Jenny Alpha

CARIBBEAN HONOUREES
Category:

FILM/ART/THEATRE

  • Full Name

    Jenny Alpha

  • Island

    Martinique

  • Date of Birth

    22nd April 1910

  • Place of Birth

    Fort-de-France

Born in Fort-De-France, Jenny Alpha moved to Paris aged 29, with dreams of being a teacher. However, her career path changed and instead Alpha became a very successful actress and singer. Her stage career began in 1939, when she featured in the Cabaret, ‘La Canne a Sucre’. 

At the time it was very difficult for black actresses, they often got caught in the cycle of playing the same type of characters. Alpha was determined to change this representation for black actresses. This change of narrative came with her portrayal of Neige in ‘Les Griots’ and when she featured in the production of Genet’s ‘Les Negres’ in 1958. Jenny Alpha earned recognition and was casted by an emerging theatre who offered significant roles to black actors. She is perhaps most well known for her appearances in ‘Une femmme, une époque’ (1978) and ‘Lef fils puni’ (1980). Alpha constantly battled with the industry to ensure Caribbean women were awarded with the recognition they deserved. For this she received the Order of Merit from Renaud Donnedieu in 2000.

Jenny Alpha also enjoyed a successful music career and crossed paths with musical greats such as Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker. She founded her own band and toured from 1950-1956.

An exceptional and talented woman who never stopped blessing us with her talents. Aged 94, Jenny Alpha appeared in Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’ lead by Haitian director, Jean-Pierre Lemaine. Not only this, but in 2008, Alpha released her new CD ‘La sérénade du muguet’ aged 98! Alpha not only dedicated her life to the arts but was also an advocate for the rights of black women. She devoted her energy to the defence and recognition of Creole culture. Sadly, we lost this amazing woman in 2010, a few months after her 100th birthday. We are so grateful for her devotion to the arts, a true pioneer. To the late Jenny Alpha, Caribbean1st absolutely salutes you. 

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