Black History: Esther Jones The Real Betty Boop

Most Black history has been hidden and white washed, so we have to tell our story for generations to come inherit much knowledge and awareness. In celebration of Black History Month is going to reflect and share interesting facts about our culture.

Does Esther Jones look familiar to you? Ester Jones, better known as “Baby Esther”, was a singer and entertainer in the late 1920s. She was very popular at the Cotton Club in Harlem and known for singing in her baby voice with her signature phrase “Boop-oop-a-doop”. Sounds familiar? Esther was the inspiration for the very famous cartoon character “Betty Boop”.



Finding any records of Baby Esther became extremely hard after Helen Kane, a woman who adopted Esther Jones style, made an attempt to sue Maz Fleischer, cartoonist who created Betty Boop. The courts ruled against Helen Kane stating she did not have exclusive rights to the “booping” style or image, and that the style, in fact, pre-dated her due to video evidence of Baby Esther performing in a nightclub surfaced.


Esther Jones passed in 1934 but she lives on through Betty Boop’s character.




Author: kgfranklin