Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Women's History Month Moment: Joyce Bryant, The Bronze Bombshell

"The Voice You'll always remember"

This bronzed haired 50s crooner , wither her sexy style and even sexier lyrics, quickly gained the name of the "Black Marylin Monroe". Talent wise she was just as great but never quite rose to the same notoriety after leaving the industry at the height of her careers.

Bryant got her start in the late 1940s performing a series of regular gig with some of the other greats in the industry including Josephine Baker, who was the inspiration for her look which she in an effort to not be up staged. Shortly after, she began recording a series of records but many were banned from radio play for being too provocative.  

Despite receiving little radio play, Bryant remained in demand and in 1952 became one of the first African American women to play in a Miami Brach Hotel. Crossing a huge racial barrier in the fight for equality, as the KKK burned her in effigy as protest, that didn't stop Bryant from delivering a phenomenal show and she continued to break ground also becoming one of the first black African American Women to play at the Casino Royal in Washington DC.

Around the mid 50s Bryant grew tired of the industry and at the peak of her career, earning about $200,000 annually, she left to commit completely to her faith as a Seventh Day Adventist and enrolled in Oakwood College in Huntsville, AL. She continued the good fight for civli right lending her talents to raise funds and awareness through out the south. 

After her church refused to take a stand against in equality, she returned to music training with vocal coach Fredrick Wilkerson at Howard University in the 60s and gained a position with the New York Opera. She later toured internationally and became a vocal coach in the 80s for Phyllis Hyman, Jennifer Holiday, and Raquel Welch. 

Sources: Wikipedia
Photos courtesy of Google Images


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