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Rare Photo of Ella Fitzgerald Goes On Display at Smithsonian

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Black Women in Entertainment

Rare Photo of Ella Fitzgerald Goes On Display at Smithsonian

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled a stunning photograph of American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, often referred to as “The First Lady of Song,” on Thursday. At first glance it looks like just another image of the icon caught up in the melody of a song, but a closer look reveals a brief moment of discord between the players.

The picture was taken around 1947 by the late William Gottlieb, who learned to use a camera to take pictures to accompany his weekly music column for The Washington Post. The photograph shows Ella in performance with Ray Brown playing upright bass, while trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and vibraphonist Milt Jackson look on in wonder.

Ed Gottlieb recalls his father telling him the story behind that frame. Ella was actually in the audience to hear her then boyfriend Brown perform with his band but as expected, everyone wanted to hear her sing. Once she took the stage, Gottlieb got into position to…

 

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Chrysalis

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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