First black woman to have a Broadway theatre named after her is actress Lena Horne.



The popular British musical Six is presently playing at the theatre, which was built in 1926 and is located on West 47th Street.

This happens shortly after another Broadway theatre with James Earl Jones’ name was dedicated.

The late Horne, who overcame racial discrimination to land a significant Hollywood film contract and later achieved international recognition as a singer, passed away in 2010.

For her leading role in the 1957 calypso musical Jamaica, she later became the first black woman to be nominated for a Tony Award, the highest honour in Broadway theatre.


According to reports, In 1981, she received a special Tony Award for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, a one-woman Broadway show in which she sang and discussed the ups and downs of her life.

She opened so many doors for us that we as people of colour can thank her for being a beacon of light,” singer and actress Vanessa Williams told ABC News.

Horne’s granddaughter, Jenny Lumet, attended Wednesday night’s unveiling and said she was overwhelmed by the honour.


I didn’t quite realise how emotional it was until I started speaking about it,” she said.

My grandmother would’ve pretended not to be as thrilled as she was. But she would have been completely, completely thrilled.”

Horne’s Biography

Born in 1917, Horne got her start in the chorus line of Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was a teenager. She soon became a popular singer, and MGM signed her to star in its movie musicals in 1942.

She was not the first black woman to land a studio contract – MGM had signed actress Nina Mae McKinney for five years in 1929 – but she was the first to make an impact.

In 1943, she played Selina Rogers in the all-black film musical Stormy Weather, and the title song became both a major hit and her signature tune.

However, she never became a fully-fledged film star. She later recalled that her appearances in all-star musicals like Two Girls And A Sailor and Ziegfeld Follies often amounted to a few minutes of screen time that could be easily cut when the movies played in America’s southern states.

When Horne’s contract finished, she became a successful theatre star, recording artist and civil rights advocate, taking part in the historic March on Washington in 1963 where Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech.

She won four Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement prize in 1989, while her 1957 live album, Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria, was the best-selling record by a female singer in RCA Victor’s history.

When actress Halle Berry became the first black woman to win a best actress Oscar in 2002, she cited Horne as a pioneer who had paved the way for her breakthrough.

However, Horne often downplayed the scale of her achievements.

“I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said.

“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.”

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