Joe Alex

One of the rare male Black actors (along with Habib Benglia) performing in French films during the colonial period, Martinican Joe Alex (sometimes credited as José Alex) was first a singer and dancer. Alex notably appeared in various revues, the most famous being "La Revue nègre" in late 1925, in which he performed the very erotic "Danse sauvage" (Wild Dance) with Josephine Baker as his partner. With her, he also recorded the song "Voulez-vous de la cane à sucre ?" (Do You Want Sugarcane ?). In 1938 and 1939, Joe Alex ran the "Théâtre Africain", an all-black drama company, which was forced to cease its operations at the onset of World War II. On the big screen, he can be seen in over thirty films, in which he most often played the colored man of the piece, being more than once credited as "the Negro" or "a Native". His skin color often confined him to roles reflecting the place French society reserved for Black people, such as domestic or shoe-shiner. Surprisingly the character he play

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