“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him - and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status - that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman - a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.” - Ella Fitzgerald
Great story and photograph!
clownyprincess, I believe this is relevant to your interests.
Thanks for sharing this, ardhra. I did read this statement by Ella a few years ago, and yes it is definitely a quality to admire of Marilyn’s, amongst her many…
… but I dunno. I get a little uncomfortable engaging in dialogues that idolise powerful white people for being basically decent human beings, like it’s something special or remarkable. I also think it replaces the focus of the struggle for race equality onto white people and ‘all the wonderful things they do’ to facilitate it when in actuality the greatest progress is achieved by the people of colour defining the movement, often in unrecognised and unsung ways.
I mean, I love this story as I love both Marilyn and Ella, but as big and sappy a Marilyn fan as I am, I don’t want to get swept up in the salivating fawning of these actions of hers because I would expect nothing less from her - like I would expect nothing less from any decent human being than to show respect and consideration to another human being. Okay, she went out of her way to facilitate an opportunity for Ella but the key issue here was that she had to to begin with and why is that? Because there was a system of racism put into place by white people to elevate themselves - and too many white people have used that system to further elevate themselves under the guise of attempting to dismantle it (for the record, I don’t believe Marilyn would be the type of person to do this but I think the fans who are glorifying her for what she did here are definitely doing it).
By the same token, I don’t want to undermine what she did here as it was impressive and ‘ahead of her time’ as the First Lady of Song herself states, but I feel like getting too excited about it is giving out cookies?
Ardhra, I know you don’t even need me to say all that, you know it all much better than me so I’m not even directing that little ramble at you. Just expressing my thoughts in general.