Wednesday, February 21All That Matters

Billy Eckstine, 1950, this image caused a bit of a stir.

Billy Eckstine, 1950, this image caused a bit of a stir.



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8 Comments

  • notbob1959

    The photo was published in the April 24, 1950 issue of LIFE magazine. An article on the photo at behindthescenes.nyhistory.org says this:

    >LIFE’s internal report on letters to the editor noted that 59 complaints were received about the Eckstine story, expressing vicious, hysterically racist sentiments like, “That picture of Billy Eckstine with a white girl clinging to him after a performance just turns my stomach.” Other readers described the photo as “the most nauseating picture of the year” and “the most indecent picture ever published by LIFE.” The report also notes that eight people cancelled their subscriptions (although, to be fair, readers consistently cancelled their LIFE subscriptions in a huff for various reasons.)

  • nellie_1017

    Eckstine was possessed of a smooth baritone, ideal for the ballads he was known for… (to me, he seems to have a ‘Will Smith’ thing going on here)… & yes, as per another ‘poster’, in certain areas of the country, this sweet gesture from his admirer would have gotten him shot or hung- a fate that I’m sure crossed his mind as she showed her adoration…!

  • septiclizardkid

    It’s funny yet unerving to think there was a time where Blacks and Hispanics where hated for getting more women (not the only reason). “It’s not my fault I’m racist and have a bad personality, It’s those negros fault. That’s It”

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