Did you know Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem that was introduced by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930? Betty Boop was best known for her revealing dress, curvaceous figure, and signature vocals “Boop Oop A Doop!”
Esther Jones, known by her stage name “Baby Esther”, was an African American singer and entertainer of the late 1920s, known for her “baby” singing style. She performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
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. And that’s your LKBHF for today. It’s always good to know about the positives in the Black community instead of all the negative stereotypes.
Share these facts with your children.