Saturday 11 May 2024


Aida Overton Walker (1880–1914), actress, singer, dancer and choreographer, "The Queen of the Cakewalk" was arguably the most famous female African-American performer of the early 20th century. She was a prominent figure in the field of black musical theater at a time when the genre was emerging from its roots in minstrelsy and vaudeville and had just begun to develop into a fully realized theatrical form. Her early career was characterized by her long and fruitful period of collaboration with Bert Williams and George Walker, the dominant black vaudeville/musical comedy team of the era. Around the time of Aida and George’s marriage in 1899, Williams and Walker began to concentrate on writing and performing full-length musicals rather than stand-alone songs and sketches in the vaudeville tradition. Aida Overton Walker would go on to perform in all the Williams and Walker musicals and ultimately adopt the role of choreographer for their theater troupe.

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