Carmen Jones (1954) was the first All Black Musical released by a major studio. It was based on Bizet’s opera Carmen It was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. There was controversy surrounding the film because Carmen Jones represented the Jezebel Stereotype of Black women, however after the NAACP approved and Dorothy Dandridge agreed to the movie, it went to the big screen.
Dorothy Dandridge received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Carmen. She didn’t win, but she was the first Black actress to ever be nomainted for the category of Best Actress. In the film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Halle Berry portrays Dorothy Dandridge (one of Halle’s best films). Years later, Halle Berry would be the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.
Here is a clip of the movie, Pearl Bailey sings: