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Surprise! Betty Boop was Black

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the
Black History Quiz
Surprise! Betty Boop was Black
By Jim Stroud • Issue #67 • View online
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

Betty Boop
Betty Boop
The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem. Introduced by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, the caricature of the jazz age flapper was the first and most famous sex symbol in animation. Betty Boop is best known for her revealing dress, curvaceous figure, and signature vocals “Boop Oop A Doop!” While there has been controversy over the years, the inspiration has been traced back to a black woman who performed regularly in the Cotton Club during the 1920s.
Q: Who was the black woman who inspired Betty Boop?
Oh, by the way, Betty Boop was initially shown in cartoons as an African American woman. She appeared in at least one animated scene in the popular Popeye The Sailor Man series. Here is the proof…
Popeye and Betty Boop Hula dance
Popeye and Betty Boop Hula dance
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Besties: Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe
Besties: Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe
When once asked about her favorite singers, Marilyn Monroe answered, “Well, my very favorite person, and I love her as a person as well as a singer, I think she’s the greatest, and that’s Ella Fitzgerald.” Not only was Monroe a Fitzgerald fan, but she was also a friend who used her status as a Hollywood star to boost Fitzgerald’s career. Their friendship would last until Monroe’s untimely death. And even after Monroe had died, Fitzgerald remained grateful for the support the star had provided during her lifetime. [Click here to learn the history behind this popular internet meme.]
Black History Quiz answer:
The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem. Introduced by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, the caricature of the jazz age flapper was the first and most famous sex symbol in animation. Betty Boop is best known for her revealing dress, curvaceous figure, and signature vocals “Boop Oop A Doop!” While there has been controversy over the years, the inspiration has been traced back to Esther Jones who was known as “Baby Esther” and performed regularly in the Cotton Club during the 1920s.
Baby Esther’s trademark vocal style of using “boops” and other childlike scat sounds attracted the attention of actress Helen Kane during a performance in the late 1920s. After seeing Baby Esther, Helen Kane adopted her style and began using “boops” in her songs as well. Finding fame early on, Helen Kane often included this “baby style” into her music. When Betty Boop was introduced, Kane promptly sued Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation stating they were using her image and style. However video evidence came to light of Baby Esther performing in a nightclub and the courts ruled against Helen Kane stating she did not have exclusive rights to the “booping” style or image, and that the style, in fact, pre-dated her.
Baby Esther’s “baby style” did little to bring her mainstream fame and she died in relative obscurity but a piece of her lives on in the iconic character Betty Boop. [source]
For further study:
The Real Betty Boop Was a Black Woman... Before She Was Whitewashed!
THE REAL BETTY BOOP (Converted)
THE REAL BETTY BOOP (Converted)
Baby Esther Jones the Boop Boop a Doop Girl
Baby Esther Jones the Boop Boop a Doop Girl
Betty Boop: "A Language All My Own" (1935)
Betty Boop: "A Language All My Own" (1935)
Helen Kane I Wanna Be Loved By You 1958
Helen Kane I Wanna Be Loved By You 1958
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jim Stroud

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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