Aida Overton Walker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Ada Overton Walker)
Jump to: navigation, search
Aida Overton Walker
Aida Overton Walker 1907.jpg
Walker in 1907
Born (1880-02-14)February 14, 1880
Richmond, Virginia
Died October 11, 1914(1914-10-11) (aged 34)
New York, NY
Occupation Vaudeville
Known for Dancing and Choreographing (Performing)

Aida Overton Walker (14 February 1880 – 11 October 1914), also billed as Ada Overton Walker and as "The Queen of the Cakewalk", was an African-American vaudeville performer and wife of vaudevillian George Walker. She appeared with her husband and his performing partner Bert Williams, and in groups such as Black Patti's Troubadours. She was also a solo dancer and choreographer for vaudeville shows such as Bob Cole, Joe Jordan, and J. Rosamond Johnson's The Red Moon (1908) and S. H. Dudley's His Honor the Barber (1911).

Early career[edit]

Overton grew up in New York City, where her family moved when she was young and where she gained an education and considerable musical training. She started her career at an early age in the late 1880’s as a chorus member in “Black Patti’s Troubadours” where she met her husband who she would begin her career with. Her early career was defined by her collaborations with Bert Williams and her husband George Walker, the major black vaudeville and musical comedy powerhouses of the era. She first gained national attention in 1900, with her performance of “Miss Hannah from Savannah” in the show Sons of Ham. For the next ten years, Aida would be known primarily for her work in musical theater. Her song and dance made her an instant hit with audiences at the time. She, George, and Bert continued to produce even more successful shows such as In Dahomey (1902), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandana Land (1908). Working alongside her husband, Walker’s career and performances were praised by critics and her successes well known. She was both financially successful and respected by the industry. Although Aida Walker originally became famous through her partnership with her husband and Bert Williams, her popularity only grew in the years following her death and the end of the Williams and Walker troupe. Shortly after she joined the Smart set company and became a leader of her own vaudeville company. Both were extremely well received.

Fame and popularity[edit]

Aida Overton Walker is also well known for her 1912 performance of the “Salamone” dance at Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre. This was Aida’s response to the national “Salamonia” craze of 1907 that spread through the white vaudeville circuit. Her portrayal of the Salamone character was very different from that of the white actresses of her time, and it had to be. She was very in tune with how the roles she played had and impact on race relations of the time. Within her roles she worked hard to break the stereotypes of black women being both immoral and oversexed. She coordinated her movements and expressions in order to express the emotions and thoughts of the characters she was portraying. Her success at Hamerstein’s theatre led to her next role in “Bon Bon Buddy” the following year when she was asked back to perform. Goerge walker first popularized “Bon Bon Buddy” in Bandana land years before and Aida’s performance was almost like an ode to her late husband. Her performance was so successful she was asked to perform 2 extra weeks.


References[edit]

  • Galindo, Brian. "The Vaudville Actress Who Refused to Be a Stereotype." Buzzfeed. N.p., 15 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.
  • Thorne, Wells. "Black Acts." Omeka RSS. N.p., 2014. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.
  • Kicha. "Aida Overton Walker (1880 - 1914)." Aida Overton Walker (1880 - 1914). N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.


See also[edit]

External links[edit]