Celebrating Women in Music
About Lena Horne
Lena Horne is known as one of the most popular African American entertainers of the twentieth century. A woman of great beauty and commanding stage presence, she performed in nightclubs, concert halls, movies, and on radio and television.
Lena Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. She left school at age 16 to help support her family and became a dancer at the Cotton Club in Harlem. After having established herself as a sought after live singer, a role she would maintain throughout her life, she later signed with MGM studios and became known as one of the top African-American performers of her time, seen in such films as Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. She was also known for her work with civil rights groups and refused to play roles that stereotyped African-American women, a stance that many found controversial. After some time out of the limelight during the '70s, she made a revered, award-winning comeback with her 1981 show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Continuing to record into her later years, Horne died on May 9, 2010.