I wasn’t all that surprised to learn Lena Horne had once married a white man, but I was astonished by her candor about why she had done so. Check out this Washington Post story on her life and career. Lena Horne was 92.
Looking back, she said her legacy on race was complicated by her ambition. She said she married the white conductor and bandleader Lennie Hayton in 1947 — her second marriage — to advance her career because “he could get me into places no black manager could.”
“It was wrong of me, but as a black woman, I knew what I had against me,” she told the New York Times in 1981. “He was a nice man who wasn’t thinking all these things, and because he was a nice man and because he was in my corner, I began to love him.'”