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.