As a child, I watched the movie Carmen Jones and saw Dorothy Dandridge for the first time. The film was made in 1954, and as a black child of the seventies, Dorothy was a magnificent wonder to me. "Mom, who is she?" I asked as we watched her magical performance. Mom told me Dorothy’s story as though she were reading from a bestseller. She was a great actress and singer in the forties and fifties, an icon in the hearts of her community. However, her career would repeatedly stumble. Hollywood was not ready for Dorothy, no matter how talented she was. Despite her limitations, in 1955 Dorothy Dandridge was nominated for an academy award (best leading actress). Dorothy died in 1965, Carmen Jones would be her greatest accomplishment. It should have been one of many…so I placed Dorothy in scenes opposite legendary leading men, starring in movies she could only dream about.

Beverly L. Johnson is a photography student at Villa Maria College in Buffalo. She is an emerging artist who hopes to one day open a photography studio and gallery.