Over the Rainbow: Angie and Jo

Is Angelina Jolie channeling Josephine Baker?


Okay, so there’s Maddox from Cambodia, Pax from Vietnam, Zahara from Ethiopia, Shiloh from Namibia (well, born there, anyway), and now, new additions, twins Vivienne and Knox, born in France.

In less time than it takes to get an undergraduate degree, Angelina Jolie, with some help from partner Brad Pitt, has earned a way more impressive title–universal mother. Are visions of banana skirts dancing in your head?

Some see Jolie’s transformation from Gia to Gaia as a clear reprisal of the role originated by fellow Francophile Josephine Baker, whose own Rainbow Tribe was assembled more than half a century ago.

According to the UK Daily Mail, Jolie spent her pre-twin time “resting and listening to songs by her heroine, the 1920s black American dancer and singer Josephine Baker who moved to France, became a French citizen and adopted 12 children from different countries.”

Hmmm. The comparisonis, perhaps, too easy. For one, the Wanted star hasn’t spoken publically about emulating the one-time queen of the music hall nor has she ever invoked the adjective rainbow in a good way. In 2006 Jolie told “Good Morning America’s” Diane Sawyer that she and Brad weren’t trying to piece together a “rainbow family,” using the term pejoratively.

One can wish Jolie well. But if she is as avid a follower of La Baker as is reported, she likely knows that Josephine’s rainbow was not necessarily one big, bright, happy family.

If you don’t remember Miss Baker, your mother will (or definitely your grandmother). She’s the woman who won over France in the Roaring 20s by first dancing in feathers (the bananas came later) in Le Revue Negre and later vamping it up with ballads like “J’ai Deux Amours.”

Her career spanned almost 50 years, from her nude debut in 1925 to her death in 1975, just two days after a triumphant come-back. Still most remember La Baker first for her famously phallic costume and second for the band of brothers (and two sisters) she accumulated from across the globe.

Her children are as follows: Akio (from Korea), Janot (from Japan), Luis (from Colombia), Jari (from Finland), Jean-Claude (from Canada), Moïse (from Israel), Brahim (from Algeria), Marianne (from France), Koffi (from the Ivory Coast), Mara (from Venezuela), Noël (from France) and Stellina (from Morocco).