The First Black Movie Star: Nina Mae McKinney

31 03 2008

It’s been a while since I gave a black history tidbit, so I figured since my post on Donyale Luna, the first black supermodel, was so popular, I would follow up with the first black movie star, Nina Mae McKinney.

Before Dorothy Dandridge or Lena Horne, there was Nina Mae McKinney. During her day, she was a sought after actress with popularity that compared to Josephine Baker in both the US and Europe, making her the first black international star in movies at a time when there were no leading roles for black actresses.

During the height of her career, she was called “The Black Garbo” after actress Greta Garbo, one of the most popular actresses at that time. Nina’s most noted movie was Hallelujah! in 1929, which was one of the first all black films by a major movie studio, when she was only 17.

Known for her big, bright eyes and charismatic, full of life personality, she became the first black movie star, sex symbol, and recognized beautiful black actress by not only the black community, but also by Hollywood.

Unfortunately she is not recognized in the same regard as Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, but if I had it my way, I think there should be a movie made for her life….and for some reason think that Zoe Kravitz would be a good match to star as Nina.

For more on Nina, click here or check out this myspace page dedicated to her.


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12 responses

1 04 2008
celebblitz

Thanks for the history lesson. I had no clue about Ms. McKinney.

3 04 2008
Brigitte

She was lovely.

26 05 2008
The Most Photographed Wedding Dress…Designed By A Black Woman « Lipstick.lace.brassknuckles

[…] far I have featured Sara Baartman, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, Claudette Colvin, Donyale Luna, and Nina Mae McKinney. This time around it’s dress designer Ann […]

12 02 2009
sarah martinez

she is soooooooooooo pretty i know how she got the job shes beatiful

3 07 2009
Salle

NO ZOE KRAVITZ DOES NOT FIT THIS PROFILE TO PLAY HER. FIRST OF ALL NINA IS BROWN-DARK SKIN BEAUTIFUL EBONY WOMAN. SOMEONE LIKE ASHANTI OR JANET JACKSON SHOULD PLAY HER…IN THE OLDER AGE…AND GET SOMEONE UNKNOWN TO PLAY HER IN HER YOUNGER TEENS…

29 10 2009
Zetta

She is so beautiful!

19 01 2010
Jennifer McKinney Evans

She is my cousin! My dad is currently the oldest living McKinney! My sister resembles her and we would love for a movie to be made in Nina Mae’s honor!.

7 12 2011
Joyce McKinney-Cook

Plz write me @ naenae43211@yahoo.com. I’ve been researching McKinney’s from South Carolina. (McKinney’s of Seneca, SC) Thank you.

6 06 2014
Jennifer McKinney-Evans

The McKinney’s are from Lancaster South Carolina. My dad who is currently the oldest living McKinney is 80 years old. Please email me at jmckinneyevans@gmail.com

28 08 2013
jappan styles

This looks like a movie I would want to Shoot milanostyles85@gmail.com

6 06 2014
Jennifer McKinney-Evans

Our family would be extremely honored if a movie was made in the honor of Nina Mae McKinney!

4 03 2011
bounciershower6

ny grand mother is cousin of hers

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