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All About His Mother

Even though her most famous portraits feature her nude, save for a spangly headdress and a skirt of bananas, Josephine Baker is remembered as some kind of saintly figure. To hear her adopted son Jean-Claude Baker tell it, she would have loathed any such pretensions: “Josephine was a naughty girl! She had no complex about flaunting her body. She danced bare-breasted to the ‘Dance de la Sauvage,’ a mating dance, with an African dancer. Everything went on but penetration! Opening night was October 2, 1925, in the Théatre des Champs-Elysées; half of the theater’s audience left the theater screaming that black Americans and jazz would destroy the white civilization!”

Jean-Claude was La Baker’s thirteenth adoptee, the last member of the Rainbow Tribe. As owner of the popular New York City restaurant Chez Josephine and author of Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart, he has a wealth of fascinating stories to tell. “The magic of Josephine – nothing was dirty with her. It was almost childish naiveté,” he elucidates. Locals with an eye for titillating history will enjoy the display of Baker’s, um, naiveté, at the World Erotic Art Museum. To commemorate Black History Month, Naomi Wilzig’s collection of gorgeous Josephine Baker portraits will become the museum’s main focus. Learn more about the fascinating Jean-Claude Baker at
Tue., Feb. 6, 11-midnight


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