Lena Horne
Lena Horne

PBS shared this interview with Lena Horne on Twitter this afternoon; it’s actually from 1996 (she died in 2010). I listened to it while working (it’s about 30 minutes long), and thought it well worth sharing here. It’s a wonderfully informative time capsule.

In the conversation, the singer, dancer, actress and civil rights activist discusses the difficulties of navigating the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood studio system as a woman of African descent, and her involvement in the civil rights movement. She retells stories of the times she spent with the likes of Count Basie, Medgar Evers, Billy Strayhorn and others (people that most of us alive today have only read or heard about).

In addition, she shares her disappointment in the lack of progress made toward racial equality throughout her lifetime, although she expressed hope for the generations that follow her, despite the fact that, as she says, she wouldn’t be around to witness it, unfortunately, sadly.

The interview took place on August 29, 1996 for and episode of PBS’ “American Masters” series, titled “Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice.”

There’s an accompanying film which you’ll have to purchase if you want to watch it. PBS does provide a clip from it, which I embedded below.

First, listen to the 1996 interview (there’s no video for it); and then watch the short clip from the film. It’s all good stuff!