The Empire State building was lit up with the colours of the French flag this week, in honour of the American-French performer Josephine Baker, who was inducted into France's Panthéon mausoleum on Tuesday. In the US, Josephine Baker is just as beloved as she is in France, and nowhere more so than in Harlem, in New York City. Our correspondents Jessica Le Masurier, Yves Schaeffner and Fanny Chauvin met with New Yorkers to explore Baker's legacy.
Shooting to fame at the height of the Roaring Twenties in Paris, Josephine Baker was a Missouri-born dancer who found her spiritual home in France, far from the racial segregation of her native USA. Yet the early years of her career can make for uncomfortable viewing for a contemporary audience, with Baker seemingly complicit in numerous racist stereotypes. But for Ilana Navaro, director of the film "Josephine Baker: The Story of an Awakening", Baker "took what she had and, later on, turned it into a political tool" – as part of the French Resistance during World War II, and even later as a leading voice in the US civil rights movement.
Josephine Baker was the world’s first Black superstar - a revolutionary performer, world-famous singer, movie star, spy for the French resistance, and civil rights activist.As she is honoured with a place in France's revered Pantheon monument, Eve Jackson speaks to her son Brian Bouillon Baker, who tells us what it was like to be the child of one of the most famous performers of the 20th century.