Edward Waters College, where she had originally trained to be a nurse, before coming to New York and entering the entertainment profession, first as a songwriter and then as a stage actress.
Thelma Johnson Streat was an African-American artist, dancer, and educator. She gained prominence in the 1940s for her art, performance and work to foster intercultural understanding and appreciation.
Al Jolson was a Lithuanian-born American singer, comedian, and actor. At the peak of his career, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer". His performing style was brash and extroverted, and he popularized many songs that benefited from his "shamelessly sentimental, melodramatic approach." In the 1920s, Jolson was America's most famous and highest-paid entertainer.
Elisabeth Margaret Welch was an American singer, actress, and entertainer, whose career spanned seven decades. Her best-known songs were "Stormy Weather", "Love for Sale" and "Far Away in Shanty Town". She was American-born, but was based in Britain for most of her career.
Aubrey W. Pankey was an African American baritone and noted Lieder singer in 1930s Germany. In 1956 he permanently emigrated to East Germany under the growing shadow of McCarthyism together with his companion Fania Fénelon. He was the first American to sing in the People's Republic of China in 1956.
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