Thursday, February 17, 2011

African American Firsts in Entertainment

In honor of Black History Month, I had to talk a little about something related to the African American ethnicity. Here is something fun that I found highlighted on the KTLA 5 website.

1958 - American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was the first black woman to win a Grammy award.

Also in 1958 - Count Basie was awarded a Grammy and was the first black man to do so.

Dorothy Dandridge was the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Carmen Jones.

The first black actor to win a Best Actor award is Sidney Poitier for his performance in Lilies of the Field in 1963. Poitier was given another Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 2002.

Hattie McDaniel was the first black actor to win an Academy Award. Her Best Supporting Actress win was for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind in 1939.

While Oscar Micheaux was the first black film director, Gordon Parks was the first to make it to Hollywood. In 1969 Parks wrote and directed The Learning Tree.
In 1956, Nat King Cole's "The Nat King Cole Show" was the first television program to have an black host.
Oprah Winfrey was the first black female talk show host and is still going strong. She is also the first black female to become a billionaire.
Before The Cosby Show Bill Cosby was entertaining audiences. His show I Spy was the first starring role on a television show by an black actor.

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