Over the Rainbow: Angie and Jo

Is Angelina Jolie channeling Josephine Baker?

For a time they lived in a castle called Les Milandes (the Jolie-Pitts are staying in a villa). There Baker wanted to create a sort of amusement-park-slash-monument to racial unity.

In his biography, Josephine: The Hungry Heart, Jean Claude Baker (her 13th and unofficially adopted son) writes, “The question of whether or not she exploited the children is still being argued among those who knew her. When the youngsters were in doors, they could be observed through a picture window.”

Jari, Josephine’s fourth son, remembers “Maman” pushing the children out a little while paying visitors where at the chateau “so the people could see us.” But only on Sundays.

Tabloids are reportedly offering Jolie and company upwards of $11 million for pictures of Vivienne and Knox. When their first biological child, Shiloh, was born in 2006, they donated the $4 million from People magazine to charity. They say they’ll do the same with the twins’ first public snap shots.

Jolie, who began her humanitarian work with the United Nations in 2001 and adopted her first child a year later, has called adoption “very special.” “There’s something about making a choice, waking up and traveling somewhere and finding your family.”

In 2003, Jolie told the New York Daily News that her dream was “to have under one roof many different cultures and many different religions. I think that would make for amazing people.” Still, she maintains that she and Pitt aren’t adopting for adopting sake. “We don’t just want to have different children from different countries. That’s not the point.”

Rewind five decades.

In Copenhagen in 1954, Josephine was 47 and on the last legs of her career at the time. (there would be several failed and successful comebacks). She was also lecturing at the National Museum in Denmark. There she gave a speech about the good and evil in people, and the mixed-race babies of “colored American” soldiers and German girls. It was here Josephine first hatched her plan about universal brotherhood.

She told the audience that she decided to “adopt my five little boys.” Later it would become 10 boys and two girls.

Jean Claude Baker asserts that as her career wound down, Josephine’s maternal instincts winded up. “No big contracts were coming her way, the Casino and the Folies no longer fought over her, she felt vulnerable to the future. Enter Josephine, the Universal Mother. If young men no longer wanted her, a brood of abandoned babies would make her feel wanted again.”