During her long 92 years of life on Earth, Lena Horne cemented herself in history as a consummate entertainer. The Grammy and Tony-winning singer and actress spent her entire life performing at such a high level that a theater in Manhattan was renamed in her honor!
On November 1st the Lena Horne theater was christened, replacing the Brooks Atkinson Theater moniker. Horne got her start on stage at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. Her talents piqued enough interest to fill venues before she understood the depth of her gifts. Horne later made her film debut in The Duke Is Tops. Despite a string of strong cameos, many of her scenes were cut out in future films due to racist Southern sentiments in theaters. Her biggest appearances were in the musicals Stormy Weather, Cabin in the Sky, and The Wiz.
Lena was also a loud and proud advocate for racial justice. After being on the receiving end of prejudice in Hollywood she initiated lawsuits against multiple venues for discrimination. The unveiling of the theater only marks the beginning of preserving Horne’s legacy for future black performers.