“My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

The sultry singer and epitome of the word pioneer passed away Sunday at the age of 92. For most young people, Ms. Horne is remembered for her role as Glinda The Good Witch in The Wiz. But she was more than that.

Horne was a trailblazer in every sense of the word, becoming the first African-American woman to sign a major long-term contract with a Hollywood studio and among one of the first African-American artists to cross color barriers. After her work on the stage was complete, she continued the fight against discrimination & adversity in the industry, paving the way for many more crossover artists. She might have been considered the Beyoncé Knowles of her day and as the New York Times suggested, she was a movie star – but possibly born “50 years too early” to really given her true respect.

For more Lena Horne information, visit her tribute site: www.lena-horne.com

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