Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sir Lady Java

Since I just rolled through her home state, thought I'd tell you loyal TransGriot readers about another person whose interesting story I discovered courtesy of the JET digital archives, legendary female illusionist Sir Lady Java.

The Los Angeles based Sir Lady Java was born and grew up in New Orleans (where else) and is billed as 'The Prettiest Man On Earth' thanks to possessing 38-24-38 curves in her heyday. She told JET in an article published in the August 10, 1978 issue that she'd never had any surgical enhancement and is non operative.

Java's act consists of singing, impersonations, and exotic dancing. As she said in the article about her performing for her idol, the late Lena Horne, "Lena is one of the three ladies I pattern my act after. I try to look like Lena, walk like Mae West and dress like Josephine Baker."

She first pops up in the November 16, 1967 issue of JET when a picture was taken of her picketing comedian Redd Foxx's nightclub. The Los Angeles Police Department shut down her show there because of a law that was on the books at the time banning female impersonation.

The August 10, 1978 JET issue mentions Java meeting her idol while performing at a star studded Los Angeles birthday party Lena was throwing for her friend Gertrude Gipson.

There's also a mention of her in a February 16, 1978 article about a Los Angeles party thrown for JET chief photographer Isaac Sutton that she attended.

Sir Lady Java is still around and even has a Facebook page. I'd love to hear more about her fascinating life as 'The Prettiest Man On Earth'.

It also points out what I've been saying since I started this blog. African descended transpeople are intertwined with the everyday life of the African-American community, and in many cases we have some interesting stories to tell.

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