Was the first African American to star in a major motion picture, integrate an American concert hall and become a world famous entertainer.She was also and for being the first American-born woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.
When Baker was eight she was sent to work for a white woman who abused her, burning Baker’s hands when she put too much soap in the laundry. She later went to work for another woman.
Baker dropped out of school when she was 12. Homeless, she lived in the street in the slums of St. Louis, sleeping in cardboard shelters and scavenging for food in garbage cans. She began dancing on street corners, which attracted attention and she was recruited for the St. Louis Chorus vaudeville show at 15.
From there, she went to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance performing at the Plantation Club and in the chorus of the popular Broadway revues.
After being named the highest-chorus girl in vaudeville, Josephine headed to Paris in 1925, where she she opened in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, where she became an instant success for her erotic dancing and for appearing practically nude on stage. After a successful tour of Europe, she reneged on her contract and returned to France to star at the Folies Bergères, setting the standard for her future acts. She performed the Danse sauvage, wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas.
n later shows in Paris she was often accompanied on stage by her pet cheetah, Chiquita, who was adorned with a diamond collar. The cheetah frequently escaped into the orchestra pit, where it terrorized the musicians.
After a short while she was the most successful American entertainer working in France. Ernest Hemingway called her “… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw"
Also she was really good friends with Grace Kelly who famously stromed out of The Stork club because they refused entry to Josephine. Kelly vowed never to enter the club again, and she never did.