A historic day is quickly approaching, on 30 November 2021, Josephine Baker’s name will join the Pantheon monument in Paris, making the entertainer and World War II hero the first Black woman to get the country’s highest honor. And that honor will be celebrated in style here in Monaco.
For the occasion, the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer will be paying tribute to Josephine Baker with an evening at the American Bar in the Hotel de Paris. This mythical location has welcomed the greatest personalities from around the globe and will be the perfect backdrop for this incredible moment in the singer’s legacy.
The evening will be hosted by journalist Axel Jaffray. At 7 pm and at 10 pm, two tributes of about thirty minutes each will portray the life and career of a star that remains close to the Principality’s heart. The singer’s most famous numbers will be performed by a jazz group and unpublished archive photographs will be on display throughout the evening. Guest will leave with a little gift, a booklet specially designed for the evening, allowing the public to immerse themselves in the life of Josephine Baker.
The Pantheon monument houses the remains of Marie Curie, Voltaire, and Victor Hugo. However, to adhere to the wishes of Josephine Baker’s family, the artist’s remains will stay in Monaco’s cemetery. A cenotaph (empty tomb or monument) with a plaque will be created in her memory at the Pantheon instead. The decision was made unanimously among Josephine Baker’s children.
In 1951, Baker made charges of racism against the Stork Club in Manhattan, where she had been refused service. Grace Kelly, who was at the club at the time, rushed over to Baker, took her by the arm, and stormed out with her entire party, vowing never to return. The two women became close friends after the incident.
Josephine Baker hosted, for the first time on 8 August 1969, the Monaco Red Cross Gala at the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting with the “Josephine Baker Show”. After the show, Baker said that at that performance, she approached perfection. In 1974, only one year before the singer’s death in 1975, the SBM created the show “Josephine” at the inauguration of the new Monte-Carlo Sporting Club and the new Salle des Etoiles. When she passed away at the age of 68, Josephine Baker was buried in the Principality’s cemetery dressed in a French military uniform with the medals she received for her role as part of the French Resistance.
Read more at Hello Monaco.