Saturday, March 19, 2016
The Lady in the Tutti Frutti hat
After becoming a musical star in Brazil, singer and actress Carmen Miranda cam to the U.S. to make movies in the 1940s. She cultivated an exotic style and became known for her fanciful headgear, which often included fruit. The 1943 musical The Gang’s All Here was written around her style, particularly the number “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat.” Busby Berkeley choreographed the song with a banana xylophone and scantily-clad dancers wielding giant bananas. Miranda’s schtick was not popular among Brazilians, who saw her as making a mockery of their culture. In her later life, Miranda tried to distance herself from the stereotype she helped to create.