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J. Ryan Bodiford

[Mebarak Ripoll, Shakira Isabel ]

(b Barranquilla, Colombia, Feb 2, 1977). American Singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. The daughter of a Colombian mother and an American-born father of Lebanese descent, Shakira demonstrated her talents in the performing arts at an early age. After winning local talent competitions and establishing a dance troupe at the modeling school which she attended, Shakira began her professional career at age 13 when she was awarded a three-album record deal with Sony Music. She has since become a globally renowned singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist, whose musical style incorporates rock, pop, Latin rhythms, and Arabic infusions.

Following two commercial flops, Shakira established her popularity throughout Latin America with her 1996 release, Pies descalzos. This album produced a series of pan–Latin American hits and sold more than four million copies. Her fan base was extended further into the non-Spanish speaking world with the Middle Eastern tinged worldwide hit, “Ojos así,” produced by Emilio Estefan and included on the album ...


John L. Clark Jr.

(b Chattanooga, TN, 2 June ?1900; d New York, NY, May 30, 1956). American singer, trumpeter, and dancer. Daughter of a mixed-race couple who were both entertainers and musicians, she learned several instruments before deciding to concentrate on trumpet. By the 1920s she was touring the T.O.B.A. circuit with various revues, and in 1926 she visited Shanghai. In 1935, her performance in Blackbirds of 1934 brought her to England, where she began making records that showed her chief instrumental and vocal influence to be Louis Armstrong. After a brief return in 1936 to the United States, where she performed with Earl Hines in Chicago and made films in Hollywood, Snow moved to Europe, where she made more films and recordings. She was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp in Denmark in 1940 and was badly injured before being exchanged in 1943. After a recuperation period she continued touring and recording until her death during a comeback appearance at the Palace Theatre. Snow stands out from other women performers of her time in that she was known as much as an instrumentalist as a singer. Her extensive touring probably cost her the name recognition that professional stability might have brought, but her recordings show her to have been a fine, swing-influenced trumpeter and vocalist....


Todd Decker

(b Santa Monica, CA, April 23, 1928; d Woodside, CA, Feb 10, 2014). American actress, singer, and dancer. Temple began dance lessons and appeared in her first films at age three. After making shorts for Educational Films Corporation, Temple signed with Fox in December 1933. Stand Up and Cheer!, Little Miss Marker, and Bright Eyes (all 1934) launched her as a child star. Over the next six years, Temple made 18 films at the newly consolidated Twentieth Century-Fox, which benefitted greatly from having the top star of the time. The Exhibitors’ Box Office Poll declared her the number one box office draw from 1934 to 1938. Temple’s movies were on the short side: only one exceeds 90 minutes in length. These uplifting tales for a Depression-weary nation followed a predictable formula. Temple played a resilient youngster, usually lacking one or both parents, whose cheery personality brought together a group of contentious adults, providing Temple with a stable home in the final reel. Often her films included the death of a character, typically a parent or caretaker. In her films, Temple danced and sang such tunes as “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and “Animal Crackers in My Soup.” She sang with clear diction, fine rhythmic control, a sure sense of pitch, and tremendous vocal personality: her singing voice was every bit as unmistakable as her curly hair. Darryl Zanuck, head of Twentieth Century-Fox, refused to allow his musical stars to make records and declined most radio offers, so the only place to hear Temple sing was in her movies. She was just as precociously skilled at dancing, as showcased in the tap routine “I Love a Military Man” (...


Rob Bowman

(b Cayce, MS, March 27, 1917; d Memphis, TN, Dec 15, 2001). American singer, songwriter, dancer, comedian, and radio announcer. One of Thomas’s earliest gigs was as part of the dance team Rufus and Johnny with the legendary Rabbit Foot Minstrels. He later forged a distinguished career as a comic (in the duo “Rufus and Bones”) and master of ceremonies at all of the important black theaters in Memphis. In the early 1950s Thomas hosted the daily “Sepia Swing Club” and “Hoot ‘n’ Holler” shows on local black appeal radio station WDIA. Beginning in 1949, Thomas recorded for Star Talent, Meteor, Chess, and, most notably, Memphis’ Sun Records before signing with Satellite (soon-to-be Stax) Records in 1960. His most successful recording pre-Stax was an answer song conceived as a response to Big Mama Thornton’s R&B hit “Hound Dog.” Titled “Bear Cat” and released in 1953, the record was Sun’s first bona-fide hit, peaking at number three on ...