She was born Sarah Breedlove on a plantation in Delta, Louisiana, where her parents had been slaves. At 14, she married to get a home of her own, to get away from a cruel brother-in-law with whom she was living. At 17, she had her only child, A'Lelia, who I'm named after.
One of the key things for me about Madame Walker's life is that she really does represent this first generation out of slavery when black people were reinventing themselves, and as a woman who was the first child in her family born free, she was trying to figure out a way, and she moved from Delta, Louisiana.
A cravat is the only item of named after Croatians. Balkan mercenaries were brought to Paris by Louis XIV. Their strange and exotic attire attracted the French bon hommes, who were wearing formal ruffs, and who immediately took to the simple and relaxed military cloth tied at the neck.
A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.
Through the years, I found we had Native American blood in us. My great-grandmother came from the island of Martinique, and they hooked up with the Native Americans of Louisiana.
When I get down to Louisiana, I get to have a taste of some of that great food.
It's a spirit that was given me and the relationships and meeting all these great people, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong; through Max I met a lot of people too. My first album was with Benny Carter.
I like Louis C.K., Chris Rock. Old schools like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy.
I love Ray Charles. He can still teach everybody a lot about how to make great music. Not necessarily how to make hits, but how to make great music. Of course, part of it is his incredible talent. Who are the greatest jazz singers in the world? Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Ray Charles.
My dad never graduated high school. He was a printing salesman. We lived in a two-bedroom, one-bath house in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. We weren't rich - but we felt secure.