From the 1910s, into the 1920s and 30s, Black culture in all forms proliferated in Harlem and became known as the Harlem Renaissance. In particular there was a flowering of jazz music, performance and night-clubs in the early part of the 1920s. This trend extended into Manhattan, first with Lew Leslie’s cabaret venue called the Plantation in 1922 and then with the Club Alabam in 1924. At the same time Black artists invaded Montmartre in Paris and established a comparable ‘Harlem in Montmartre.’
Fernando (Sonny) Jones was an intriguing, if somewhat elusive, black performer who made his life and career in Europe and especially in Paris in the 1920s. He was an accomplished dancer and made it big headlining in the Palace Theatre show Paris Voyeur in Paris in the 1925-1926 season. Throughout his career he was closely linked to Louis Douglas, another high profile black artist.
The enigmatic Afro-American dancer Marie Woods appeared in the original line up of the famous La Revue Negre in Paris in 1925. This unique photograph shows her in costume from the show.