Actress, singer, civil rights activist, and glamorous style icon Lena Horne began her singing career at the early age of 16. She began performing at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. After a long run singing at the Savoy-Plaza Hotel night club, in 1943, she signed a contract with MGM and became the highest paid African-American performer of her time.
Lena performed in several hit films like Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky, but because she refused to play roles in which African-Americans were stereotyped, her film career stagnated. She became active in the civil rights movement and performed at rallies around the US on behalf of NAACP and participated in the 1963 march on Washington. Lena continued to perform and record music until her death in 2010.