Lena Horne Poster

Quotes (14)

  • I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept. I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.
  • in Brian Lanker's book "I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America", New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1986)] My own people didn't see me as a performer because they were busy trying to make a living and feed themselves. Until I got to cafĂ© society in the '40s, I didn't even have a black audience and then it was mixed. I was always battling the system to try to get to be with my people. Finally, I wouldn't work for places that kept us out . . . it was a damn fight everywhere I was, every place I worked, in New York, in Hollywood, all over the world.
  • You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way.
  • It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
  • Always be smarter than the people who hire you.
  • A little nepotism never hurt nobody, honey. If you got it, use it. Press on with it. Remind them of it.
  • In my early days I was a sepia Hedy Lamarr. Now I'm black and a woman, singing my own way.
  • [on love] Don't be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can.
  • My identity is very clear to me now, I am a black woman, I'm not alone, I'm free. I say I'm free because 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.
  • [on Myrna Loy] A great star and a woman of accomplishment who is angry about all the right things.
  • I had this sort of greedy agent who made me go to Hollywood in the hope that I'd be in movies.
  • [on MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer] He was the most clever, ruthless, smart character that you would never want to know. All those guys were--Harry Cohn [Columbia Pictures chief] . . . Jack L. Warner [Warner Bros. chief]--believe me, they weren't dumb. They were the czars of the industry--and they had no mercy.
  • I never considered myself a movie star. Mostly, I just sang songs in other people's movies.
  • [to Robert F. Kennedy, on his administration's civil rights record] Mr. Attorney General, you can take all those pious statements and stuff them up your ass.