With flaring eyes and a honey-drenched voice, Lena Horne was a force of nature, and divinely gorgeous to boot.
As an African-American powerhouse in Hollywood, she broke new ground, but on her way up, she often came across the brick wall that separated the whites from the oppressed.
She was even turned down for the role she was born to play–Julie in Showboat–in favor of Ava Gardner with some Max Factor splashed on her face.
But Lena kept singing and triumphing, and by time she came to Broadway in 1981 with her one-woman show, The Lady and Her Music, she was a human volcano, rich with experience and fire.
In Act One, she sang her signature tune “Stormy Weather” the way she’d done it in her early days, and it was powerful enough.
Then, after telling her life story, she delivered the song again, this time with all the heat, rage, and passion she’d picked up through the years of overcoming all her fears.
I’m still quaking.
I love you, Lena.