THE 1960’S BROKE BARRIERS FOR INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIPS
February 17, 2021 Posted by Vicky Tiel
It’s black history month and it made me think back to 1961 when I left high school in ultra conservative Chevy Chase, Maryland and moved to Manhattan where I mixed with the black artists in Greenwich Village. I fell in love with a gorgeous folk singer, Steve DeNaut ( recently divorced and the father of Rosanna Arquette). Steve was rooming with a famous black bongo drummer, Cyril Jackson, (who taught Marlon Brando and James Dean to play the drums).
Cyril was on Broadway in “The Flower Drum Song” and my classmate fashion model Susie L was madly in love. She was white and Jewish and rich and we double dated.
We were the start of something big, something cool, INTERRACIAL DATING.
Many young people today don’t understand the power the 1960´s has had on our lives today. Everything changed in just a few years. FOOD, FASHION, AIRPLANES, LOVE and SEX. We had birth control and now women could control their bodies and their lives.
The interracial celebrity wedding that started it all was Sammy Davis JR and Swedish starlet May Britt.
Sammy Davis, JR was not just a singer but a big buddy of the all powerful Frank Sinatra and President Kennedy. Sammy was in love with movie star Kim Novak in 1957 but her backer Hollywood powerhouse Paramount president Harry Cohn would not let them marry. Sammy and Kim were not the first celeb interracial couple, Harry Belafonte was. Harry had married my girlfriend, Broadway dancer Julie Robinson who was white and part Jewish in 1957. But they were not publicized. However Sammy was out there in the limelight, socially connected with the Rat Pack. They partied with Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy. Sammy had to obey but Sammy loved blonds. He couldn’t marry Kim but he found another gorgeous blond in May Britt. They opened the doors. Today half the ads on TV have interracial couples.
THANK YOU CYRIL, HARRY AND SAMMY. THANK YOU BRIDGERTON, HARRY AND MEGAN.
WHAT I AM WEARING.
My jean jacket from the sixties and has my stepdads military medals sewn on. He died at 97 never sick as he ate my mother’s healthy diet. I inherited his medals. My bag is the first suede bag I made in the Village in 1963 while a Parsons student. I was the first person to slit suede for skirts and bags and bead them for the Hippy look. My Alabama cap is from a parade in my hometown in Florida, bought in 2018. Bama football is the sport in NW Florida. My jeans and T-shirt are from Wal Mart and I embroider them with couture lace from Paris. My shoes are from Coach bought in Rome in the nineties.