In the 1940s and 1950s, Sheila Guyse (1925-2013) was a popular, well-loved figure both on stage and screen, comparable to such stars as Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Ruby Dee, all black actresses who broke through racial barriers.
In 1943, at 18, she won first prize at the Apollo amateur contest, and was thoroughly thrilled when informed that she was the latest in a long line of winners that included Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Ruth Brown. She was labeled by New York critics as “Lena Horne’s newest rival.”
In 1958, at 30, she recorded her only LP album, 'This Is Sheila,' accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Leroy Holmes. In it, she exhibits the vocal personality of an unfettered singer, managing to impart with conviction and elan a sense of immediacy and vitality to a widely varied repertoire. The band provides some swinging and warmly pulsing support. Jet magazine...