Black History Month 2019 February 05, 2019 at 05:00 pm

African-American icons unfairly overlooked during Black History Month

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor February 05, 2019 at 05:00 pm

February 05, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Black History Month 2019

Pic credit: New York Times

Nina Mae McKinney

One of the first African American leading actresses in Hollywood, McKinney transformed the role of black women in film with her 1929 Hollywood film debut in Hallelujah. The self-taught dancer, singer and actor played the leading role as a sexy and seductive black woman in that first all-black musical film. Her spectacular performance affected America’s perceptions of black actresses, who were then being cast as servants. Still, McKinney was not well received by the American audiences and hence, she moved to Europe where she was widely welcomed in her new role as a cabaret singer. She returned to the U.S., but she was not able to find any huge role as her first performance. She died on May 3, 1967.

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