"cocoa venus"

Published December 7, 1941


cocoa venus from HARLEM as seen by hirschfeld. Lithograph, 1941


I feel the warm affection Hirschfeld must have felt for Harlem, African American women, and women in general. I feel the warmth and sensuality of this particular woman, the great feeling of her beauty. The spirituality of her soul reads through her whole body. Her hands, her long fingers are so expressive as though to say “my lover has just left and I can’t wait for his return.”

I reach out and feel the nubby pale paint on that old Thirties cast-iron bed frame. And the wallpaper—I feel like I could turn around, open the door and walk right into this Harlem boarding house. No trouble imagining how special Al Hirschfeld must have felt to discover Cocoa Venus in 1941.

Cocoa Venus, wherever you are, keep on waiting. Your lover is coming home!

-Eartha Kitt

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