Representation matters. Who we see on screen and on stage, and who we hear on recordings, shapes our understanding of the world. The trailblazing women entertainers featured in the Smithsonian’s collections shattered stereotypes and gender norms to redefine who could tell stories in America. Many entertainers used their celebrity to actively change society.
Celia Cruz celebrated her Cuban American identity as one of the first women salsa singers. Mincy, a student, speaks with Ariana A. Curtis, curator at our National Museum of African American History and Culture.