Today, Google Doodles have posted their second Doodle in less than a week, honoring German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Thus far in 2012, there have been 7 Doodles designed to honor a specific individual on his birthday and displayed in the United States. Yes, his birthday, because in 2012, out of 7 birthday-centered Doodles shown in the U.S., not a single one has honored a female creator or innovator (and this figure doesn’t include Martin Luther King, Jr., Day or St. Patrick’s Day). This is astonishing to me.
March 27th is also the birthday of Sarah Vaughan, the legendary jazz singer born in 1924. She was a Grammy Award winner, an Emmy Award winner, an inductee to the Jazz Hall of Fame, and an NEA Jazz Masters Award honoree via the National Endowment for the Arts. Vaughan’s voice has been called “incomparable” and she has been referred to as the world’s “greatest singing talent.”
Sarah Vaughan got her start at just 18 years old when she entered an Amateur Night contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, and, as part of the prize, booked a week’s engagement to open for Ella Fitzgerald at the Apollo. This visibility gained Vaughan her first employment in the music industry, and she eventually pursued a solo career. She is known both for her raw talent and for her incredible commercial success as a singer on stage and in the studio. Vaughan was a staple in the music industry for almost half a century, before her death in 1990 at age 66.
In the video below, you can watch Vaughan perform “The Nearness of You”:
Vaughan is just one example, out of many, of the women who could be cleaning up that dreadful statistic for Google Doodles: 0 out of 7.