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Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening


Murray Korman – photo collection Bryan Hammond

November 19, 2021 | 4pm ET


Villa Albertine, in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Miami and La Maison Française in Washington, D.C., is celebrating Josephine Baker’s induction into the Pantheon on November 30 in Paris by screening the documentary Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening.

From music halls to films, from the Resistance to the fight for Civil Rights, Josephine Baker lived like a meteor during the 20th century. The most French-American woman shook up conventions and rules by asserting total freedom, as much on the artistic level as on the community, family, sexual, and political level.

While France prepares to open the doors of the Pantheon to her, making her the first Black woman to receive this national honor, the French cultural and diplomatic network is paying her tribute with the documentary Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening. This documentary will provide a better understanding of the complex relationships that the first African-American international star had with the United States, as well as the role she played in the Civil Rights struggle alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

Villa Albertine online screening, in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Miami and La Maison Française in Washington, D.C. on La Vingt-Cinquième Heure.

November 19 at 4pm EST / Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening, directed by Ilana Navaro, 2018, 52 minutes. Distributor: TERRANOA

University of Florida students, Kayla Jhagroo and Olivia Fernandez, will be introducing this acclaimed film. They will reflect on how Joséphine inspired them: her “avant-gardist” feminism, her strong activism to promote equality at a time when everyday segregation was still a law. Share their uplifting experience and enjoy this compelling documentary with us! 


World-renowned performer, World War II spy, and activist are a few of the titles used to describe Josephine Baker, one of the most successful African-American performers in French history. Viewers of the film will witness how Baker went from being a poor Black girl from Missouri to becoming the Queen of Paris, before joining the French Resistance and finally creating her dream family, “The Rainbow Tribe,” by adopting 12 children from the four corners of the world. 
Josephine Baker made three trips “back home” (in 1936, 1948, and 1951), and each time she experienced racist incidents despite her worldwide fame. Each difficult, tragic experience helped to forge her convictions, gradually inspiring her to take part in the Civil Rights battle and to be the only woman to speak on-stage beside Martin Luther King Jr. during the famous March on Washington in 1963. From then on, she used her fame to serve her political utopia until the end of her life. This is the journey of a superstar’s awakening from the “banana dancer” to a humanist fighter. But can fame change the world? 

In partnership with


TV5MONDE is a global French language entertainment network that showcases premium films and programs from across the world. With more than 1.5 million viewers nationwide in the USA, TV5MONDE is a renowned leader in French language entertainment.

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La Maison Française

Unique among French diplomatic missions, La Maison Française at the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., offers an environment that encourages friendly relations between states, promotes outreach and cultural events, and serves as a center for professional and educational activities.

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