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ESTHER JONES; INSPIRATION FOR BETTY BOOP



[Written by: Gabriel Scott]


Esther Jones, aka "Baby Esther" was an 8-year old Black performer during the 1920's that was an inspiration for the voice of the popular cartoon character, Betty Boop. Her popularity earned her $750/week, which was exceptionally well considering the era and being a young Black girl. In 1932, a lawsuit was filed by White singer, Helen Kane against Fleischer Animation Studios for exploitation for Betty Boop looking very similar to her. She also claimed that she was the first to "boop-boop-ba-doop". From evidence and testimonies in court, it was discovered that Baby Esther was "boop-boop-ba-dooping" before Helen Kane and that Kane even went to see Baby Esther perform four years prior in 1928 at Everglades Club in New York. Kane's lawsuit was dismissed. By 1934, Esther Jones had dropped from her normal popularity and went into obscurity.

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