Diahann Carroll as Julia
Hey y’all! If you’ve been following me for a while, then you’ll remember that I did a series of illustrations for Black History Month in 2017. I decided to reshare them this year because it’s always fun to share info about historical figures! I’m also sharing extra stuff with each post, so it’ll be a fun time.
My first illustration is of Diahann Carroll in the tv show Julia (1968-1971). She was the first Black actress to star in her own TV series where she didn't play a domestic worker. She was a young widow raising a 5 year old son in a nice apartment while working as a nurse.
It was a hit, and Diahann Carroll won a Golden Globe Award for best actress in a comedy in its first season. However, there was a lot of critique surrounding the show. Some critics insisted that it sacrificed an authentic Black experience to gain viewers. Some critics said there was no racial consciousness within the show. Carroll herself said that “everyone and everything in the script were warm and genteel and ‘nice’ - even the racial jokes.”
On set, Diahann Carroll fought for change within the show. She opposed certain scenes, especially one where Julia said she didn’t experience racism until her high school prom. Carroll felt so strongly that she left the TV lot on the day of the taping. She also wanted Julia to wear an afro, but that idea was rejected.
The criticism surrounding the show actually sent Carroll to the hospital twice with stress related symptoms. Even though she had little involvement in the writing, she felt pressured to justify it.
In 1970, the pressure of the show’s impact took a toll on Carroll, and she asked to be released from her contract at the end of the third season.
Today's Black History Month illustration is of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the legendary R&B songwriting and record production team. They have more Billboard number ones than any other songwriting and production team in history and they've received the most Grammy nominations for Producer of the Year.
Side note: it was RIDICULOUSLY hard to pick just one of my favorite songs from them so here are three: If It isn't Love by New Edition, Sensitivity by Ralph Tresvant, and That's the Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson.
Today's Black History Month illustration is of Ann Lowe, the first African-American to become a noted fashion designer. She created designed for high society families such as the Rockefellers and the Du Ponts. In 1953, she designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress. A collection of five of her designs are held at the Costume Institute at the Met.
The Nicholas Brothers
Today's illustration is of Fayard and Harold Nicholas, better known as the Nicholas Brothers. They were a team of dancing brothers who performed flash dancing, a form of tap dance that combined dance with acrobatics. They became stars during the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Their performance with Cab Calloway in the movie Stormy Weather is considered to be the most virtuosic dance display of all time.
Today's Black History Month illustration is of Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973), a singer, songwriter & guitarist who is referred to as the "godmother of rock & roll."
She was the first great recording star of gospel music. Also, due to her unique mix of spiritual lyrics & rhythmic accompaniment, she was one of the first gospel musicians to appeal to rhythm & blues and rock & roll audiences.
She influenced early rock & roll musicians like Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Today's Black History Month illustration is of James Jamerson, one of the most influential bass players in music history. He was a core member of The Funk Brothers, a small group of studio musicians who performed on most Motown recordings during the 60s. He played more #1 hits than The Beatles (30 to be exact).
Jamerson used only his right index finger ("The Hook") to pick lines, an approach from his stand-up bass days. Overall, his complex melodic style brought the bass guitar from the background to the forefront and forever changed the face of bass playing.
Side note: my favorite Jamerson bass lines are "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder and "It's a Shame" by The Spinners 😌
Black History Month Series!
Hey there! (And another hello to my new followers 🙋🏾♀️) For Black History Month, I'm sharing my illustrations of influential Black figures. I'm excited to learn more and to share it with you all! My first illustration is of Diahann Carroll in the TV show Julia (1968-1971). She was the first Black actress to star in her own TV series where she didn't play a domestic worker.
About this blog
A place for my personal art, thoughts and musings!