Odetta Felious was an African-American folk music singer who’s sound resonated throughout the civil rights struggle. Odetta, who simply went by her first name, recorded her first single called “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” in 1956 followed by “At the Gate of Horn” a year later.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Los Angeles, Felious received operatic training as a young girl. Unfortunately she believed that a plus size black woman would never be accepted at the Metropolitan Opera to perform. She started performing in musicals, and in 1949, Felious starred in Finian’s Rainbow. She later hit the nightclub circuit, performing all over the United States.
The music of Felious was heard all over the nation. In 1959 she appeared on Tonight With Belafonte a nationally televised special, signing a duet with Belafonte. Then again during the March on Washington, as she marched with Dr. King singing “Oh Freedom.” At the top of the folk music charts, Felious’ melodious sound took her to the White House where she performed for President John F. Kennedy on the televised civil rights special called “Dinner with the President.”
Felious had an impressive client base. Time Magazine included her song “Take This Hammer” on its list of the All-Time 100 Songs. Some of her biggest fans were civil rights activist Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Harry Belafonte referred to her as the “key influence” to his career. Other admirers were Carly Simon, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and John Baez.
She broadened her reach by performing in Cinerama Holiday (1955), William Faulkner’s Sanctuary (1961) and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and a list of other film productions.
Felious launched national tours before her final tour, in which she performed in a wheelchair in 2008. Unfortunately, she passed away from heart disease on December 2, 2008.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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