Jamaican actress and socialite
photographed by Carl Van Vechten in Harlem, New York 1940-1941.
Blanche Dunn, born in 1911 she arrived in Harlem as a teenager
and became a chorus girl in the Broadway musical Blackbirds Of 1930, she also had a small role in the film adaption of Eugene O’Niell’s play, The Emperor Jones in 1933 starring Paul Robeson. Blanche was the “It” girl of the Harlem Renaissance. She was a mainstay at Carl Van Vechten’s legendary parties, she was guaranteed a table at the exclusive Harlem speakeasy Hot Cha, she dined at the haute downtown spots, shopped in Paris, attended the horse races and as noted by the legendary Harlem Renaissance writer and painter Richard Bruce Nugent:
“at all the Broadway first nights. A party was not a party, a place not a place, without Blanche.”
In 1940 she moved to Whale Cay, purchased by Bahamian British oil Magnate and speed boat champion,
Marion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs
, they partied with likes of Marlene Dietrich and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor before she moved back to Harlem. In 1953 she went on a nine month vacation that included Paris and the Riviera. She ultimately married and relocated to a villa in Capri.
Characters: Riley Matthews, Farkle Minkus, Maya Hart, Stuart Minkus, and Jennifer Bassett-Minkus
Rating: T for explicit language
Prompt from lucasfriarfan: When accused of stealing from her husband’s family, Riley starts to wonder if Farkle is really the man she married anymore. Can she ever trust him again when he believes she’s capable of something so awful? Will they be able to last in a world that they don’t both truly belong in?
Author’s Note: Part 2 of 2
Interrogation Recording of Maya Penelope Hart from the New York Police Department
Maya Penelope Hart: This is ridiculous.
Detective One: Millions of dollars is missing. You think that’s ridiculous?
Hart: I think that you having me locked up in here is ridiculous.
Detective Two: You’re good friends with Farkle Minkus, correct?
Hart: He married my best friend. That wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t solid.
Detective Two: So, you stole from a friend, then?
Hart: I didn’t steal anything.
Detective One: Oh, no?
Detective One: So, where were you last night from 11 to 11:45?
Hart: Home. Check my apartment building’s surveillance.
Detective Two: Oh, see, I was hoping you’d say that, Ms. Hart. The virus sent to take the funds from the Minkus Trust was from your IP address. The one you’d be on if you were home.
Today I semi-remembered a story I read once in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Book. It was about some socialite lady who used to wear a fucking lion around her shoulders to social events. I don’t really remember the details other than that, but I think the newly discovered use for lions was most likely the most important part anyhow…
Growing up in the 1950s, Margo Jefferson was part of Chicago’s black upper class. The daughter of the head of pediatrics at the nation’s oldest black hospital and his socialite wife, Jefferson inhabited a world of ambition, education and sophistication — a place she calls “Negroland.”
Negroland afforded many opportunities, the Pulitzer-Prize winning cultural critic says. But life was also undercut by the fear that her errors and failures would reflect poorly on her family and, subsequently, her race. She tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the beauty standards that she felt she had to hold herself up to as a child:
“I’m measuring my shade of brown. I’m measuring the width of my nose. I’m measuring the size of my lips. I’m doing the usual things that girls do — what shape are my eyes, are they big, are my features well-proportioned … and I have an exact series of grades for hair as well as shades of skin. And [these standards] extended beyond my world — they really hovered over and imposed themselves on all Negros, black people, African-Americans. It was ruthless, it was mean-spirited, it was bigoted. We were brain-washed into one standard, not just beauty, but acceptability. There is a terrible kind of anthropological “othering” and disdain in those kinds of judgments.”