We didn’t have any segregation at the Cotton Club. No. The Cotton Club was wide open, it was free
You hear about the Duke Ellingtons, the Jimmie Luncefords, and the Fletcher Hendersons, but people sometimes forget that jazz was not only built in the minds of the great ones, but on the backs of the ordinary ones.
At times as a performer they segregated us in some of theatres.
Everybody came. Everybody came to the Cotton Club.
A movie and a stage show are two entirely different things. A picture, you can do anything you want. Change it, cut out a scene, put in a scene, take a scene out. They don’t do that on stage.
Jazz was not only built in the minds of the great ones, but on the backs of the ordinary ones.
Everybody that you could name would join in our audiences from, Laguardia on down. Everybody came. Everybody came to the Cotton Club.
Everybody did something. It was very entertaining. We had a lot of fun. Lot of fun. And there was no segregation, that I could see. I never saw any.
We usually never got out of there before four or five o’clock in the morning. Every morning. So it was rough.
90%, 100% are going there to hear the singing. The story is another thing. Nobody’s interested in the story. Happiness is happiness.
My audience was my life. What I did and how I did it was all for my audience.
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