Ethel Waters (1896-1977), Vocalist / Actress
Lesbian legend Ethel Waters was the second African-American to be nominated for an Academy award, (the first being Hattie McDaniel, who in 1939 was nominated and won for her role in the movie “Gone with the Wind.”) Ethel Water
Two Incredible Afro-Americans
Two black women had been honored before at the Academy Awards, both in the best supporting actress category: Hatty McDaniel, in 1939, the first African American ever to be nominated for an Oscar, and to win; and Ethel Waters, in 1949.
The Fearless Ethel
Ethel Waters was the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award for her singing. She started out singing the blues and performed pop music on Broadway. She managed to avoid scandal when she lived with her girlfriend Ethel Williams.
Ethel Waters had a lesbian relationship with dancer Ethel Williams that led to them being nicknamed ‘The Two Ethels’.
The Two Ethels went to great lengths to conceal the truth.
Ethel Water’s Early Life
Ethel describes her early years: “We never had a bathtub. Mom would bathe me in the wooden or tin washtub in the kitchen, or in a big lard can. ” – and – “Mom never quit on me. My only regret is that she didn’t live long enough to share some of the money and comforts my work in show business has brought me.”
Ethel Waters had other lesbian lovers; among was Alberta Hunter. (more about these two women in a future blog/post) paula.