Culture LIFE |

Day 19 – The Black Marilyn Monroe

Let me say again how much I am enjoying these discoveries of some of the lesser known black men and women that should be acknowledged and celebrated and today I came across yet another who may be familiar to some, but new to me.  Before Pam Grier, Halle Berry or or other curvaceous Beyonce’, there was Joyce Bryant.

Known as the “Black Marilyn Monroe” and “The Bronze Blond Bombshell,” Joyce Bryant was a four-octave singer and actress who became the first dark-skinned black woman to be celebrated by the mass media as a sex symbol.

“Her act was outrageously sexy; she wore provocative, tight, backless, cleavage-revealing mermaid dresses that left little to imagine and they were so tight, she had to be carried off-stage.  Supposedly, Bryant twisted so much she lost four pounds a performance..”

She made her impact on the entertainment world breaking through racial barriers in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, making a living as a singer and actress. Bryant started out with menial gigs before working her way up to high-profile performances commanding as much as $3,500 a gig.

While she was already making a name for herself with the low cut, curve hugging dresses and that sultry voice, Bryant took her act to another level. When learning she would be performing at the same club as Josephine Baker, she decided she would not be outdone and doused her naturally black hair with silver radiator paint.

And this is when “The Bronze Blond Bombshell” was born.

Remember Joyce Bryant.






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